In a study released earlier this week in the New York Times, students at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan - New York's most elite public high school, discussed the "how's and why's" of cheating in the school's highly competitive academic environment.
Students identified that their methods of cheating went from creating a classic "cheat sheet", to a code of tapping the on the desks, to sharing answers via text. Other students identified that often they would share test questions with friends who will be taking the same text or quiz later in the day... to some of the students this didn't really amount to cheating... the school would disagree as is evident in the school's honor code.
The importance of academic achievement is constantly drilled into students at Stuyvesant and some of the kids said that in order to achieve the grades demanded by faculty and parents... it is the only way. They claim that morality and ethics have very little to do with reality; they would rather cheat and get an 'A' then study for a few hours and get only a 'B'...
Other students claim that the punishment for cheating is relatively light so there is not much risk... even when getting caught. Well meaning teachers often do not turn students in for fear that their scholarships and college acceptance would be in jeopardy... the response of the student is to abuse the leniency of the faculty by cheating more.
The administration is now seeking to make examples of offenders an enforce the school's honor code. Teacher are being instructed to turn any and all cheaters into the administration or face their own professional punishments...
In response the fourteen minute film short which resulted in anti-American protests and riots around the Middle East, a government official from Pakistan has called for the maker of the film which is entitled, "The Innocence of Islam", to be found and killed.
Ghulam Ahmad Bilbour, the Pakistani federal railways minister, said in a news conference that he would personally finance a $100,000 bounty aimed at the maker of the crude low budget film. Bilbour also commented that he knows inciting murder is illegal, but that he was ready to be hanged in the name of Muhammad and his faith. Bilbour went on to call for the Taliban and Al Qaeda to be "partners in this noble deed."
It is unknown who made the film, but a California man named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was taken into questions by police last week in connection with the movie. Though not approving of the film, the Prime Minister of Pakistan releases a statement saying, "We completely dissociate ourselves from the statement of Mr. Bilbour."
Drug testing has become a part of professional sports; from the Steroid Era in baseball, the use of Human Growth Hormone in the NFL, to the recent stripping of all seven of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France titles, it seems that we can't go a week without a major story in the news or on Sport Center about illegal performance enhancers.
The NCAA, which runs all college sports in the United States, also tests for steroid use, as do some high school districts around the country... however the Milford, Pennsylvania school district has now extended drug testing all the way down to the Middle Schools and Junior High Schools... and it is not just for sports!
Kathy Kiederer's 12 year-old daughter was interested in joining the Scrap-booking club at her local middle school. When she signed up she was informed she had to submit to a drug test. In Milford, participation in any sport, academic club, or extra-curricular club now requires a clean drug test.
Some parents insist that such tests are unnecessary invasions of privacy, while other parents are applauding the school district for going above and beyond to ensure a clean and safe school culture. The concerned parents are claiming that the policy may be unconstitutional, however the Supreme Court has maintained that drug testing at the high school level is within the rights of public school districts... because of this Milford believes that there is nothing wrong with the testing of middle school students...
Where do you stand???
Cyber bullying has received a lot of attention in recent years. With constant access to communication, students in today's world cannot escape the torment of harassment the way they could ten or fifteen years ago when the bullying would stop when school ended. It would seem however that students are not the only ones who need protection.
With the passage of the School Violence Protection Law of 2012, North Caroline has made it a criminal offense for students to harass, threaten, bully, or intimidate in any way employees of the public schools. With the advent of email, Facebook and Twitter, students have the opportunity for constant access to teachers as well.
It would seem that new technologies will always necessitate new laws as well.
A case involving a ten year old suspect is making national headlines. The incident in question took place this past August in Maine. The ten year old suspect, who is being charged with manslaughter, is accused of killing a 3 month old infant.... the child had been drugged and suffocated.
If convicted, the child would spend 25 years in prison. Authorities in Maine don't know who the youngest person to be charged with a homicide is, but said that it has been quite a while since someone so young has been involved in such a crime in Maine.
The mother of the victim claims that while she is glad the child is being charged, she also feels that the child's mother needs to be arrested because that woman was baby sitting the victim when the infant was killed.
Recent similar cases include a January case in which 10 year old was arrested for stabbing to death a 12 year old friend in El Cajon, California, and in 2001 a Florida boy was convicted of killing a 6 year old playmate.
Should these kids be charged as adults???
In response to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Cranston Public Schools will no longer hold father-daughter or mother-son activities. The letter was sent on behalf of a mother who said that it was not an option for her daughter to go to a "father-daughter" dance and because of this the dances we exclusionary.
