A pupil points a finger. A teacher is fired, his life rerouted. Now can they be buddies? – Washington Post

The Political Agitator response: This is an awesome story!

The friend request popped onto Josh Kaplowitz’s Facebook page one afternoon. He was at his office at a top-shelf D.C. law firm, but the name on the screen transported him to a very different place, a decade earlier, to a time of humiliation and failure.

Just seeing Raynard Ware’s name that January day in 2012 spiked the young lawyer’s heart rate. His first thought: “You ruined my life.” It had been only in the past few years that Kaplowitz had been able to live without The Incident looming over him — the assault allegation, the arrest, 33 hours in a detention cell, trial, acquittal, a $20 million lawsuit against him, the impossibility of knowing if he would ever really recover. (Source: Read more)

Texas Bill Would Let Teachers Shoot And Kill Kids To Protect School Property – PoliticusUsa

The Political Agitator response: Do they really want to go there?

A bill introduced into the Texas House this week would permit teachers to use deadly force against students to protect themselves or others. The law would also allow teachers to use deadly force to defend school property. The measure, euphemistically called “The Teacher’s Protection Act,” was introduced by Republican Representative Dan Flynn. Flynn represents a mostly rural East Texas District that includes Hunt, Hopkins and Van Zandt counties. On his home page, he boasts about the conservative nature of his District as follows: (Source: Read more)

Joe Frazier, Ex-Heavyweight Champ, Dies at 67 – New York Times

Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion whose furious and intensely personal fights with a taunting Muhammad Ali endure as an epic rivalry in boxing history, died Monday night at his home in Philadelphia. He was 67.

His business representative, Leslie Wolff, said the cause was liver cancer. An announcement over the weekend that Frazier had received the diagnosis in late September and had been moved to hospice care early this month prompted an outpouring of tributes and messages of support.

Known as Smokin’ Joe, Frazier stalked his opponents around the ring with a crouching, relentless attack — his head low and bobbing, his broad, powerful shoulders hunched — as he bore down on them with an onslaught of withering jabs and crushing body blows, setting them up for his devastating left hook. (Source: Read more)

Wendell Scott: Legend, trailblazer, NASCAR Hall of Famer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 19, 2015) — During a 13-year premier series career, Wendell Scott likely never considered he was making NASCAR history. The Virginian’s sole concern was getting to the next race on a miniscule budget.

Scott wasn’t the only driver to struggle financially. The odds of making a good living racing stock cars were long in the 1960s and early 1970s when purses were small, large sponsors unheard of and manufacturer support came and went with the turning of the calendar’s pages.

But Scott faced a challenge not shared by his fellow competitors: that of an African-American battling to succeed in a still-segregated society.

Measured against that backdrop, Scott succeeded admirably. He became the first — and to date, only — black driver to win a premier series race, at Jacksonville, Florida, in 1963. He made 495 starts to rank 37th on the series’ all-time list, posting 147 top-10 finishes, more than 25 percent of the races he entered. Scott finished four times among the top 10 in driver championship standings including a sixth in 1966.

While most of Scott’s success came on shorter tracks, he logged superspeedway top 10s at Atlanta, Charlotte, Daytona Beach, Dover and Darlington. He twice finished seventh in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Dixie 400 — in 1966 finishing ahead of NASCAR Hall of Famers Buck Baker, Bobby Allison and fellow 2015 inductee Rex White. Scott also finished seventh in a Daytona 500 qualifying race — which at the time carried premier series championship points. (Source: Read more)

NORTH EAST PREP WORKS TO BOOST PERFORMANCE – by John Carson Tarboro Weekly

The Political Agitator response: I am still trying to figure out why everyone in the school didn’t know about the academic woes because how can you work towards improvement if you don’t know about the problem? So did the outgoing Executive Director want the school to fail or should you say that was out he showed how much he loved the school? So why did they need to hire Diane LeFiles since Taro Knight was already there?

TARBORO – North East Carolina Preparatory School is making changes in the wake of a state warning that the school is in danger of receiving a “designation of inadequate performance” for not meeting mandated state standards for student proficiency or academic growth.

A vast majority of North East Prep personnel – from the board of directors to teachers – were unaware of the academic woes until new Executive Director Miles Brite brought them to the board’s attention in December.

The result has been a scramble to implement programs and put mechanisms in place to ensure the school shows academic growth for this school year to meet state mandates and avoid potential sanctions. (Source: Read more)

This Map Reveals Just How Unequal The So-Called Recovery Is – The HuffPost

In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama cheered rising wages. What he didn’t mention is that much of the income gained since the recession has gone into the pockets of the richest Americans.

In 39 U.S. states, the top 1 percent of earners gobbled up at least half of all of the income gains between 2009 and 2012. And in 17 of those states, the top earners got every bit of the income growth in those years. That’s according to a new paper released Monday by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank focused on labor issues.

In all states, the rebound in income in the three years after the recession pretty much all went to the richest of the rich, the EPI found.

“Over this period, the average income of the bottom 99 percent in the United States actually fell (by 0.4 percent),” the paper states. “In contrast, the average income of the top 1 percent climbed 36.8 percent.” (Source: Read more)

Why The Test Debate Is About Politics, Not Education – Education Opportunity Network

Here’s how ridiculous the nation’s obsession with standardized testing has gotten: Last week Education Week reporter Catherine Gewertz came across a news item about a school in Florida that “forbid the flushing of toilets during testing … to cut down on the distraction.” (emphasis original)

As she quoted from her news source, the school administrators feared, “The whooshing water sounds from classroom bathrooms … might disturb test-taking classmates and send their focus, and their scores, spiraling down the drain.”

Before you dismiss that as just one “over the top” anecdote, consider that the big new assessment fad sweeping the nation is to demand testing of our youngest students, the earlier the better. In Maryland, for instance, as a different article in Education Week reported, a “kindergarten readiness assessment” to see if little kids are “ready” for kindergarten has teachers worried. The exam on “language, literacy, math, science, social studies, and physical well-being” took the students “at least one hour, and sometimes more than double that.” This is not unusual, as the reporter explained, because “at least 25 states mandate a kindergarten readiness assessment and this is likely to rise.” (Source: Read more)