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Imam Who Said Ayaana Hirsi Ali Deserved Death Penalty Was Hired By DOJ To Teach Muslim Classes To Federal Prisoners

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:38:41 -0500
An Egyptian-born imam who in 2007 said that Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali should receive the death penalty for her criticism of Islam is now a Department of Justice contractor hired to teach classes to Muslims who are in federal prison. According to federal spending records, Fouad ElBayly, the imam at Islamic Center of Johnstown in Pennsylvania, was contracted by the DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons beginning last year to teach the classes to Muslim inmates at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md. It was April 2007 when ElBayly, the imam at the Islamic Center of Johnston, protested Ali’s scheduled appearance at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. ElBayly, along with Mahmood Qazi, the Islamic Center of Johnstown’s founder and past president, pressed university officials to block Ali from speaking.

Virginia's Sweet Briar to close, part of drop in U.S. women's colleges

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:33:54 -0500
By Gary Robertson RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - Virginia's cash-strapped Sweet Briar College will close at the end of the summer, administrators said on Tuesday, part of a sharp decline in the number of U.S. women's schools. The 114-year-old school near Lynchburg is closing because of “insurmountable financial challenges,” President James Jones said. Sweet Briar’s closure is part of a rapid decline in the number of women’s colleges. The Women’s College Coalition website says that in 1960 there were 230 women’s schools, but by 2014 that number had shrunk to 47.

Computerized school testing off to a rocky start in Florida

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:17:46 -0500
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Newly computerized state tests were suspended on Tuesday in some of Florida’s largest public school districts after students across the state struggled with faulty software. The 60-to-90-minute exams are a Florida version of the controversial Common Core standards that set national benchmarks for student performance. About half of Florida’s school districts reported problems with online testing on Monday, according Florida Department of Education Spokeswoman Meghan Collins. Miami-Dade County Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Marie Izquierdo called the Florida State Assessment tests on Monday an “epic fail” on Twitter, blaming the state for hastily rolling out an unproven computerized testing system.

America's Kids Are Getting More Diverse, but Its Teachers Aren't

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:06:17 -0500
After decades of neglect, the lack of diversity in the teaching ranks is on the education agenda thanks to a Colorado grade-school student who was looking for a role model. While the diversity of the nation’s public school student body has exploded in the last few decades, the number of African American, Latino, and Asian teachers hasn’t kept pace—despite state and federal programs designed to draw more minorities into the profession. The issue surfaced last year in the Rocky Mountain State when the Colorado legislature passed Aliyah’s Law, named after Aliyah Cook, an African American middle school student who told lawmakers her school had no minority teachers—and it hurt. Statistics back her up: Last year, a Center for American Progress survey showed 82 percent of all public school teachers nationwide are white.

How New ABLE Accounts Will Help Americans With Disabilities

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:06:13 -0500
Americans with disabilities and their families often face a myriad of financial challenges, but they will soon have a new financial vehicle allowing them to save for expenses and enjoy tax-free growth similar to 529 college savings accounts. Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act on the final hour of the final day of Congress in December, creating a new type of tax-advantaged account called an ABLE account or a 529A. The National Down Syndrome Society estimates that the accounts will benefit roughly 5.8 million individuals and families. "As a country, we've basically said that we value saving for higher education using a 529 plan, but we don't value saving for the basic needs that are connected to a disability," says Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who sponsored the Senate version of the bill.

Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is upgrading your mom's basement to 16-bit

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00:03 -0500

Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is upgrading your mom's basement to 16-bitKnights of Pen & Paper 2 was both announced and given a release date at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. On May 14, senior mobile producer Florian Schwarzer said, players will be able to take up the next campaign of the tongue-in-cheek game on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac and PC devices. Players take on the role of a party of high-school students sitting in a basement playing a tabletop role-playing game.

