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January 12, 2011

Tea Party-backed NC school board moves to segregate schools

The Koch brothers, the reclusive Texas billionaires who financial back the Tea Party, are paying for this. Apparently one of their long-term goals is segregated schools. Republican school board in N.C. backed by tea party abolishes integration policy
But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to "say no to the social engineers!" it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts. And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits - logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation. The situation unfolding here in some ways represents a first foray of tea party conservatives into the business of shaping a public school system, and it has made Wake County the center of a fierce debate over the principle first enshrined in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education: that diversity and quality education go hand in hand.

On Huck Finn and teaching the word "Nigger"

An interesting take on the new edition of Huck Finn that replaces the word Nigger with the word Slave. Beatrice.com -- Censoring Past & Present: Nicole Peeler on Teaching Huckleberry Finn

January 06, 2011

Fritz has a story in Brain Harvest magazine!

Poor Mojo's editor and resident letterpresser Fritz Swanson has a...

January 02, 2011

New Virginia state history textbooks are riddled with embarrassing errors

The author admitted to doing a lot of her research on internet forums. This is the future, kids. The history will be written by the trolls, the loudmouths, and the forum bullies. Virginia has already spent millions getting this book into classrooms. The publisher has admitted the errors but put forward no plan to replace the awful books. The state chose this textbook because it was the cheapest one possible. You get what you pay for, eh? Dozens of errors cited in Virginia textbook - CNN.com
(CNN) -- A panel of historians has found an "appalling" number of factual errors in a new fourth-grade history textbook used in many Virginia school districts, one of the experts said. The panelists vetted the book "Our Virginia: Past and Present" at the state's request, after it drew national scrutiny for its controversial assertion that during the Civil War, units of black soldiers fought on the Confederate side. Among the mistakes noted by the three reviewers: • The War of Independence began in 1775, not 1776. • George Washington did not preside over a Continental Congress in 1785, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in 1787. • Eleven states joined the Confederacy, not 12. • There wasn't a Battle of Richmond in the Civil War. • The number of casualties in the two battles at Bull Run was more like 30,000 - not 6,000. • America joined World War I in 1917, not 1916. The panelists also dismissed as unfounded the assertion that significant numbers of African-Americans fought for the South during the Civil War. The historical inaccuracies "are appalling in number," said retired professor Ronald Heinemann in his report to the Virginia Department of Education.

December 28, 2010

Five Sci-Fi Kids Books I Wish Were Real

"Five Sci-Fi Children's Books" by Caldwell Tanner on CollegeHumor

December 26, 2010

Chapel Hill to fight grade inflation

Chapel Hill Campus Takes On Grade Inflation - NYTimes.com
It could be a Zen koan: if everybody in the class gets an A, what does an A mean? The answer: Not what it should, says Andrew Perrin, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “An A should mean outstanding work; it should not be the default grade,” Mr. Perrin said. “If everyone gets an A for adequate completion of tasks, it cripples our ability to recognize exemplary scholarship.” As part of the university’s long effort to clarify what grades really mean, Mr. Perrin now leads a committee that is working with the registrar on plans to add extra information — probably median grades, and perhaps more — to transcripts. In addition, they expect to post further statistics providing context online and give instructors data on how their grading compares with their colleagues’. “It’s going to be modest and nowhere near enough to correct the problems,” Mr. Perrin said. “But it’s our judgment that it’s the best we can do now.” With college grades creeping ever higher, a few universities have taken direct action against grade inflation. Most notably, Princeton adopted guidelines in 2004 providing that no more than 35 percent of undergraduate grades should be A’s, a policy that remains controversial on campus.

December 19, 2010

The genre-bashing flowchart

Mystery -- ancient and modern. - MCDOUGALL'S GENRE-BASHING FLOWCHART!

December 15, 2010

Enjoy another free sample from Dave-o's book: Project 18--Cardboard Boomerangs

The good folks at No Starch Press have released another...

December 13, 2010

Recommended Reading: Weirdyear edited by E.S. Wynn

Weirdyear is a daily-ish literary webzine featuring weird flash fiction....