Middle school displays racially insensitive images, teachers

190210-noose-classroom-sign-cs-234p_175183cf3bbbed5f5156542b3c148737.fit-560w.jpg
photo courtesy of Arthur L. Mackey Jr.

Roosevelt Union Free School District in Long Island, New York is facing some intense scrutiny from parents and professionals alike after it came to light that teachers at Roosevelt Middle School included pictures of nooses in a collage, which referred to them as “back to school necklaces.” The hashtags “Yes” and “Ha-ha” were also to be seen on the collage, near the pictures.

In what is being referred to as a “personnel matter,” the district insists it is investigating, but will not comment further on the actions it will take to rectify the problem. Meanwhile, students continue to attend a school where teachers make light of the struggles their ancestors have endured. If we can put racism aside (and really, in a situation like this, how can we?), when is it ever okay to have pictures of nooses in a middle school, especially with the words “ha-ha” anywhere near them?

The truth is, the school and district may never have noticed the college or its offensive material, had it not been for an unnamed teacher bringing it up with pastor Andrew L. Mackey, Jr. of Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt. He publicized the image and issued a call to action. It’s good to see someone standing up for the children in this school.

The school serves nearly 300 students in grades 6 and 7, almost all of whom identify as minorities. The principal himself is African American. Greatschools reports that test scores in both reading and math fall well below the state average, and the school’s homepage shows student notices are published in both English and Spanish. This is obviously a low performing school whose students may ultimately choose not to attend, if they feel threatened or marginalized.

rooseveltmiddleschool.PNG
“important message” on Roosevelt Middle School’s homepage

A video on the school’s website (linked below) shows a local news station’s recent profile of the school, and the positive sentiments expressed about the school’s future. Perhaps academically it could improve, if given a more positive atmosphere. Still, one needs to laugh, or else they might cry, at hearing the reporter stress that the school focuses also on “social and emotional learning.”

Noose photos labeled ‘back to school necklaces’ by middle school teachers outrage parents

Noose photo displayed in New York classroom draws action from school district

Classroom Collage With Nooses Labeled ‘Back to School Necklaces’ Roils NY District

Roosevelt UFSD – Roosevelt Middle School

Roosevelt Renaissance (video)- CBS News

GreatSchools.Org – Roosevelt Middle School

 

Teachers strike in Los Angeles, citing low pay

 

Los Angeles students are still coming to school today, but they’re being met with unfamiliar faces as substitute teachers step in to fill the gap left by 28,000 striking teachers, who are of course “doing it for the students.”

The dispute is over (what else?) a demanded 6.5% pay raise – teachers insist the district has the money to burn, and want the raise immediately (Friday they rejected an offer from the school district giving them a 6% raise over 2 years). They’re also wanting smaller class sizes and “fully staffed” schools, which include more nurses, librarians, and counselors. The district said meeting every demand would put them more than half a billion dollars in the red.

So in essence, teachers (or, rather, their union bosses, who of course “only have the interests of them and their children at heart) are wanting greater compensation (which means greater union dues) for less work.

Never mind that teaching degrees constitute some of the easiest-earned degrees in the nation, and education students collectively have the lowest SAT scores among matriculating freshmen. GPAs for education majors are nearly a full point higher than those studying math or science. Countless undergraduates joke that if they can’t cut in their challenging classes, they “could always just major in education.”

Don’t tell me teachers weren’t aware they may not receive astronomical salaries, when they were back in college. Don’t tell me they “did it for the children;” how many of us had teachers that “just didn’t care” and were literally counting the minutes until school let out for the day, or the year (or until retirement)? If they really had children’s interests in mind, would they be refusing to come into work, forcing their charges to spend the days on the streets, in front of the television, or in a classroom with a clueless substitute?

The average teacher salary in Los Angeles Unified School District is $75,000. This doesn’t take into account the 3 months’ vacation they get every year, or the excellent benefits package, including retirement benefits that put most other jobs to shame.

The school district serves approximately 640,000 students.

LA Teachers Go On Strike For First Time In 30 Years

CITY RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO FAMILIES DURING THE EVENT OF A STRIKE

Here’s The Nation’s Easiest College Major

Photos: Thousands of L.A. Teachers March on Strike

Elementary School Principal/Grinch Ousted

In a rare moment of sanity, a school district in Omaha, Nebraska, placed a principal on administrative leave after she perhaps took the “separation of church and state” idea a little too seriously.

It was discovered that one Jennifer Sinclair, principal of Manchester Elementary School, issued an internal memo banning everything even remotely related to the Christmas holiday, including, of all things, candy canes, supposedly because they are in the shape of J’s (“for Jesus”), and the colors are representative of His blood and resurrection. Teachers were also banned from singing Christmas carols, putting up trees, or referring to reindeer, among other things.

Said memo, referenced below, mentions mandates from Elkhorn School District, and reminds teachers that they need to be sensitive to all religions and cultures. While the principal herself was removed from her post, it sounds like she was just following through with what she believed the district insisted upon. Whether or not she took it too far and is the only one to blame are points of contention.