Ex-principal 'sorry' for sex abuse at elite Australian school

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:27:09 -0500

Australia opened the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in April 2013, after more than a decade of pressure to investigate claims of paedophilia in religious organisations, schools and state careA former headmaster at one of Australia's most prestigious private schools on Tuesday apologised after revelations that boys were groomed for sex by paedophile teachers while he was in charge. Knox Grammar in Sydney, whose ex-pupils include the late former prime minister Gough Whitlam and Hollywood star Hugh Jackman, has been the focus in recent days of a national enquiry into institutional responses to child abuse. The royal commission has heard disturbing claims of abuse at Knox which allegedly happened between the 1970s and 2012, with one ex-student saying the school harboured "a large paedophile cohort". Ian Paterson was the principal for 30 years until 1998 and it is alleged that he failed to tell police about incidents of abuse and provided references for teachers later charged with sex offences.

New Mexico students join others in nation against new tests

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:24:35 -0500

Hundreds of Albuquerque High School students stage a walkout in Albuquerque, N.M. on Monday, March 2, 2015, to protest a new standardized test they say isn't an accurate measurement of their education. Students frustrated over the new exam walked out of schools across the state Monday in protest as the new exam was being given. The backlash came as millions of U.S. students start taking more rigorous exams aligned with Common Core standards. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New assessment tests that have angered parents and teachers across the nation prompted walkouts Monday by hundreds of high school students in New Mexico who had been set to take the exams.

Ex-superintendent charged in Atlanta cheating scandal dies

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:15:30 -0500

FILE - In this Friday, May 3, 2013, file photo, former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall stands as her attorney presents a motion at the Fulton County Superior Court hearing for several dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators facing charges alleging a conspiracy of cheating on the CRCT standardized tests in Atlanta. Hall, the former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools charged in what prosecutors had called a broad conspiracy to cheat on state exams, has died, her attorney said Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/David Tulis, File)ATLANTA (AP) — Beverly Hall, the former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent charged in what prosecutors called a broad conspiracy to cheat on state exams, has died without being tried in the case that shocked the school system and reverberated nationwide.

Former Atlanta superintendent charged in school cheating case dies

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:24:42 -0500
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - Former Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly Hall, who was deemed too ill from breast cancer to stand trial with a dozen former educators accused in a standardized test cheating scandal, has died, her attorney said on Monday. "To her dying breath she denied any role in directing, ordering, or participating in any cheating at Atlanta Public Schools," he said in a statement. The Atlanta case is being watched nationally amid a string of cheating incidents across the United States in recent years. Hall was named national superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Administrators in 2009 - the same year prosecutors contend widespread cheating took place.

Longtime ban on cellphones at NYC public schools is lifted

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:46:38 -0500
NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime ban on cellphones at New York City public schools has been lifted.

5 Alternative Sources for College Financial Aid

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:30:00 -0500
The average cost for a year of in-state public college tuition and fees for 2014-2015 is $22,410, according to the College Board. When you see those numbers, it's not surprising the national student loan debt balance has reached $1.32 trillion. Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step most families take to help pay for higher education through government loans, but for students and parents looking for additional funds to offset college costs (and graduate with as little student loan debt as possible), efforts shouldn't stop there. Scholarships are a great (and free) way to be awarded for your achievements and get extra money for college, but with scholarship websites and organizations boasting a seemingly endless supply of awards, applying can easily become a daunting and discouraging task.

Anti-Israel divestment push gains traction at US colleges

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:06:37 -0500

In this photo provided by the The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University students celebrate after the Associated Student Government Senate passed a Northwestern Divest-sponsored resolution in Evanston, Ill. just before 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. The resolution asks the university to divest from six corporations the resolution’s sponsors say violate Palestinians' human rights. (AP Photo/The Daily Northwestern, Nathan Richards)NEW YORK (AP) — The ritual has become increasingly commonplace on many American college campuses: A student government body takes up Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and decides whether to demand their school divest from companies that work with the Jewish state.