According to state law, discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited in admissions, the classroom, curriculum, athletics, counseling, "and any other school function and activities."
What is the alternative to canceling the dance
We all know the cost of a traditional four year college education is mind-numbing with the average cost reaching almost $100,000 for a Bachelor's Degree... never mind a Master's or a Doctorate. For the lucky few who graduate at the top of their class, scholarships can pay for most if not all of that cost, but for others, student loans offer the only viable alternative... that is unless you happen to go to high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Thanks to a mysterious group of anonymous donors every student who graduates from either of Kalamazoo's high schools and attends a public university in the state of Michigan receives a free college education. The "Promise Scholarship" offers students of all income and academic standings the same deal... graduate high school and stay in-state and you get a free ride!!
The reasoning behind this tuition jackpot is that the group of donors feel that the best financial investment in a community is in the education of its young people. According the superintendent of Kalamazoo while other cities are investing in businesses and giving tax breaks to the wealthy, Kalamazoo believes that the value of an educated society far exceeds anything a simple tax break can provide.
United States officials and Middle East analysts are claiming that the attack at the U.S. Consulate in eastern Libya and the assault on the American Embassy in Cairo may have been planned by extremists inspired by al-Qaeda.
Though no one was killed in the Cairo attack, four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens were killed in the assault in Libya. Stevens was a true friend of the people... he was fluent in Arabic and was known to go above and beyond in his diplomatic duties. He chose to go to Libya following the Arab Spring Revolutions in an effort to assist the people of Libya build a better life. This attack, condemned by many in Libya, may also have been a response to a controversial YouTube video posted by anti-Islamic, Christian fundamentalists from the United States.
The movie, called "The Innocence of Muslims" claims that the Prophet Muhammad had tricked people into following a false God and false religion and makes some extremely inflammatory claims against the most important figure in Islam.
It was reported overseas that the movie was endorsed by the White House, which is why the Consulate may have been attacked. It is now clear that this movie was in no way supported by any official from the United States... it was made by a private citizen exercising his freedom of speech.
If you were to log-on to Expedia or Travelocity, you would be able to book a trip to the most exotic of destinations... China, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, and a host of others... but, the location that would not be available to you is one that "Space Agents" say will be the next big thing in the travel industry.
There are several travel companies which have opened during the past few years, all of them promising to provide space travel to regular citizens... well maybe not regular, the cost of these vacations range from about $95,000 to almost $2 million.
The options for these private companies range from a brief half-hour flight above the atmosphere to week long excursions to the dark side of the moon. And just like when you fly to Disney World, the weary traveler must first go through the airport... or in this case the space-port... In fact, though the interstellar flights have not started from it, the fist space terminal is already built... Spaceport America sits in the New Mexican desert just waiting for passengers ready to explore the final frontier.
The concept of arranged marriage is not unheard of, even in the Western World. For centuries families would seek out the most advantageous match for their sons and daughters. The goal was to increase social standing, increase wealth, or secure a match which would produce heirs... usually male heirs were the most desirable. (marriage for love was not an option) Though in the West arranged marriage is a reality of a bygone era, there are still remnants of it... the tradition of the prospective groom asking the permission of his bride to be's parents before proposing. However,
in other parts of the world, the tradition is taken far more seriously, with far more deadly consequences for disobeying parental wishes.
Nusrat Mochi, a 25 year-old Pakistani domestic worker left for work one day, and never returned home; her reason... she wanted to marry a man not approved of by her family. In the four years since she and her husband Abbas Bhatti have married, they have been forced to move twice to escape threats against their lives.
Nusrat, since birth, had been promised to her father's brother (15 years her senior)... and when Abbas proposed, her father refused to release her from the obligation. Nusrat is now seen as an embarrassment to the family and worse she is viewed as having dishonored the family.
Technically, Nusrat is within her rights to marry anyone she wishes... Pakistan passed a law in 2003 which allows "free-will" marriages. However the reality is that each year hundreds of women are killed for attempting to exercise this right; often by members of their own family at the request of the woman's father. These "honor killings" called karo-kari often go unpunished because the family has the right under the law to officially pardon a perpetrator.
Nusrat's family has stated that if Nusrat and her husband provide payment for the dishonor, the feud will end... the demanded price is 200,000 rupees... Nusrat and her husband make 200 rupees a day. In case you're wondering, 200,000 rupees is approximately $2000.