Utterly Meaningless » 2014 » March

LIFE IN PARKERSBURG, WV

Filed on March 22, 2014 at 7:13 am under by dcobranchi

Where hundreds of bigots rally in support of a bigoted high school teacher. You think I’m kidding?

Hundreds of supporters rallied in front of Parkersburg South High School on Friday, calling for a suspended teacher to return to the classroom.

About 200 students and adults lined up along Blizzard Drive, holding signs supporting David Foggin, a science teacher who was suspended Tuesday for remarks he made online about a student group.

In a post last week, Foggin appeared to make fun of the Gay-Straight Alliance club, comparing the group to deer poaching and illegal street racing and saying it opened the door to similar groups, such as drunk-sober students…

Sandra Walker, a vocal proponent of Foggin, organized and attended Friday’s rally.

“Mr. Foggin should be allowed to go on his private Facebook page and have the freedom of speech that men fought and died for,” Walker said. “God gave us the right to take a stand on our beliefs. Christ died to give us the right to free speech.”

Walker said Foggin’s post and subsequent suspension have brought up issues of free speech, religion and whether a club like the Gay-Straight Alliance should be in schools. Walker dismissed rumors of GSA students being targeted for harassment and bullying by Foggin supporters.

“South has had bullying for years. The club members are not the only ones who have been singled out for bullying. When they set up the club they singled themselves out for bullying,” she said…

At least one student said she has been the target of bullying, shouted slurs and intimidation, by Foggin’s supporters because she is gay and because she is a member of the GSA.

This is just plain sickening! Obviously, none of my kids attend Parkersburg South High School. But if they did, I hope they would have stood shoulder to shoulder with the counter protesters and brought their friends, gay or straight, along with them.

PSA: FOR WEST VIRGINA HOMESCHOOLERS APPLYING FOR THE PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP

Filed on March 15, 2014 at 8:20 am under by dcobranchi

These are the known facts as of 3/15/2014:

1. You do not need to “un-enroll” from homeschooling status or from any classes that you are taking prior to taking the TASC pre-test. If anyone at the Adult Education centers tells you differently, have them contact the state Board of Education.

2. You do not have to not be homeschooling for 30 days prior to registering.

3. You do have to take the pre-test prior to registering for the TASC. The pre-test runs 3.5 hours.

4. You should go to the local Board of Education office to pick up a TASC registration form. That form, when signed by school officials, will allow you to take the TASC for free. Otherwise, it’ll cost you somewhere around $100. You’ll need to bring the letter from the local BoE showing that you’re homeschooling.

5. The state Board of Education has not yet determined the TASC cut scores for PROMISE eligibility. Since the test is still not ready, the state BoE told me that they will “definitely have to extend the July 1st deadline.” That being said, it is still strongly suggested that you try to get your scores in by June 30th, just to be safe.

End of facts. Now, my opinions:

Apparently, some (all?) local Adult Education centers have been interpreting the state requirement that someone must have quit high school for 30 days prior to taking the GED as a requirement that homeschoolers must do the same. That’s silly, of course. How do you un-enroll from homeschool? Homeschoolers take the GED (and now the TASC) solely in order to qualify for the PROMISE scholarship. It has nothing to do with graduating. So, although the test is the same, the different reasons for taking it should have clued the Adult Education centers/local Boards of Education that the rules for registering were likely to be different. In at least some counties, that has not been the case for many, many years. As of yesterday, it ought to be in Wood County. I spoke to the local Adult Education Center, the PROMISE scholarship foundation, and the state Board of Education yesterday. And they spoke to each other, so that at the end of the day, we reached an understanding that graduating homeschoolers can register for the TASC as outlined in the “facts” section, above.

WELCOME TO THE 1990s

Filed on March 5, 2014 at 7:30 am under by dcobranchi

The WV legislature appears set to pass a law making breastfeeding in public legal.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS?

Filed on March 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

A 10-year-old in OH got a 3-day suspension for making his fingers into the shape of a gun. Seriously.

According to his father, Paul Entingh, one moment the boy was “goofing off” with his friends in fifth grade science class, and the next the teacher was taking him out of the classroom invoking Ohio’s zero-tolerance policy.

The offense? Nathan was “making his fingers look like a gun, having the thumb up and the pointed finger sticking out,” said Entingh, describing the February 26 incident.

“He was pointing it at a friend’s head and he said ‘boom.’ The kid didn’t see it. No other kids saw it. But the teacher saw it,” he said. “It wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t hostile. It was a 10-year-old kid playing.”

The next morning Paul Entingh escorted his son Nathan to the principal’s office, where they met with Devonshire Alternative Elementary School Principal Patricia Price.

“She said if it happened again the suspension would be longer, if not permanent,” said Entingh, who also received a letter explaining the reason for Nathan’s suspension as a “level 2 look alike firearm.”

This may be the dumbest zero tolerance case in the last decade. This is what the Columbus City Schools “Guide to Positive Student Behavior” has to say about “firearm look-alikes”:

Firearm Look-a-Likes
A firearm look-a-like is any item that resembles a firearm but does not have the explosive
characteristics of a firearm but may use a spring loaded devise or air pressure by which to propel an
object or substance (i.e., toy guns, cap guns, bb guns, pellet guns, air guns and paint ball guns). A
student shall not possess, handle, or transmit any firearm look-a-like, the use of which is unrelated to
the educational process. Included in this prohibition are those students who assist, are present, or in
any way participate in the violation of this rule.

I’m pretty sure a finger and a thumb doesn’t fit the legal definition.