Two Seattle-area high schools cancel classes after threats

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:55:26 -0500
By Eric M. Johnson and Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - Two Seattle-area high schools were evacuated and later canceled classes on Friday after receiving security threats, and another high school in Washington state heightened its security after a threatening message was scrawled on a bathroom wall. Interlake High School in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue was put on lockdown and classroom doors were locked with students inside after administrators were told of an anonymous threat of a school shooting on campus, the Bellevue School District said in a statement on its website. "At this time the District and the Bellevue Police Department have made the decision to close Interlake High for the remainder of the school day and to release students," a statement said. In Des Moines, a city south of Seattle, Mount Rainier High school students were evacuated to nearby schools on Friday morning after the school received a bomb threat, an official with the Highline School District said.

Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:58:09 -0500

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo. The priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame into an academic power during his 35 years in charge while also serving as an adviser to popes and presidents died Thursday night Feb. 26, 2015 at age 97 according to University spokesman Paul Browne. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as for football, even if it meant challenging popes, presidents or legendary football coaches.

4 Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in a For-Profit Online Program

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:00:00 -0500
"Don't count on the idea that these schools are going to watch out for you and only enroll students who are going to succeed -- it's not realistic," he says. The good news is the federal regulations, which kick in the summer, will require schools to release the debt-to-income ratios of their students. Before students sign up for an online, for-profit program, they should make sure they know what kind of credential and accreditation they need to enter their job or profession, says William G. Tierney, professor of higher education at University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education.

Lesbian kiss on Korean drama sparks debate

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:09:07 -0500

Two women kiss during a scene from the tv drama 'Seonam Girls High School Investigators', February 27, 2015 in this image from South Korean cable TV network and broadcasting company JTBCAn unprecedented lesbian kiss between two high school students on a popular South Korean TV drama has fuelled a debate about portrayals of sexuality in a rapidly modernising society with deeply conservative roots. Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, but carries a significant social stigma, with few openly gay public figures.

LA teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talks

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:53:36 -0500

Susana Mercado, left, and Linda Cardwell chant slogans as they join thousands of fellow teachers for a rally to demand higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, in Los Angeles. United Teachers Los Angeles is asking for an 8.5 percent pay increase, a demand the Los Angeles Unified district says cannot be met without significant layoffs. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dressed in red and raising signs into the air, thousands of teachers filled a downtown Los Angeles park on Thursday in demand of higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations.

Los Angeles teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talks

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:24:19 -0500

LA teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talksDressed in red and raising signs into the air, thousands of teachers filled a downtown Los Angeles park Thursday to demand higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations. "Everybody ...

LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:53:53 -0500
As an Ohio teenage hoops sensation, LeBron James went through the craziness of being recruited by colleges across the country. Now, he's living it as a dad.

2 arrested in connection with alleged job scam targeting students

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:38:36 -0500
Philadelphia police have arrested two women in connection with an alleged job scam that targeted high school students.

Use Federal Financial Aid to Pay for College Abroad

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0500
In today's global environment, more and more American students choose to complete at least part of their higher education credentials at a school outside the U.S.

Consider Whether to Take an Online Course at Community College

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:30:00 -0500
Though experts say the way employers view community college learning is improving, it can vary by industry. Still, with the flexibility to enroll in a single course or even a specialized industry certification program, the benefits of online community college classes may outweigh the risk. Instead, online community college students need to have strong internal motivation, she adds. Industries with quickly evolving practices may actually prioritize it, says Judy Baker, the dean of online learning at Foothill College just outside of San Jose, California.

Christie sets out teachers' pension reform

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:14:35 -0500

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 78th annual "Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner"By Luciana Lopez TRENTON, N.J. (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he had struck a deal with the state's teachers on a road map for pension reform while warning of a dire future if other unions do not make similar commitments to cut the cost of workers' retirement benefits. The governor's office later acknowledged that more work remained to be done on pension reform. The agreement between Christie, a Republican weighing a 2016 bid for the White House, and the New Jersey Education Association came despite a long-bitter relationship and continuing uncertainty over many details. "If we do not reform, next year we would be asked to spend nearly $8 billion on pension and health benefits," said Christie in his annual budget address on Tuesday afternoon in the state capital.

