Cheating for college scholarships

Over 14 years, a community college basketball coach and academic advisor helped hundreds of athletes meet NCAA requirements by cheating, reports Brad Wolverton in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most needed academic credits to transfer from junior colleges.

Coaches, parents or “handlers” hired “Mr. White” to help basketball, football and baseball players — and golfers.

A few are now playing in the pros.

Players “took” online or correspondence classes.

For some players, he says, he did their work outright. For others, he provided homework answers and papers that the students would submit themselves. At exam time, he lined up proctors and conspired with them to lie on behalf of students.

Mr. White made sure students didn’t do too well. Earning all A’s and B’s would have drawn suspicion.

Several Adams State classes were so easy, Mr. White says, he hardly needed the test keys.

One question on the final examination for Math 155, “Integrated Mathematics I,” a copy of which Mr. White shared with The Chronicle, asked students to find a pattern and then complete the blanks in this series:

5, 8, 11, 14, __, __, __, __

Many of his clients couldn’t have qualified for a college scholarship without his help, says Mr. White.

Stanford player promotes reading

Wayne Lyons will read the quarterback when he covers pass receivers for the Stanford Cardinal in Tuesday’s Foster Farms Bowl. He’s into reading, reports Elliott Almond for the San Jose Mercury News.  A Fort Lauderdale native, the 22-year-old architectural design major started a virtual book club to encourage his high school friends and team mates to read.

Stanford football safety Wayne Lyons, photographed in the Stanford Business Library, started a book club to keep his high school team mates eligible. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

Stanford football safety Wayne Lyons, photographed in the Stanford Business Library, started a book club to keep his high school team mates eligible. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

Lyons believed 20 minutes a day of reading would help classmates build knowledge that would make them better students — and eligible to play football.

He encouraged students to read and write about their book in a text or on Facebook.

An honors student and class president at Dillard High, Lyons took community college classes in high school and became class valedictorian.

His friend and teammate Wilkervens Tamar, who’d left middle school with a 1.0 grade-point average, graduated No. 3 in his class, earned a Bill Gates Millennium scholarship and attends Georgia Tech.

After seeing how excited some of his classmates got about reading, Lyons expanded the project to reach younger students with a mentoring program he called P.A.R.T.Y. — Pick Up Anything and Read To Yourself. He also matched upperclassmen with middle school kids so the younger ones would know what to expect upon entering Dillard.

Lyons once told his mother, “I feel bad for a lot of these kids. They don’t have study habits. They’re doomed before they even get into high school. I’ve got to get them reading, because that’s the start.”

His mother, Gwen Bush, a computer science teacher, taught her children to read fluently before they started kindergarten.

Lyons plans to graduate in June, but has another season of academic eligibility. He may return to Stanford or go on to the NFL.

Playing the transgender trump card

A Maine school district will pay $75,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit because a transgender girl (who’s biologically male) was told to use a private staff restroom, rather than the girls’ room, reports AP.

Access to a private restroom is worth $75,000?

Nicole Maines was using the girls’ bathroom in her Orono  elementary school until the grandfather of a fifth-grade boy complained to administrators.

In Minnesota, biological males who “self-identify” as females will be allowed to compete on girls’ sports teams.

Physically male students will share locker rooms and showers with girls, warned the Minnesota Child Protection League.

“Just the mere presence of a male in a girls’ bathroom I can tell you is going to make those girls feel uncomfortable, intimidated, and the potential for them to be emotionally distraught over that certainly exists,” said Michele Lentz, state coordinator for the Minnesota Child Protection League.

In addition, girls will have to compete with bigger, more muscular males, said Lentz.

Only about five transgender students a year in the entire country ask to be on a team that’s not aligned with their birth gender, said Helen Carroll, sports project director for The National Center for Lesbian Rights.

. . . A 2011 NCAA report found that transgender athletes had no competitive advantage over non-transgender athletes.

Sharing showers isn’t a problem, because transgender girls “are very private people,” said Carroll.  “They want to have privacy areas in the locker room, they don’t want to shower with other students.”

What if a transgender girl wants to assert her right to use the locker room like other girls?

No more school sports?

