Scottish teenagers to vote in independence referendum

Scottish Flag with checkboxScottish 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds can vote in the upcoming referendum on Scotland disbanding from the United Kingdom. The Scottish nationalist leader, Alex Salmond, secured this option, believing 16 and 17-year-olds favor independence. Reuters news reports England considered this a large concession. There were other compromises as well, such as England demanding a single yes/no vote rather than a second question about partial independence, requested by Scotland leaders. Read more

UPDATED: Distracting, disruptive, non-traditional hair color leads to suspension threat

Dresden Middle School threatens 7th grader w/ suspension & juvenile court due to “non-traditional” hair color which they consider “distracting & disruptive”.

Principal Pam Harris pulled Talise Bryant away from other students on Friday Aug. 16, 2012 to inform her that if her black & pink hair was not in compliance w/ school policy on Monday that they would separate her from other students & not only suspend her but have her taken the to juvenile court & that because she is over the age of 10, no parent or guardian would be allowed to be w/ her & that she (Mr. Harris) highly suggested that Talise dye her hair over the weekend (no parent was called nor at the school at the time of this threat).

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Obama to require “schooling” until 18 or graduation

In his state of the union address, Obama says he wants states to require people to remain in high school until they graduate or turn 18.

Obama speaking“We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.” (see entire transcript)

Is this the change people were looking for? Obama not only can imprison people in Guantanamo without a trial, he now wants to tighten the informal prison system known as government schooling.

The federal government cannot require this, so it makes it a condition of federal education funding. Some states may refuse the funding for financial reasons, since the federal grant rarely covers the entire cost and states must provide the rest.

You cannot escape this requirement, but you can reduce your time in this system by passing the General Educational Development tests.

Vote for politicians who will end the government’s involvement in education, which forces people to attend until 16 and possibly now 18, takes their money for tuition, teaches them subjects that many don’t want or need, and makes many of them hate learning.

See transcript of State of the Union.

Suspended for growing hair to help cancer patients

A charter high school suspended a student for his long hair that he wants to donate to cancer victims.  J.T. Gaskins survived leukemia as a child. He refused to brush his hair differently to mask the length. He’s missed five days of classes and the school sends his work home.

Beatles album cover late 60s with long hair Much of the focus has been on getting the school to compromise. A better outcome would be for the school to simply scrap a policy that echoes the early 1960s. I thought the Beatles showed that long hair is not a problem, and might even help with the creative process.

Some schools back in the 60s likely forced women to wear skirts and to keep their hair long. Women’s rights have progressed. Now we need freedom for everyone to dress and look as they choose.

J.T. Gaskins is a modern John Lennon. He’s standing firm to assert his right to express himself.

Hopefully other will start to grow their hair long. Or maybe everyone, both male and female students, could tie their hair back to look like a bunch of cut-outs.

See photo of J.T.

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SuspensionStories.com 

Curfew proposal has opponents and alternatives

A curfew proposal in Montgomery County, Maryland, has not been an easy sell. Opponents range from parent-teacher organizations to a town council and alternatives, such as anti-loitering laws, may win out.

The law would prohibit “children” younger than 18 years old from outside areas past 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and past midnight on Friday and Saturday and would last until 5 a.m. the next day.

Politicians suggested the law back in July, following a fight between gangs. A senior politician opposes the law and has been accused of delaying a vote. The politician said the time has given people an opportunity to consider the law, alternatives, and amendments. One amendment would remove the requirement that parents must attend parenting classes if their children violate the curfew.

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Teen’s anti-curfew Letter to the Editor appears prominently

A teenager’s anti-curfew letter appeared prominently on the editorial page of a the main newspaper of a county considering a teen curfew. The letter’s title was “A teen’s view on the curfew” and the writer urged politicians to consider alternatives, such as more policing, instead of confining all teenagers to their homes. The letter added that most crime involving teenagers occurs in the afternoon.

Politicians in Montgomery county, Maryland, plan a vote on a teen curfew soon. A fight between youth gangs gave curfew proponents an opportunity to push their law.

Letters do have an impact. Like comments online, other people read them. Letters are an easy way to publish your comments in the paper without having to get a job at a newspaper, though that would be better. Your letter sits right next to valued commentary from the newspaper editors.

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Left school at 15, dropped in-to life, now billionaire

Business Man of the YearGovernment schooling is not the only road to success. Plenty of people go to non-government schools (aka private schools). Some home school themselves. A few “unschool” via DIY (do-it-yourself) project-based education. The lucky few? They drop in. They drop out of school, and drop in-to working life.

Richard Elman, featured on the cover of Forbes magazine quit left school at age 15 and has earned $2.2 billion through his thriving commodities trading firm.

Elman grew up in Brighton and quit school at 15. His father, a barrister, found him work “as a coolie in a scrap yard,” Elman says. He worked his way up, and within a few years the steel scrap business had taken him to San Francisco, then to Tokyo, then to Thailand and India. Later he became Asian regional director for the renowned commodities trader Philipp Brothers.

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Online learning to surpass your “grade”

Sample educational video screenshot

Government schools differ from the real world in so many ways. There are no grades where you move with your age group to the next level — all 40 year olds are not in the 40th grade. There are not a fixed set of subjects determined by some central planner and whether local teachers know the subjects. Now you can experience some freedom in both areas through the online education website – Khan Academy. Read more

Drowsy at school? Ask for a later start time.

Sleeping in classSome  schools have moved their start times to later in the morning and students are now more alert and less prone to arguing.

“In one of the most recent studies, published last month in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Owens and colleagues found that, after a change in start time from 8 to 8:30 a.m., students at a small, private New England high school reported fewer depressed feelings (a shift from 65.8% to 45%), better moods (from 84% reporting irritated and annoyed feelings to 62.6%); and less sleepiness during the day. (Before the shift, 69.1% of students said they rarely or never got a good night’s sleep compared with 33.7% after the shift, for example.)” Read more