NJ's Christie strikes tentative teachers' pension deal

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:36:19 -0500

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 78th annual "Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner"By Luciana Lopez Trenton, NJ (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie struck a deal with the state's teachers on a "road map" for pension reform while warning of a dire future if other unions do not make similar commitments to cut the cost of workers' retirement benefits. The tentative agreement between Christie, a Republican weighing a bid for the White House in 2016, and the New Jersey Education Association marked a dramatic turn in a long-bitter relationship.

Legislature asked to boost funding for UNLV medical school

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:32:28 -0500
Nevada higher education officials on Tuesday asked legislators for three times more money than the governor has proposed to ramp up construction of a medical school in Las Vegas. Nevada System of Higher ...

Taylor Swift gives $50,000 in song proceeds to NYC schools

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:39:21 -0500

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2015 file photo, singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special in New York. Swift has donated $50,000 to the New York City public schools.The city tourism bureau tapped Swift as “global welcome ambassador” last year even though critics noted she was a recent transplant to New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)NEW YORK (AP) — New York City's official booster Taylor Swift has donated $50,000 to the city's public schools.

Adopting Through Foster Care: a Less Expensive Alternative

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:59:26 -0500
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau reports that nearly 400,000 American children were in foster care in 2012, and about a quarter of those were waiting to be adopted. Many potential adoptive parents don't realize that "because these children are in the custody of the county or the state, that county or state covers all those court costs that an individual would pay for a private agency," explains Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the nonprofit Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Parents may need to pay upfront for a home study (when a social worker interviews the family in their home), she adds, but typically those costs can be reimbursed through workplace adoption benefits, military adoption benefits or adoption tax credits. The majority of children adopted through foster care receive a financial or medical subsidy from their state until they reach the age of majority in that state, and many states offer college tuition waivers for adopted youth, which can further reduce a family's costs, Soronen adds.

S.C. State struggles to stay afloat: Can historically black colleges survive?

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:01:27 -0500
A financial crisis plaguing the South Carolina State University has pushed a larger issue into the spotlight: the fate of historically black colleges and universities across the United States. Earlier this month, South Carolina lawmakers proposed shutting down the state's only public historically black college for a two-year period. The announcement came the same week President Obama met with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss the future of the nation's historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. To the chagrin of many attending the meeting, Mr. Obama reportedly said that the lowest performing institutions "should fall by the wayside." The discussion raised questions about the future of HBCUs in America, institutions that have received flak in recent years for being financially unsustainable and leaving graduates poorly prepared and crippled with debt.

10 Colleges Where Graduates Have the Least Student Loan Debt

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:00:00 -0500
The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.

The Best Investment the U.S. Could Make — Affordable Higher Education

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 06:15:00 -0500

The Best Investment the U.S. Could Make — Affordable Higher EducationThe most frequently cited remedy for rising inequality is more and better education. According to this view, many workers do not have the skills they need to be successful in a globalized economy, and this “skills gap” can only be overcome through improved educational outcomes. First, wages have stagnated for both the college educated and those without a college degree. So a college education is no guarantee of immunity from rising inequality.

District appeals ruling sparing teachers from health costs

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:02:05 -0500

District appeals ruling sparing teachers from health costsPhiladelphia's public school system is asking the state Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that bars it from unilaterally imposing health care costs on unionized teachers.

Boston schools to reflect on city's violent past with desegregation

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:36:47 -0500
By Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - Four decades after a U.S. judge ordered Boston to desegregate its schools, sparking a wave of violent protest, the incident is set to formally become a part of the history curriculum in the city's public schools. While Boston Public Schools have long included desegregation and race relations in history and social studies courses, the lessons have largely focused on events in the southeastern United States. "We're not going to let Boston off the hook any longer," Kerry Dunne, director of history and social studies at the Boston Public Schools, said on Monday. In 1974, a federal court in Boston ruled that public schools in the Massachusetts capital were in violation of the 1965 Racial Imbalance Act and needed to even out classroom demographics by busing students to schools outside their neighborhoods.

