April 27th, 2012
04:34 PM ET

NJ teacher calls bullying claims 'disingenuous'

by Leigh Remizowski, CNN

(CNN) - The former teacher of a schoolboy diagnosed with autism, who is accused by the child's father of mistreating the student, has called the allegations "disingenuous," saying she wasn't there when the alleged classroom incident took place.

The father, Stuart Chaifetz, said he put a recording device on his 10-year-old son, Akian, and recorded school staff in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, making what he described as inappropriate comments during class.

Teacher Kelly Altenburg said through her attorney Friday that she "does not condone any such remarks."

"This language was not used at her direction, in her presence or with her knowledge," according to the statement.

Chaifetz launched a website and a YouTube video on Monday to publicize portions of more than six hours of recordings of what he says are teachers and aides talking about alcohol and sex in front of the class, punctuated by yelling at his son to "shut your mouth."

School authorities said in a statement Friday that they are "continuing to investigate what occurred in the classroom in question."

"Since the evidence presented is audio only, it is imperative that the improper conduct identified on the recording is correctly identified to the person(s) who committed the conduct," the statement said.

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Filed under: At Home • Autism • Issues • Policy • video
April 27th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Teen sues bullies for fake Facebook page

Alex Boston and her parents explain why they took legal action against two bullies who created a fake Facebook page.

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Filed under: At Home • Bullying • Issues • Practice • video
April 27th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

In the Washington Post's annual Spring Cleaning article, two of the top ten things that they think should be done away with are related to education:

Orszag: Get rid of the 3 p.m. school day
Former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag says ending the school day at 3 p.m. should be a thing of the past. He argues that longer school days would cost more, but the benefits outweigh the increase in school budgets.
Harris-Perry: Let’s get rid of grades
Tulane University professor Melissa Harris-Perry says that giving grades to students is outdated, too. Students are more likely to pursue their interests – and take more challenging courses – if the fear of a bad grade is taken out of the equation.

U.S. News: College Students Split on Political Graduation Speakers
As the graduation season nears, some college seniors are reacting to their school's chosen commencement speakers. The article also links to an interactive map of this year's graduation speakers.

Education Week: Survey: Many Coaches Misinformed About Youth Sports Safety Risks
A recent survey of coaches of youth sports finds that many of them believe there is an acceptable level of physical contact in their sport. Almost half of the coaches surveyed said they were not well-trained in recognizing sports injuries, and almost four in ten had no training in sports safety.

NewYorkDailyNews.com: After controversy over pineapple question on city schools test, a question about a yam stirs new troubles
After a series of confusing questions about a talking pineapple was removed from New York's fourth grade reading test, a passage about a talking yam is being called unfair because the story appeared in test prep materials. Since schools had to buy the test prep materials, some students – but not all – were already familiar with the African folk tale.

Opinion: Obama should push bankruptcy relief for student loans
President Obama discusses student loan debt this week at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
April 27th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

Opinion: Obama should push bankruptcy relief for student loans

By Anya Kamenetz, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Anya Kamenetz is a senior writer at Fast Company magazine and the author of Generation Debt, DIY U, and the free book The Edupunks' Guide.

(CNN) - This week President Obama did a swing through some college campuses talking about student loan debt. The immediate issue is the 3.4% interest rate on federal student loans. It's set to double July 1 unless Congress acts. Keeping the rate low in this still weak economy is, as the president said, a no-brainer. Even his opponent Mitt Romney has endorsed it. But the larger problem - mounting college costs and a cumulative $1 trillion in student loan debt — remains untouched.

Some recent polls have shown that support for Obama among young voters, once Obama's enthusiastic fans, may be waning in this election compared with four years ago. Student loans are seen by some as the president's chosen key to regaining their hearts. But really, the issue has been raised for him by the Occupy movement, gearing up this May 1 with a new set of actions focusing on the cost of college and the depredations of the student loan industry.

Additionally, almost 700,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by MoveOn.org for student loan forgiveness, started by lawyer and student-loan debtor Robert Applebaum. And the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, introduced by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Michigan, last month, is aimed at offering relief.
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