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Kindergarteners NO/ Pittsburgh Steelers YES!

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Via(NewsBusters.org)

Omission Watch: Obama White House Snubs Sobbing Kindergartners for Steelers Event

Via Greg Pollowitz at NRO Media Blog, we learn from the local Washington NBC affiliate that a group of kindergartners from Stafford County, Virginia were turned away at the gate on Thursday morning for being too late for their White House tour.

Parents say they were just 10 minutes late for the scheduled tour. School officials say White House staff said they needed to get ready for the president’s event with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, so they couldn’t come in.

“Here we have President Obama and his administration saying, ‘Here we are for the common, middle class people,’ and here he is not letting 150 5- and 6-year-olds into the White House because he’s throwing a lunch for a bunch of grown millionaires,” Stine said.

The person who headed this White House trip up came out and said, ‘I’m sorry, the White House tour’s off.’ There were a lot of crying kids,” parent Barbara Stine said….

Paty Stine said the White House staff should have made an exception. She feels the kindergarteners were snubbed for the Steelers.

Organizers of the visit from Conway Elementary said they left the school at 8:30, but ran into heavy traffic and were ten minutes late for a 10:15 appointment. White House officials told the local NBC affiliate a different story, that the students were expected at 9:30.

Anyone who lives in northern Virginia knows it would be foolish to only budget an hour to travel Interstate 95 in the morning rush hour from the northern outskirts of Fredericksburg and hope to arrive in downtown Washington. The White House story sounds fishy, although the school probably should have allowed even more time for the commute.

As the White House plans to reschedule after the small amount of embarrassing publicity, school officials are sounding very unperturbed by the snub. A quick Nexis search finds no national network coverage, not even NBC, and nothing in the Washington Post or Washington Times.

But when the smallest Bush boo-boo (like trying to open a locked door in Beijing) can be a major story, skipping this kind of story would demonstrate that network morning shows who love stuffing their broadcasts with light stories of interest to young moms are taking a pass to protect all the gooey Obama family public relations they’ve offered in the first 100 days and more.

—Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

New Style Report Cards to be Sent Home!

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Via(The Boston Globe)

Public schools to send home weight reports

State board targets childhood obesity

Starting in the fall, public schools across Massachusetts will send reports home to parents alerting them if their child weighs too much or too little – the centerpiece of a campaign to shrink bulging waistlines and halt obesity-related diseases once rare in children.

The childhood screenings, modeled after initiatives in Arkansas and New York City, won unanimous approval yesterday from the state’s Public Health Council, an appointed board of doctors, academics, and service providers.

Students in the first, fourth, seventh, and 10th grades will be measured and weighed so school health officials can calculate their body mass index score, a standard measurement used to gauge the appropriateness of someone’s weight.

The initiative will be phased in during the next two school years, with more than 286,000 students expected to undergo evaluation before the end of the 2010-2011 academic year. The letters issued to parents won’t just be a scorecard, state authorities promised; they will provide suggestions on where to turn for help.

Nearly one-third of adolescents weigh too much, and the toll of that crisis is evident in school nursing offices, where nurses encounter children with high blood pressure and a form of diabetes that in previous generations struck adults almost exclusively.

“We don’t want 12-year-olds having heart attacks, and that’s exactly where we’re headed as a society if we don’t deal with the health and wellness of children and, especially, obesity,” said Kathy Hassey, president of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization.

Still, in the hours after health regulators embraced the screenings, the message board of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees lighted up with concerns.

Will this further fray school budgets already sorely stretched, some writers wondered. Is this another example of schools assuming responsibilities that are truly the province of parents, another asked.

“Our list-serve has been going off the hook here about this,” said Glenn Koocher, executive director of the school committee group, who counted 22 messages in two hours. “Everyone is concerned about obese children, obviously. But the general concern on the list-serve is around cost, around another unfunded mandate.”

Earlier, when the state Department of Public Health sought comments about the childhood weight screening, the responses from medical associations and physicians were almost entirely supportive. But a representative of an eating-disorders group expressed grave doubts.

Rebecca Manley, founder of the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association in Newton, questioned the reliability of body mass index screenings, known commonly as BMI. And she also challenged the wisdom of sending those reports to parents.

“Mandatory BMI reporting laws force parents to walk the fine line between encouraging healthy eating and promoting unhealthy weight loss strategies,” Manley wrote in a letter to the agency.

State health authorities said yesterday that they are familiar with those concerns – and with the worries of school committees – and have attempted to address them.

Parents, for example, will not be forced to have their children evaluated. Still, if the experience in Arkansas holds true, virtually all Massachusetts students will wind up being screened, and when they are, it will be conducted in private, with no mention of the resulting BMI reading made at that time.

