Detroit students protest missing teachers, easy A’s

Detroit high school students walked out to protest absent teachers and the principal’s removal at an all-boys public school, reports the Detroit Free Press. Fifty students were suspended.

As recently as last month, students spent weeks passing time in the gym, library or cafeteria due to a lack of teachers, parents said.

. . . “Theyre failing these young black men,” said Sharise Smith, who has two sons at Douglass.Smith said her son received an A in geometry during the first semester without taking a final exam.”It was by default, just for showing up. It wasnt because he earned an A,” Smith said.

Students chanted, “We want an education.”

Seattle college tires of ‘Occupy’ campers

“Occupy Seattle” campers have worn out their welcome at a downtown community college. Crowding, poor sanitation, sexual harassment and doing drugs in sight of the child-care center — kids are being kept inside for play time — are problems, say college officials as they look for a legal basis for eviction.

Also on Community College Spotlight: A new California plan will make community college students choose an academic or vocational path, but it won’t work without improving counseling.

Protesters ‘occupy’ standards meeting

A chanting crowd stopped discussion of common standards at a meeting of New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy on Tuesday night, reports Curriculum Matters.

This YouTube video shows Chancellor Dennis Walcott trying to start the meeting, which was intended to explain how adoption of Common Core Standards will affect curriculum in city schools. The “Occupy the DOE” protesters said the decision was made without input from teachers and parents.

Demonstrators also chant that the city wants to raise standards without the supports that students need to reach them.

As they file out the front door of the building, the demonstrators chant, “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”

After the meeting was canceled, Walcott and the other panelists met with parents in upstairs classrooms.

Backlash

“We have to destroy education in order to save it,” writes Zombie on PJ Media after attending a San Francisco rally in which teachers and their students demanded more funding.  (Yes, it was a school day.) Update: But the rally didn’t start till 4 pm.

He includes photos of the Los Angeles protest by Ringo of Ringo’s Pictures.

• As you can see in the many photos illustrating this essay, their demands for more money were accompanied by many ancillary leftist slogans like “Tax the Rich!” and “Workers’ Power!” and “Cutting Education Is Class War” and so on. So this wasn’t just about requesting more funding for education: The content of the rally itself revealed that increasing school funding is just a component of a larger leftist agenda — school funding is being used as a lever to penalize the rich, increase power for unions, and so forth.

Teachers aren’t supposed to be indoctrinators, Zombie writes.

United Teachers of Los Angeles carried signs with green Che Guevera stickers.

Parents get annoyed when teachers co-opt students for political campaigns, even if it’s presented as supporting education. Throw in Che Guevera and they get very annoyed.

Dressed as zombies, coincidentally, University of Wisconsin students protesting budget cuts disrupted an event for Special Olympians because Gov. Scott Walker was speaking. Bad manners and really bad PR, writes Ann Althouse.

Liberty High bans taped-mouth protest

When is a silent protest too “distracting” for school? asks Greg at Rhymes With Right.

At the ironically named Liberty High in Virginia, administrators told students they couldn’t tape their mouths shut to protest abortion because it was a distraction.

In Tinker v. Des Moines, the U.S. Supreme Court said students had a First Amendment right to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Greg asks:

Now tell me, how does tape over the mouth in any way rise to the standard set in this case — “substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others” — in light of the fact that the tape would be in no way more disruptive than the black armbands in Tinker?

This seems like a fairly clear violation of Tinker. It’s not uncommon for student protesters to tape their mouths. On the annual Day of Silence to protest harassment of gays, students often duct-tape their mouths.

Newark kids use Facebook to protest rats, guns

Two weeks after Facebook’s founder promised $100 million to improve Newark schools, students used Facebook to organize a protest against their high school’s inability to control gangsta, rodent and insect infestations.

On Thursday, students at Barringer High School in Newark walked out of class in protest, saying their school is unsafe and unsanitary.

Students tell The Star-Ledger of Newark there are rats, mice, cockroaches, spiders, guns and fights in the hallways.

During the afternoon protest, students left the building in waves of 10 or 20, but some said security guards blocked doors to prevent anyone from going outside.

Students spread the word of the protest on Facebook.

Mark Zuckberg’s donation was conditioned on Gov. Chris Christie giving Newark Mayor Cory Booker control of the schools, something the governor may lack the authority to do.  It’s not clear how this will be resolved.

The money wasn’t likely to make a difference, writes Rick Hess. Newark is spending $940 million this year,  more than $22,000 per pupil, and graduates less than half the students.  (And can’t keep the schools free of rats.) An extra $100 million over four years, even if it generated matching funds, is not significant.

Furthermore, Zuckerberg missed the chance to “use the money to leverage hard-to-win changes.”

It’s hard for even far-seeing union leaders to convince veteran union members to accept reforms to evaluation, tenure, or pay policies. It’s much easier if they can tell their members that such changes are what it will take to unlock new funds. District leadership reluctant to close half-empty facilities, overhaul operations, or push for cuts in benefits will find its path somewhat easier if such measures will open doors for new funding. As in any negotiation, one’s leverage is greatest before signing on the dotted line. Unfortunately, Zuckerberg missed an important opportunity to provide political cover to Booker and Christie, or to ensure that his money would be well spent.

Superintendents don’t have much discretionary money, so $50 million a year could make a difference, “if spent smart,” Hess concedes. But the signs aren’t promising.

Booker is promising to solicit ideas from the community, seems none too eager to suggest tough measures, and Zuckerberg didn’t push or demand tough medicine. This sounds to me like a formula for more tepid measures to boost professional development, add programs, tweak curriculum, and the rest.

The legal problems give Zuckerberg a chance to rethink the donation. If he can’t condition the donation on mayoral control, he can condition it on agreement to make difficult changes.  Of course, that lets an outside philanthropist dictate school policy, which will be very unpopular.

We want free stuff! We want free stuff!

I mean, who doesn’t want free stuff?  And if people aren’t willing to give it to you, why not make a large fuss?

Student activists in California and elsewhere took to the streets Thursday in a national day of protest against rising fees and dwindling services in public higher education, drawing attention to a wave of tuition hikes, budget cuts and furloughs at colleges and universities across the country.

Lest people think I am being unfair, I actually saw the UCLA protests and even stood amid one of the groups during their chanting.  (I was on my way to lunch.)  The overwhelming sentiment that was being shouted and that was on signs was that “Education should be free.”

There’s more on this from Professor Bainbridge and Megan McArdle.

Student wins 'Nobama' case

Arrested and suspended for one day for wearing a “Nobama” shirt outside a pre-election speech by Michelle Obama in his high school gym, a Colorado high school student has won a s$4,000 settlement with his school district and the sheriff’s office.  The speech was scheduled for after school hours. Blake Benson stayed on campus and held up a McCain sign as classmates entered the gym.

According to the ACLU, Dakota Ridge school officials told Benson to leave. When he refused, officials had Benson handcuffed, searched and arrested for interference — a charge that carries up to six months in jail and a $750 fine.