reading


This case is just wrong. Kids should be able to choose their books at school and at the library. The parents and the administrators here are in the wrong. Let the kids read, especially if it’s a book that has won awards and can teach things and not just a book that is violent for no reason.

Teacher put on leave after book complaint

By ANGELA K. BROWN

TUSCOLA
— A popular English teacher has been placed on paid leave — and faces possible criminal charges — after a student’s parents complained to police that a ninth-grade class reading list contained a book about a murderer who has sex with his victims’ bodies.

Kaleb Tierce, 25, is being investigated for allegedly distributing harmful material to a minor after the student selected Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God off the list and read it.

Tierce, a third-year teacher and assistant football coach at Jim Ned High School, has not been arrested, but his case has caused an uproar in this West Texas town of 700 people. Last week, more than 120 parents and students crowded into a meeting where the school board voted to keep Tierce on paid leave.

Most parents say Tierce should be reinstated, regardless of whether the book is too graphic for teens.

“He’s a great teacher and coach and motivates the kids like no one else can,” said Chris Garcia, whose daughter was in one of Tierce’s classes. “If you’re trying to protect your kids from things in books, you may as well turn off the TV and video games. You try to protect them as much as you can, but these days kids are just exposed to so much.”

Tierce, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, declined to comment when
asked by The Associated Press about the allegations.

Some students and athletes have worn armbands to school and football games
emblazoned with Tierce’s initials, hiding them under clothing. Others said teens were meeting secretly to decide how to help the teacher they believe did nothing wrong.

“He was the only one who understood us,” said Patrisha Ramirez, 15. “He would joke around. He would make English interesting, for once.”

In Tuscola, south of Abilene, Child of God was on a list of titles compiled by all the high school English teachers for a pre-Advanced Placement class.

Although administrators’ approval was not required for the list, school officials have since removed the book because they deemed it inappropriate for ninth-graders.

The book tells the story of a town’s outsider who is falsely accused of rape, then begins killing people. The character ends up living in a cave with his victims’
decomposing bodies. The 1974 novel “plumbs the depths of human degradation,” according to its back cover.

The parents of one ninth-grade student filed a police report on Oct. 1 with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office. Before contacting law enforcement officials, they complained to the teacher and principal, said district Superintendent Kent LeFevre, who declined to reveal their discussions.

The superintendent placed Tierce on administrative leave on Oct. 9.

Sheriff’s Sgt. John Cummins said the case will be turned over to the district attorney once the investigation is complete. Distributing harmful material to a minor is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

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student taking a test

I agree with the teachers. TOO MANY TESTS! (Also too much homework, which is why I am spending less time on my blog.)

Teacher group says schools should ease up on testing

Educators say they feel the pressure of ratings system.

Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The third week of school is under way. In other words, it’s time to start testing.

In the Austin school district, some teachers must start giving benchmark tests, which measures students’ strengths and weaknesses heading into the new year.

. . . . .

The statewide Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills is the favorite punching bag of teachers and parents who say schools are too focused on tests.
But Malfaro said that much of the testing burden in Austin comes not from the state but from district officials who require teachers to give district-produced tests throughout the year.

Ann Smisko, the Austin school district’s associate superintendent for
curriculum, said the district, like most, “regularly assesses students for one main reason: to ensure that children receive better, more focused classroom instruction.”

Smisko said the district uses benchmark tests at the start of school to see where students are, in the middle of the year to measure progress and at the end to see whether students need extra help before moving to the next grade.

District officials said the number of days per year that a class spends on testing varies by grade and campus.

Ken Zarifis, who teaches eighth-grade language arts at Burnet Middle School in North Austin, said he and colleagues spend more than 40 of the 180 instructional days in a school year giving tests that they do not write themselves.

Those tests include state-written exams such as the TAKS and district-produced tests, such as six-week exams and the three-times-a-year benchmark tests.

 

a home library full of books

I can not imagine going a whole year without reading a book. Can you? 25% of American adults did not read a single book last year! I hope that they at least read teen political blogs! Ye gads! AND, it turns out that liberals read a lot more than conservatives. That shouldn’t be a surprise! Two stories about this:

POLL: Liberals Read More Books Than Conservatives

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A new AP-Ipsos poll finds that liberals read more books than conservatives. Some highlights from the poll:

34 percent of conservatives have not read a book within the past year, compared with 22 percent of liberals and moderates.

– Among those who had read at least one book, conservatives “typically read eight” books in the past year. Liberals read nine, moderates five.

– “By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.”

Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, attempted to explain the results: “The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes. It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Responding to the poll, White House spokesman Tony Fratto attacked liberals for being too “locquacious”:

Obfuscation usually requires a lot more words than if you simply focus on fundamental principles, so I’m not at all surprised by the loquaciousness of liberals.

A recent Pew Research Study survey also found that viewers of the conservative Fox News channel had the lowest knowledge of national and international affairs.

One in four read no books last year

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer

There it sits on your night stand, that book you’ve meant to read for who knows how long but haven’t yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing — you are not alone.

One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.

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