“Nobody wanted to create an environment in which we are going to induce more unhealthy behaviors rather than healthful behaviors,” said Dr. Jewel Mullen, director of the Bureau of Community Health Access and Promotion at the state health agency.

The state’s public health commissioner, John Auerbach, said he believes the financial cost to school districts will be nominal, in part because many were already weighing and measuring students annually.

“Right now, in many situations, the data from height and weight measurements sit in a file, and even if it’s concerning, the parent may not find out,” Auerbach said.

“This helps us make sure the most important person in that child’s life finds out.”

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Unruly Students, Sent to “The Cage”!

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Via(DallasNews)

Dallas ISD records show school held ‘cage fights

The principal and other staff members at South Oak Cliff High School were supposed to be breaking up fights. Instead, they sent troubled students into a steel utility cage in an athletic locker room to battle it out with bare fists and no head protection, records show.

Documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News say the “cage fights” took place between 2003 and 2005. The records don’t say how many fights may have taken place.

Donald Moten, who was principal at South Oak Cliff High at the time, denied any wrongdoing when contacted Wednesday.

District investigators learned of the fights as part of an investigation into grade-changing for student athletes that ultimately cost the school its 2006 boys state basketball championship.

Internal district reports obtained by The News describe a culture of sanctioned violence in which school employees and even the principal relied on “the cage” to settle disputes and bring unruly students under control.

Moten, along with security monitors and other employees, “knew of the practice, allowed it to go on for a time, and failed to report it,” investigators for the DISD’s Office of Professional Responsibility wrote in a confidential 2008 report.

Despite investigators’ assertions that the staff’s conduct “may constitute a criminal violation,” charges were never filed against Moten or the hall monitors accused of organizing the fights. Many of those employees were still working on campus at the beginning of this school year.

“It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff,” said Frank Hammond, a middle school counselor in Cedar Hill who was fired from South Oak Cliff High School and has filed a whistleblower lawsuit. “They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security.”

Continue story here:

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Indoctrinating Our Children?

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Publishers Crank Out Children’s Books on Obama

President Obama, the merchandising phenomenon, has been a boon to sidewalk T-shirt vendors everywhere, the Washington Times reports.

Less conspicuous, perhaps, is the equally robust success of the children’s book industry in marketing Obama’s hopeful aura and personal history to parents of young children.

Are children’s book publishers seeking to indoctrinate impressionable young readers — or are they simply obeying the laws of supply and demand?

When the country elects a new president, publishers characteristically issue a biography or two geared toward young readers.

But in the case of Obama, publishers are tapping into unusual levels of excitement and curiosity.

Justin Chanda, vice president of Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers imprint, told the Washington Times he and his team felt rumbles of a larger presence the day after Obama’s triumph in the January 2008 Iowa caucuses.

They wanted a book – double-quick.

In industry parlance, they call it a “crash.”

Continue reading at The Washington Times

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Ask God what your grade is!

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Via(WorldNetDaily)

Prof calls Christian student ‘fascist b——‘

Lawsuit filed after speech met with: ‘Ask God what your grade is’

A student at Los Angeles City College has filed a lawsuit against the institution after a professor in his speech class called him a “fascist b——” and told him to “Ask God what your grade is” following the student’s speech about morality.

The case has been filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of student Jonathan Lopez after his encounter with Professor John Matteson in a speech class.

The lawsuit alleges that Lopez was participating in a class assignment to give a speech on “any topic” that would last from six to eight minutes.

“During the November, 24, 2008 class, Mr. Lopez delivered an informative speech on God and the ways in which Mr. Lopez has seen God act both in his life and in the lives of others through miracles. In the middle of the speech, he addressed the issues of God and morality; thus, he referred to the dictionary definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and also read a passage from the Bible discussing marriage,” the ADF explained.

Continue Story Here.

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Pennsylvania is Top State for School-Choice!

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Via(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

State tops nation in school-choice enrollment: study

By Bill Zlatos
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of students in school-choice programs, according to a study released today.

“Pennsylvania has what some people consider to be a corporate voucher program, and that program is allowing more than 43,000 children to receive grants to go to school,” said Andrew Campanella, a spokesman for the Alliance for School Choice.

The alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group, looked at school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs across the country. Its “School Choice Yearbook 2008-09” found an estimated 171,332 students in 10 states and the District of Columbia use such programs this school year, an increase of 8 percent over last year.

Pennsylvania launched its Educational Improvement Tax Credit in 2001. The credit provides grants so that parents can send their children to preschools and private schools, and support groups that provide innovative programs in public schools.

The 43,764 Pennsylvania students in the tax credit program surpasses the total of students in similar programs and those getting vouchers in other states, according to the report.

