Since the days when Mark Antony’s grandfather patrolled the coasts of the Mediterranean searching for the distinctive gilded-stemmed masts of their lightweight vessels, pirates from Cilicia (modern-day Cukorova, Turkey) had vexed Roman shipping lanes.
It’s getting so you can’t trust anything marketed as family-friendly entertainment these days. Disney, a holdout against the coarsening of popular culture for more than a decade after its founder’s death, long ago gave up the battle. G-rated movies today feature flatulence jokes and other questionable references that would have relegated (elevated?) them to PG status 20 years ago. Even cartoons cannot be relied on to offer good, clean fun.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told Congressional Quarterly May 4 that a Senate floor vote on his Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010, S. 3206, is likely in the coming weeks. The bill is designed to prevent layoffs of municipal school teachers whose jobs are threatened by reduced local property tax revenues by appropriating $23 billion in federal funds during fiscal 2010 to the states for local educational assistance.
Today is the National Day of Prayer, a day set aside for silent reflection and prayer in a variety of forms. However, this spiritual day has been clouded by the presence of various controversies, from a Wisconsin judge’s ruling that it’s unconstitutional to disinviting Reverend Billy Graham’s evangelical son, Franklin Graham.
The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is embroiled in a battle over textbook content that, media reports claim, could dictate public school curricula nationwide. As the single largest textbook purchaser in the country, Texas is a major decision-maker regarding content of books available on the market, since publishers naturally cater to their most lucrative client. Republicans on the SBOE have made headlines in recent months overturning what they call a "subtle trend" toward liberalism and negativity about America in the high school social studies curriculum.
The Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal of a Circuit Court decision in February of last year to strike down a California statute that bans the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The California law specifically bans the sale or rental of video games deemed “excessively violent.” California State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco warned that allowing minors access to very violent video games could affect the brain development of the child.
Standardized tests are not a perfect tool to measure academic achievement or intellectual ability. But standardized tests represent a serious attempt to objectively determine how much a student has learned and how well his mind works in certain defined areas.
The Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, school district lent high school sophomore Blake Robbins an Apple MacBook laptop last fall, and then utilized security software on the computer's webcam to take pictures of him in his home. The pictures involved him sleeping and getting dressed, but the school district's information systems coordinator Carol Cafiero contends in a lawsuit that Robbins had “no legitimate expectation of privacy” with the laptop.
“Hard questions” are being asked this week in Montgomery County, Maryland, in the wake of the April 15 discovery that middle-school and high-school girls had transmitted lewd photos and video clips of themselves via cellphone and the Internet to their classmates. Many of the recipients, mostly boys, then turned around and either rented or sold the photos to other students.
It isn't often that parents have occasion to protest an outbreak of silence by their school-age children, but the "Day of Silence" observed by students in schools across the nation on Friday, April 16, sparked a reaction from some pro-family groups that urged parents to keep their children out of school to avoid the event, organized each year by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network.