Another five-star review for Chain Gang Elementary


This one is in the Midwest Book Review  (The reviewer gives it five stars on


Shirley’s Bookshelf

Chain Gang Elementary
Jonathan Grant
Thornbriar Press

I would have to say that most of us have experienced our fair share of upsetting happenings in our schools. I myself have had my days of battling bad teacher, bad students and bad administration. I have also seen great teachers thrown to the wind when they should have been given the highest rewards possible. Our hero, Richard Gray, seems to have a lot going on in his life that is spinning him around in his own world. His relationship with his wife is a story all its own. Now add to that being thrust into the world of the local school and all its pros and cons and you pretty much have his story. I really have to say I could relate to a lot that was going on in this read and I did chuckle some to be sure. I also cringed as I related to some happening that brought back my own bad memories.

Author Jonathan Grant, pretty much tells it like it is, if you will, in this read concerning what lurks in dark corners. He shines light in areas that grow in darkness and pulls it all together in a story telling way. Interesting read, well done.

Is the principal a bully? Chain Gang story of the day

From WSB-TV News:

ATLANTA —A group of teachers at a metro Atlanta school want their principal removed before the start of the school year because of bullying.

Current and former teachers at Canby Lane Elementary School in Decatur say their principal, Anita Stokes-Brown, uses intimidation tactics and created a hostile work environment that affects their ability to teach.

“Anytime a person feels intimidated and feels threatened in any kind of way, they’re being bullied, and that’s what we feel,” first-grade teacher Marva Cason said.

Cason told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri that she and other teachers crafted a petition asking the district to remove Stokes-Brown.

The letter claims, “Stokes-Brown has treated us with great disrespect, demoralized and criticized us.”

Cason said Stokes-Brown’s treatment of teachers has left them stressed.

“Talking to us in a demeaning manner, just treating us like we’re inhuman. Some of the teachers I’ve seen cry,” she said.

Read more.

Texas tackles teaching, take two

Here’s a little more “T” from Texas.  Do away with schoolin’ that might make a child question authority, keep undocumented children out of college, and limit diversity.  Like I said yesterday, Hee-Yaw!

From Inside Higher Ed:

The 2012 platform of the Texas Republican Party contains a number of provisions raising eyebrows among Texas academics. For instance, the platform says, “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning), which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” With regard to college tuition, the platform wants to end the policy (endorsed by Governor Rick Perry in the Republican primaries) of granting in-state tuition rates to some students who lack the legal documentation to live in the United States. And the platform wants “merit-based” admissions for all public colleges, and seeks to eliminate the “10 percent” plan — which admits students from the top 10 percent of high school classes and which has helped to diversify Texas colleges.

Read more.

DeKalb County School Board OKs 400-plus layoffs

The DeKalb County School Board approved the layoffs as part of their attempt to dig its way out of the financial hole the system finds itself in.  Along with asuterity measures, the board also voted to raise taxes one mill, bringing it close to the legal limit of its taxing authority.

Unfortunately, property values in DeKalb are dropping, so despite the increase, the system will collect $30 million less annually than before.



Texas politicians tackle education

Like in football: They drive it into the ground and stop its progress.

Check this out, from the Huffington Post:

Early this month, Texas Republican delegates met in Fort Worth to approve their 2012 platform, notable parts of which take aim at the state’s education system.

In the section titled “Educating Our Children,” the document states that “corporal punishment is effective” and recommends teachers be given “more authority” to deal with disciplinary problems.

Additionally, the document states the party opposes mandatory pre-school and kindergarten, saying parents are “best suited to train their children in their early development.”

The position causing the most controversy, however, is the statement that they oppose the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” — a curriculum which strives to encourage critical thinking — arguing that it might challenge “student’s fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.”

The party also notes its encouragement of legislation that prevents “non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States” from enrolling in public schools, a stance that federal officials have previously deemed against the law.

Read more.

Lawmaker believes kindergarten breeds crime

I can see the movie now: “Kindergarten Crook.”

This morsel of wisdom came during a Belknap County, New Hampshire meetung called to discuss plans for a new jail.

From the Laconia Daily Sun:
…Representative Bob Kingsbury said he’s been working on a theory since 1996, when he analyzed local crime rates and compared them to a list of communities that offered public kindergarten. Then, he told his colleagues, Laconia offered kindergarten and had the highest rates of crime. Meanwhile, surrounding towns, some of which didn’t offer kindergarten, had less crime.

“We’re taking children away from their mothers too soon,” Kingsbury concluded.

Kingsbury wrote to all of his then state representatives, informing them of his research. To his dismay, the state Legislature has since joined the remaining 49 states in mandating public kindergarten. “And we have more crime today,” he said.

In addition to kindergarten, Kingsbury also linked the rise of crime to the decline of gun ownership and to fact that boxing is no longer taught in school or offered as a sport.

Read more.