Sayreville High canceled its football season in response to charges of locker room assaults. 

A New Jersey high school canceled its football season after seven varsity players were charged with hazing and sexually assaulting younger players.

Should high schools eliminate sports teams? asks the New York Times‘ Room for Debate.

‘To write is to learn’

Every Cleveland Browns player has a tablet computer — and a pad of paper. Coach Mike Pettine believes tells players writing by hand will improve their chances of learning complex plays, reports Kevin Clark in the Wall Street Journal.

As a high-school coach in Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2001, Pettine learned “how to get students to study — whether for a pivotal third down or a geology quiz,” Clark writes.

“I would talk to teachers all the time and they would say, ‘To write is to learn,'” Pettine said. “When you write stuff down, you have a much higher chance of it getting imprinted on your brain.”

A study titled The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard backs the idea that students learn more when they write in longhand rather than taking notes on a laptop.

The study found that, because the hand can’t possibly keep up with the speaker’s words, the writer must rephrase what was said in his or her own words, which in turn processes the information at a deeper level.

Browns defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, who went to Harvard, believes handwriting is better than typing. “You are actively using your brain more,” Bryant said.

Celebrating girls — or stereotypes?

“Empowering” girls can look a lot like enforcing gender stereotypes, writes Scott Richardson on Pacific Standard.

His daughter participates in Girls on the Run, a 5K run (or walk) for girls — no boys allowed — in third through eighth grade.
(Photo: Girls on the Run)Volunteer coaches lead their team through a pre-packaged curriculum designed to “encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.” Girls discuss self-esteem, confidence, teamwork, healthy relationships, and “challenges girls face.”

Though boys are banned, older male relatives and friends run with girls as “sponsors.”

Men, women and girls are encouraged to “girl it up” with “skirts, tutus, big bows, bold patterned knee-high socks, tiaras, etc.), apply make-up or face paint, and spray color their hair,” writes Richardson.

There’s nothing for girls who might want to “butch it up.”

Richardson also questions “bombarding girls with ‘positive’ messages about themselves meant to counteract negative ones.” The program implies “that girls aren’t considered equal to boys.”

“What messages are girls really getting when special programs are aimed at trying to make them feel good about themselves as girls?” he asks.

White = racism?

PC Insanity: Student Suspended for Wearing 'RACIST' School Colors!

Juniors at Iowa’s Marshalltown High were told to wear white for school spirit week. (Other classes were assigned other colors.)  Athlete Blair Van Staalduine posted photos of himself wearing white, including one in which he makes  a “W” with his hands. The principal accused him of advocating white pride and suspended him from three football games in the fall, reports WHO TV.

The principal said her son was a racist, said his mother, Cathy Van Staalduine. When she complained, he accused her of being a racist too, she claims.

If juniors had been told to wear orange, he would have worn orange and made an “O,” Blair told his mother.

The new, nicer PE

Although she comes from a dodgeball-loving family, Rachel Levy thinks it’s time to reinvent PE, she writes on All Things Education.

The new, nicer PE bans dodgeball, exercise as punishment and rewarding the most athletic students.

In are personal fitness plans, target heart-rate zones, and sports that play to different strengths and introduce students to activities that they can pursue across a lifetime. “Physically literate” and “lifelong movers” are buzzwords of the New PE.

Even for her athletic sons, who are starting middle school, the new approach makes sense, writes Levy. But will PE be pushed out by academics?

I hated dodgeball. I threatened to drop out of high school if required to walk on a balance beam. (My counselor, a former PE teacher, negotiated a compromise.)  I won the National Teachers of English contest (state of Illinois) with a biographical essay on my loathing for field hockey titled Confessions of a Physically Educated Woman.

Now I exercise every day for 45 to 90 minutes, combining weight training, walking, swimming and a weekly Zumba class. Why? Because I want to control my diabetes and stave off general decay.

Ranking the U.S. in soccer, education

If you think the U.S. is bad at soccer, “we’re even worse in education,” writes Fordham’s Brandon Wright.

This paper earned an A- for a UNC athlete

UNC athlete paper.

A University of North Carolina “student” earned an A- for this “final paper” in a special class for athletes.