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Thoughts and comments about making life even better
Curated by Kenneth Weene
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Israel's smartest student is an Arab

Israel's smartest student is an Arab | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Israeli-Arab Mohammed Zeidan was this year's only student to achieve the highest possible score on Israel's college entrance exam.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Congratulations Mr. Zeidan. You may only be one young man, but your accomplishment reminds us to search for the good in all people. 
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10 Animals With Degrees and Diplomas - ODDEE

10 Animals With Degrees and Diplomas - ODDEE | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Sure, cats and dogs can't actually read, write or do arithmetic, but that hasn't stopped some of them from getting a degree. (schools, college, degrees, diplomas, pets, animals, diploma mills, fraud)
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Did you know that Punky the Cat is a co-host of It Matters Radio? She even writes our monthly newsletter. Of course, she never did finish her degree, but we've been told by a reliable pigeon that she attended an ivy covered university. You can friend her on Facebook and catch her meows on the weekday shows (4 PM ET) and the Sunday show (3 PM). 
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10 Wackiest Schools and College Majors (weird majors, unusual schools) - ODDEE

10 Wackiest Schools and College Majors (weird majors, unusual schools) - ODDEE | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Can't decide what to do in college? From sex to marihuana growing, meet ten weird activities you won't believe are not extracurricular. (weird majors, unusual schools)
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Poultry raising, what's so wacky about that? Cosider the characters in The Stylite, one of the three pieces in Broody New Englander. Well, you decide about the rest of these.
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14 Amazing Excuses Kids Have Used To Stay Home From School

14 Amazing Excuses Kids Have Used To Stay Home From School | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Major points for creativity.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I love these. In my life I suffered from Von Munchausen's by proxy and  had to fight to go to school. Anyway, good job kids, keep up the creativity and you may become marketing directors or even politicians. 

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This simple yet brilliant idea is making kids smarter and healthier.

This simple yet brilliant idea is making kids smarter and healthier. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The program is called Read and Ride, and it's making kids smarter and healthier at the same time.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What a great and simple idea. Wish we had this when I was a kid. Two things I loved doing, reading and riding my bike.

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His class attendance went from 40% to 93%. Because of a garden?

His class attendance went from 40% to 93%. Because of a garden? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
It's amazing what accomplishing something can do for a kid's self-esteem.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

We offer kids far to few opportunities to find the pleasure in nature and even fewer to learn about food in a hands-on manner. What a great story and what an important inspiration Stephen Ritz has offered to teachers everywhere.

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Native American boy pulled from class over Mohawk haircut

Native American boy pulled from class over Mohawk haircut | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
"It's a symbol of who we are," said the boy's father, who called it ironic that the Utah school is named Arrowhead.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I don't know about you, but I find this kid's smile very disruptive of my concentration. Seriously, as a school administrator you didn't know that Mohawk haircuts are a Native American tradition? Seriously, you think that after fifteen minutes the other kids in the class will be distracted by the neatly coiffed Mohawk? Let us consider the real issue behind this—no not cultural bias and bigotry—the growing propensity of schools to see themselves are enforcers of conformity. Don't get me wrong, I believe in community standards, but I also know that our country is based on individuality. Sadly, more and more we as a people search not for a process that balances those two goals but engage in bullying techniques to impose the one and rebellion to obtain the other. Law and order has become synonymous with imposition of compliance, and the schools have become allied with law enforcement rather than law exploration. This leaves the small number of people who opt for cultural diversity and freedom pulling their hair in frustration. The takeaway here is that the school administrators weren't even willing to accept the parents' statement that Jakobe's hairstyle was culturally correct but required a letter from an "authority." It seems to me that our "wars" in drugs, terror, and the like have become wars on ourselves and on our free and rational thinking, and the people of St. George, Utah, have some serious thinking to do about the underlying values of their town. Meanwhile, I will be smiling all morning in response to this kid's grin.

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Malala Aced Her High School Exams

Malala Aced Her High School Exams | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Yousafzai got As and A*s on her General Certificate of Secondary Education exams (GCSEs)
Kenneth Weene's insight:

With grades like that, one can understand why this wonderful young woman may intimidate the paranoid and insecure men of the Taliban. What a great role model she is for girls, Muslim and non-Islamic.

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No tampons, no problem: NYC legislator discusses making tampons a public good.

No tampons, no problem: NYC legislator discusses making tampons a public good. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Take that, stigma!
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Despite the sarcastic tone of the writing in this article, this is a real issue, especially for young women whose families don't have money. For years school nurses (and teachers who care) have been providing tampons and sanitary napkins at their own expense, but that has been an unreliable supply for the kids. Bravo to this lawmaker and her idea of making female hygiene supplies available in the school restrooms. Now, if they'll clean those restrooms so the kids can use them.