Baghdad's first female mayor set to take the reins

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 06:51:29 -0500

A statue of Iraqi King Faisal on Bahdad's Haifa Street outside the damaged Justice and Municipality buildings on October 28, 2009 following a suicide bombingA woman has been named as mayor of Baghdad for the first time, a government spokesman said Saturday, amid widespread corruption and rampant violence. Zekra Alwach, a civil engineer and director general of the ministry of higher education, becomes the first female to be given such a post in the whole country, where international rights groups have condemned women's rights abuses. As mayor -- the most important administrative position in the capital -- Alwach will deal directly with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and holds has the prerogatives of a cabinet minister. "Abadi sacked the (former) mayor Naim Aboub and named Dr Zekra Alwach to replace him," government spokesman Rafed Juburi said.

Weather-battered schools turn to virtual days for students

Sat, 21 Feb 2015 08:06:59 -0500

Ice floes are viewed along the Hudson River in New YorkBy Steve Bittenbender LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of U.S. students stayed home this week due to snow and freezing temperatures, but some kids were not able to spend the day sledding or watching TV.     School districts from Oklahoma to Kentucky to Massachusetts kept students busy in virtual classrooms by assigning work online that was monitored by their teachers. Younger students or those without computers were not left out. Many of those students received paper materials on the day before bad weather was forecast.     The school districts are trying virtual classes because of the concern that too many bad-weather days mean losing instruction time, lengthening school days or extending the school year deep into the summer, school officials said. "Having these online learning days helps to avoid those gaps," said Dee Dee Nauert, who teaches fifth and sixth graders at Notre Dame Academy in Louisville.

Los Angeles teachers say deadlocked in labor talks, strike possible

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:45:35 -0500
Teachers in the massive Los Angeles public school system said they were deadlocked in negotiations with district administrators, a move that will trigger the intervention of mediators and could ultimately lead to a strike. Teachers in the district last went on strike in 1989.

Hospitals, colleges push back against proposed nonprofit tax

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:17:38 -0500
Officials representing hospitals, private colleges and other nonprofit organizations told lawmakers on Thursday that a proposal that would require them to pay property taxes to municipalities would devastate ...

AP History survives funding cut in Oklahoma. Here's why

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:15:35 -0500
We’re going to clear it up so folks will know exactly what we’re trying to accomplish, and it’s not to hurt AP,” Oklahoma Rep. Dan Fisher (R) told The Oklahoman Wednesday. Representative Fisher and other supporters objected to the recently revised framework for AP US history by the College Board, which administers related exams so high school students can earn college credit. “The redesign … trades an emphasis on America’s founding principles of constitutional government in favor of robust analysis of gender, racial oppression, class, ethnicity, and the lives of marginalized people,” Fisher said during the committee meeting. “The emphasis is on America as a nation of oppressors and exploiters.

Record-breaking cold in U.S. Midwest heads to frigid East Coast

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:05:23 -0500

A woman braces herself against the wind as she she walks through downtown ChicagoBy Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Bone-chilling cold in the U.S. Midwest shattered records in Chicago on Thursday, closing schools and starting its trudge eastward to an already frozen Boston and New York. Arctic air was expected to keep its grip on the nation's midsection on Friday morning, a day after the minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius) measured in Chicago broke the low temperature record of minus 7 degrees for the day set in 1936, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Oravec. The wind chill made temperatures in Chicago feel like minus 25, he said. Chicago public schools, serving 396,000 students in the third largest U.S. school district, canceled classes on Thursday and many commuters there were bundled so heavily that only their eyes could be seen.

UC President Napolitano postpones proposed tuition increase

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 21:26:03 -0500
LOS ANGELES (AP) — University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday she is postponing a proposed tuition increase as a good-faith gesture stemming from her ongoing negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown to resolve their standoff over higher education funding.