Acceptable practices:
Gifts to students
Students making gift for a loved one
Snowmen, snow women, snow people, snowflakes
Gingerbread people
Holidays Around the World – purposeful presentation of information to teach about different cultures
Sledding
Hot chocolate
Polar Bears
Penguins
Scarves, boots, earmuffs, and hats
Yetis
Olaf – Frozen

Not acceptable:
Santas or Christmas items (clipart) on worksheets
Christmas trees in classrooms
Elf on the Shelf – that’s Christmas-related
Singing Christmas Carols
Playing Christmas music
Sending a Scholastic book that is a Christmas book – that’s Christmas-related
Making a Christmas ornament as a gift – This assumes that the family has a Christmas tree which assumes they celebrate Christmas. I challenge the thought of, “Well they can just hang it somewhere else.”
Candy Cane – that’s Christmas related. Historically, the shape is a “J” for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection. This would also include different colored candy canes.
Red/Green items – traditional Christmas colors
Reindeer
Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies

When in doubt, ask yourself:
What is the clear instructional purpose of this?
Does this item or activity promote a certain belief or religious (sic)?

Ironically enough, in the same memo a fourth grade trip to see the Nutcracker is mentioned. I wonder if anyone told the principal that this is a Christmas-themed show?

The decision to remove Ms. Sinclair began with nonprofit group centered on Christian values and First Amendment rights, Liberty Counsel, which sent a strongly-worded letter to the district asserting that religious freedom was being infringed upon. They did not advocate for her removal; only for her compliance with what they felt was a more acceptable handling of winter holidays.

While the district policy alluded to by the principal in the full memo (both linked below) is not as harsh as the strict guidelines set forth by Ms. Sinclair to her faculty, the fact that a public school is indeed a secular institution cannot be ignored. It serves to educate the broader community, and while banning Rudolph and the colors red and green may seem a bit ridiculous, government entities are well within their rights to do so, so as to cater to the community as a whole, and not just one specific group, religious or otherwise. If you truly find this unfair, you may be ready to ask yourselves: is this really the best place to educate our children? What other, more serious things are being added to or removed from the curriculum, all in the name of political correctness?

A statement from Elkhorn School District spokesperson, Kara Perchal reads: “Elkhorn Public Schools District administration promptly addressed the issue at Manchester Elementary School regarding the memo that was sent by the principal to Manchester elementary staff. The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school. The district has since clarified expectations and provided further direction to staff in alignment with district policy. This issue was limited to Manchester Elementary School and did not arise at any other schools within the district.”

Ms. Sinclair had been in her first year as principal of Manchester Elementary, which serves over 540 students from Kindergarten through fifth grade in the Omaha area.

Elementary school principal placed on leave after banning all things Christmas from classrooms

Letter from Liberty Counsel to Elkhorn Public School District

Manchester Elementary School – Week Ahead Notes: Dec. 3 – Dec. 7

Elkhorn Public Schools – ADMINISTRATIVE RULES AND PROCEDURES TO IMPLEMENT POLICY 604.05

Manchester Elementary

Teachers’ Unions Play Politics

teacherprotest.jpg

We’re coming upon the time of year when parents and children alike obsess over which teacher(s) they will receive for the upcoming school term. There is no real implied choice in the matter; similar to your “zoned school,” most families don’t search beyond what’s handed to them, so if a student doesn’t mesh well with their instructor, it’s “too bad, Jimmy, better luck next year.”

But, on the rare chance your child’s teacher isn’t a pedophile or serial public pooper, and doesn’t have anger management issues, perhaps you’ll gloat about what a wonderful person they are. “He shares my values,” you may say, or “She attends my church.” “We’re both supporting _____ in the Senate race.” This, you tell yourself, is the perfect person to replace you during the average of 8 hours a day your impressionable youngster is in school.

You would be wrong.

Regardless of a teacher’s political, religious, or otherwise ideological views, they are subject to the all-powerful organization known as the teacher’s union, which has overwhelmingly only one agenda.

Whether you agree or not with a union supporting certain political parties, the fact that teacher’s unions have in recent years given 94% of political contributions to liberal candidates and organizations. This money is not solely from donations, but from dues paid by those illustrious, upstanding teachers at a school near you.

Besides your standard Senate candidates and, of course, Hillary Clinton, NEA (National Education Association) and AFT (American Federation of Teachers), the two largest teachers’ unions in the United States, have contributed to many decidedly one-sided organizations, including but not limited to: the Human Rights Campaign (national group working for “working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights”); the Center for American Progress (progressive think tank led by former Clinton and Obama aides); and Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Push Coalition” and Al Sharpton’s “National Action Network.”

Millions upon millions of dollars are spent by these unions every year to support candidates, policies, and organizations on just one side of the aisle. And what’s more, from 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million. What’s more, Democratic bigshots like Hillary Clinton are welcome faces at union events; Clinton received the AFT’s “Women’s Rights Award” on Friday, and the response to her presence at the Pittsburgh event was akin to teenyboppers at a Justin Bieber concert.

“But that’s just the union,” you protest, still trying to remain in denial. “They don’t represent the values of OUR teachers!” Oh, really? Then who DO they represent? And why are they taking their money? The truth is, teachers listen to their union leaders, and believe they will fight for them to have less time with your kids and more money for what is essentially glorified babysitting, for much of the school day. If union leaders tell them to vote one way, chances are, they will. Because just like they are teaching your kids, day in and day out, to be mindless automatons dependent on someone else to tell them what’s in their best interest, teachers will often blindly follow their leaders. In fact, they are more likely to revere their local union leaders over their school principal.

So before you recommend your child’s teacher for canonization, perhaps you’d best examine where their loyalties really lie.

Hillary begins speech: ‘I’m so tired, I can barely stand’

Big Political Spending By Unions–Paid With Dues

OpenSecrets.org – Teachers Unions

How Liberal Politics and Teachers’ Unions Got So Entangled