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Fifty Authors from Fifty States - Beans and Cod

Fifty Authors from Fifty States - Beans and Cod | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

“You’re going to boarding school,” my father proclaimed. It was December 1954. I was thirteen, in ninth grade and not really ready for this dramatic announcement. I was not, however, completely surprised. My father didn’t like me; that had been amply demonstrated the summer before. I could not forgive his rages and my multiple humiliations. From everything he said, it was obvious he could not remember any of those horrible episodes. Any references to the summer’s events met a look of incomprehension.

 

Kenneth Weene's insight:

As I get older, I become more willing to share my life story with others — the true memories, not just the bits and pieces that I use in my novels. So, if you are curious about who I am, here is a piece you might want to read. If you're not curious about me, well you may still enjoy reading it because it has a wry humor. (No, wry not rye; no alcohol is consumed in the writing of my blog posts.)

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A struggle worth having for students

A struggle worth having for students | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Learning to teach to Common Core standards made us better teachers.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In this brief essay, the author highlights both the strength and the weakness of Common Core. The strength is getting teachers to think about the goals of instruction and to better understand how to implement those goals. In that process of struggling with the concepts and applying them, their teaching has to improve. The weakness is those teachers (and parents) who do not want to do that very necessary work. I so often see posts in the social media praising the educational past, for example about cursive writing, rather than struggling with how to improve new skills and understanding. It is time to celebrate teachers like Kyle Schwartz, teachers who want to be the best for the sake of the best of our children.

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Obama: Make Community College Free

Obama: Make Community College Free | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

President Obama unveiled a plan Thursday to make two-year community colleges free for “anyone who is willing to work for it.”

Kenneth Weene's insight:

While I applaud this plan, it is not enough. We should be using monetary rewards to keep kids in school and working towards useful educations much earlier in their lives. For example, why don't we create educational savings accounts for kids in high school and add to those funds based on their school efforts and learning. That way, by the time a kid has finished high school (s)he can have a nest egg for the next phase. Indeed, I would also give them part of that money during those school years so they could feel good about themselves. It takes a country to raise all its children.

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Kirby Sorensen's curator insight, April 15, 2015 2:03 PM

Fun stuff. I don't think the president will be able to pass it through congress with it battling the ideas of free commerce; but, if it does manage to pass, it will save millions (including me) of students college debt that they shouldn't have.

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A Collection Of Clues To America's Educational Past

A Collection Of Clues To America's Educational Past | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Tucked away in boxes, deep in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, are objects that tell the history of American education.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Loving both history and education as I do, I found this piece particularly interesting. Hope you do as well.

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Syria's first Kurdish university attracts controversy as well as students - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Syria's first Kurdish university attracts controversy as well as students - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Syrian Kurds have big plans to expand the first university based in Rojava, which they launched just last year.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I applaud the Kurdish people of Syria for creating a university to educate their your people. Of course, the very nature of such a school will provide impetus for Kurdish independence and opposition to Turkish and Syrian central governments. That is the nature of such ethnically and religiously specific schools, to stress the values and identities of their population. If the governments of Turkey, Syria, and what's left of Iraq don't want that to happen, then they should make it meaningful to have a Kurdish identity in each state. I don't see that happening, so I'll root for this school and its students. I wonder when they'll field their first football (soccer) team. 
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The Two-School Solution

The Two-School Solution | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Two-School Solution « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In Israel a small movement towards sanity, the integration of schools and of cultures. It is very small and mostly for the smallest of children, but still it offers promise. If nothing else, perhaps it will force Israeli lawmakers to provide equal funding for Arab children. Call it segregation or apartheid, it is always wrong. 
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GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards

GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Governors are seizing control of struggling urban schools, prompting bitter resistance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

A paradox, the GOP usually pushes local control as a value, especially when it comes to the federal government. But, here they are dealing with the failure of many large cities to provide good educations. Parents will be outraged and local politicians will scream foul, but there really are questions about local school boards, local financing, and local control. On the other hand, we've seen in places like Flint Michigan what central control can produce. About time we all took a good long look at public education and how to make it work for all our kids.

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His students were struggling, so he 'flipped' his classroom. Then everything changed.

His students were struggling, so he 'flipped' his classroom. Then everything changed. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A school tried a radical experiment, and the result reverses everything we always knew.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The problem with homework is that kids get to practice mistakes not doing something properly. This is a great use of new technologies to make education work.

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Diego Fernández-Bald's curator insight, November 30, 2015 2:00 PM

Uno de los precursores en EEUU cuenta su experiencia.

