Colorado school bars transgendered 1st-grader from using girls' restroom
Coy Mathis, a first-grader, has been banned from using girls' restrooms at her Colorado school.
February 27th, 2013
03:00 PM ET

Colorado school bars transgendered 1st-grader from using girls' restroom

By Ed Payne, CNN

(CNN) - Just like she did during the first half of the school year, first-grader Coy Mathis wants to use the girls' restroom at her Colorado elementary school. But school officials won't let her.

The reason? Coy is transgendered, born with male sex organs but a child who identifies herself as female.

She dressed as a girl for most of last year. And her passport and state-issued identification recognize her as female.

In December, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District informed Coy's parents that Coy would be barred from using the girls' restrooms at Eagleside Elementary in Fountain after winter break.

Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are

She could instead use the boys' bathroom, gender-neutral faculty bathrooms or the nurse's bathroom, the district said.

In making the decision, the district "took into account not only Coy but other students in the building, their parents, and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls' bathroom would have as Coy grew older," attorney W. Kelly Dude said."However, I'm certain you can appreciate that as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls' restroom."

Coy's parents see it differently.

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Filed under: Elementary school • Gender
A $1 million bet on students without teachers
Newcastle University professor Sugata Mitra won the 2013 TED Prize for his experiments in self-organized learning.
February 27th, 2013
11:30 AM ET

A $1 million bet on students without teachers

By Richard Galant, CNN

Long Beach, California (CNN) - What if everything you thought you knew about education was wrong?

What if students learn more quickly on their own, working in teams, than in a classroom with a teacher?

What if tests and discipline get in the way of the learning process rather than accelerate it?

Those are the questions Sugata Mitra has been asking since the late 1990s, and for which he was awarded the $1 million TED Prize on Tuesday, the first day of the TED2013 conference.

Newcastle University professor Sugata Mitra won the 2013 TED Prize for his experiments in self-organized learning.

Mitra, professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, won the prize for his concept of "self organizing learning environments," an alternative to traditional schooling that relies on empowering students to work together on computers with broadband access to solve their own problems, with adults intervening to provide encouragement and admiration, rather than top-down instruction.

Mitra's work with students in India has gained wide attention and was the focus of a 2010 TED Talk on his "hole in the wall" experiment, showing the potential of computers to jump-start learning without any adult intervention.

Thinking about children living in slums in New Delhi, he said, "It can't be possible that our sons are geniuses and they are not." Mitra set up a publicly accessible computer along the lines of a bank ATM, behind a glass barrier, and told children they could use it, with no further guidance.

They soon learned to browse the Web in English, even though they lacked facility in the language. To prove the experiment would work in an isolated environment, he set up another "hole in the wall" computer in a village 300 miles away. After a while, "one of the kids was saying we need a faster processor and a better mouse."

When the head of the World Bank came to see the experiment, Mitra said he encouraged him to go to the New Delhi slum and see for himself.

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Filed under: Education reform • Technology • TEDTalk
Could your child be a bully?
Boys and girls use physical violence to exert their power, researchers say.
February 27th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Could your child be a bully?

By Jacque Wilson, CNN

Programming note: Don't miss the premiere of "The Bully Effect" on "AC360" at 10 p.m. ET Thursday, Feburary 28.

(CNN) - Eva was a bully. Tall for her age, she used her height to intimidate her peers. She made fun of those without designer clothes and got suspended several times for fighting.

She was also well-liked, outgoing, funny - and a victim of bullying herself.

"When you're in junior high, you're just trying to figure out who you are," the 24-year-old Los Angeles resident remembers. She says she bullied others because she was, as were most kids, insecure.

As a parent, you probably have a picture in your head of the kid you'd vote Most Likely To Bully Others. He's burly, wears a letter (or leather) jacket and has been a senior longer than most students are in high school.

But experts say the bullies tormenting students nowadays aren't like the ones we see on the big screen. It's not just a small group of jocks, or the loner stoner pushing kids into lockers between periods. It can be almost anyone, at any time. And the most likely targets of bullies? The bullies themselves.

Sociologist Robert Faris calls it "social combat." He says the majority of bullying takes place in the middle of a school's social hierarchy, where students are jostling with each other for higher status.

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Filed under: Bullying