Campanella said the tax credit program grew 69 percent over five years in Pennsylvania; school choice programs soared 89 percent nationally.

“The reason we see the national growth higher is because of the new programs that have come into play in five years,” Campanella said. “It’s not that Pennsylvania is underperforming. In fact, Pennsylvania has done one of the best jobs recruiting students into the program.”

The state program is worth $75 million, said Andrew LeFevre, executive director of the Road to Educational Achievement through Choice Alliance, a Harrisburg group that advocates for school choice.

Of that, he said, $43.7 million is for scholarships, $23.3 million for innovative programs in public schools and $8 million for preschool.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh gets about 7,000 grants a year from the tax credits, said Ron Bowes, assistant superintendent for public policy and development in the diocese.

“We’re very fortunate,” he said. “There are about 200 scholarship organizations in the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re number one.”

Bowes said the law helped stabilize Catholic education. “This is something that has preserved a lot of our Catholic schools,” he said, estimating that each Catholic elementary school saves taxpayers $1.5 million to $2 million a year, in terms of the lower cost of education.

Last year, the Legislature amended the law by raising the cap on the tax credit from $200,000 to $300,000 and allowing partnerships such as law, architectural and accounting firms to take part.

“There’s still a lot of untapped potential out there in the business community that we need to get the word to,” LeFevre said.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Gambling for College Tuition!

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Via(PennLive.com)

Rendell’s tuition plan to be funded by gambling expansion

People look at a three card poker machine with a virtual dealer at the Gaming Control Board's slots lab in 2007.

People look at a three card poker machine with a virtual dealer at the Gaming Control Board's slots lab in 2007.

Gov. Ed Rendell’s plan to offer tuition relief to some students entering community college and state universities in the fall will be funded by video poker machines at bars and private clubs, according to two key Democratic legislative sources.

The proposal calls for allowing as many as five video poker machines each in bars, restaurants, taverns and private clubs, with a goal of generating $550 million a year for aid to college students.

State police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski said legalizing this industry that operates under the table will free up state police to investigate violent crimes, illegal drug trafficking and other offenses. He figures 17,000 illegal video poker machines are in operation today.

Revenue Secretary Steve Stetler said it could generate revenue from licensing manufacturers and distributors of the machines and the bars that decide to offer the games. Additionally, the state would take 50 percent of the net profits from the games themselves.

Bar and tavern owners in particular have wanted to bring some form of gaming into their businesses for years, especially since the state legalized slot machines in 2004. Private club operators have also clamored for a piece of the action, saying slots eroded their ability to raise funds for community causes.

The tuition program is targeted to students from families who earn less than $100,000 and would be launched starting with next year’s entering freshmen.

‘PENNSYLVEGAS’

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The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Miss the School Bus? Well then just drive yourself!

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Well at least that is what this 6yr old 1st grader thought he would do.  He had to make a decision because his mother was still sleeping.

Boy, 6, Misses Bus, Takes Mom’s Car Instead

10-Mile Trip to Va. School Ends With Crash but Without Injury

By Tom Jackman Washington Post Staff Writer

The word “miracle” can be overused. But when a 6-year-old boy drives a Ford Taurus for more than 10 miles, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, slams into a utility pole and no one gets hurt, well, maybe miracle is appropriate.

That’s what happened on Virginia’s Northern Neck on Monday morning, when the first-grader missed his school bus and decided to drive his mom’s car to elementary school so he wouldn’t miss breakfast and PE, authorities said yesterday.

“It’s a miracle that somebody didn’t get killed,” said Northumberland County Sheriff Chuck Wilkins of the boy’s drive along Northumberland Highway. “We’re a rural area, but if we do have a rush hour, that’s it.”

The boy’s parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment. Wilkins said the father, David E. Dodson, 40, was under a court order not to leave the 6-year-old and his 4-year-old brother alone with their mother, Jacqulyn D. Waltman, 26, at their home in the town of Wicomico Church. But Dodson left for work at 6:30 a.m., and Waltman was still asleep when the 6-year-old missed the bus and then drove off at 7:40 a.m. for Northumberland Elementary School, Wilkins said.

Sgt. Thomas A. Cunningham Jr. of the Virginia State Police said the boy is not particularly tall for his age and was “possibly standing” while driving the Taurus. Wilkins said the child had an idea about how to start, propel and steer the car from playing video games.

Article Continues here:

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Abstinence: Leading by Example!

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Couple Waits Till Marriage for First Kiss

Abstinence Lead By Example
Abstinence Lead By Example

Via the Chicago Tribune.

Now if we could just get this message across to our younger generation.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Written by truthtracker

November 30, 2008 at 9:33 PM