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How This Reporter Uncovered A Corruption Scandal Everyone Missed

How This Reporter Uncovered A Corruption Scandal Everyone Missed | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Sarah Karp asked other journalists to follow up on her work, but they didn't take her up on it.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Investigative journalism matters. If you like stories about journalism and corruption, you'll enjoy "Times to Try the Soul of Man". 

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I Pledge Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The day before our mothers had brought us to the classroom door. Miss Buckley had greeted us with a smile and questions. “Do you like to color?” Do you like music? Do you—?”



Most of us had nodded, too shy to speak.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Join me on my first day of school and in a discussion of what we were taught about patriotism.

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Irving Police Chief Defends Response to Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock

Irving Police Chief Defends Response to Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The father of Ahmed, 14, said his son would withdraw from MacArthur High School in Texas, where his homemade clock was mistaken for an imitation bomb.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I think the real problem lies with the teacher who said the clock looked like a bomb. She, and she alone, caused the ruckus. The tech teacher was unwise in his advice, which should have been to take the clock to the office or leave it in the tech room. But it is the second teacher's over-reaction that resulted in blowing things up. As for the police, if they weren't told why the boy brought the object to school, they have a serious question with which to deal: why not? Clearly, the youngster was not unwilling to tell them if he had been asked. Nor was the tech teacher had he been asked. Why wasn't that simple question raised? Were this a White kid, would the reaction have been different? I can only guess that it would have been, especially the reaction from that teacher. The problem I have with the police chief is that he can't use hindsight to question how things went to an extreme because he's too busy pushing the rightness of his officers' response. As for the school itself, I have only contempt for their reaction which is totally self-defensive. They still are unable to identify a single rule this kid broke.

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New School Study Shows Black Kids Get Cops, White Kids Get Docs

New School Study Shows Black Kids Get Cops, White Kids Get Docs | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A new study says black students are more likely to get criminalized discipline, while white students receive medical intervention.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This study is consistent with others, for example while teacher reaction to misbehaviors of Blacks and Whites are the same when they are told it is a first offense, their reaction is much more punitive when they are told the misbehavior is a second offense.  Also, the language used by school therapists tends to differ; at least that was my personal experience as a clinician reviewing their reports. A White kid might be described as active, while a Black demonstrating the same qualities might be called disruptive.

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Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Beans and Cod by Kenneth Weene

Fifty Authors from Fifty States: Beans and Cod by Kenneth Weene | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

“You’re going to boarding school,” my father proclaimed. It was December 1954. I was thirteen, in ninth grade and not really ready for this dramatic announcement. I was not, however, completely surprised. My father didn’t like me; that had been amply demonstrated the summer before. I could not forgive his rages and my multiple humiliations. From everything he said, it was obvious he could not remember any of those horrible episodes. Any references to the summer’s events met a look of incomprehension.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

I seldom right non-fiction, but I wanted to offer a different take on my "home state" of Massachusetts. Hope you find it interesting. By the way, if you comment, you may win a free copy of one of my books.

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Teachers to talk about their divorces at primary school level | NewsBiscuit

Teachers to talk about their divorces at primary school level | NewsBiscuit | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Children as young as five will now be given compulsory lectures on their teachers’ domestic hell as Divorce Education is made compulsory in primary schools. The move comes amid fears children are accessing material such as Don’t Tell the Bride and One Born Every Minute, as well as websites depicting couples in healthy loving relationships, and getting a skewed impression of what marriage is really like.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

On a more serious note, how do schools teach children about the changing nature of family life and its alternative forms? When I was a kid, Dick and Jane had two parents, Mommy and Daddy. Everybody loved their dog, Spot; and all of Beaver's friends were white. Dads knew everything and were never abusive or drunk and we all celebrated Christmas. Today, many adults want to keep their children in that same kind of fantasy world, but reality is much richer if more difficult.

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Here's How To Get Kids To Eat 54% More Vegetables

Here's How To Get Kids To Eat 54% More Vegetables | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A simple schedule change can make produce seem way more appealing
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Brilliant. And just another consideration, playing before lunch may get the kids hungrier and in a more up mood, which makes eating their veggies more pleasurable. This is just plain rational thinking.

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Dyslexie: the chubby-ankled font that makes reading easier for dyslexics

Dyslexie: the chubby-ankled font that makes reading easier for dyslexics | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
By weighing down the characters and distorting similar letters, this new typeface pins words firmly to the page
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If this actually makes it easier for dyslexics to read, it will be a wonderful contribution not only to education but to mental health. So often reading has been a devastating roadblock in the development of self-esteem.

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