Bake sales aren’t what they used to be


From the Wall Street Journal:

At Chapman School in Nebraska, resourceful students hawk pizza and cookie dough to raise money for school supplies, field trips and an eighth-grade excursion to Washington. They peddle chocolate bars to help fund the yearbook.

But the sales won’t be so sweet starting this fall. Campus bake sales—a mainstay of school fundraisers—are going on a diet. A federal law that aims to curb childhood obesity means that, in dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars.

Read more.

Missing treasurer charged in PTA theft

From the Beacon-News:

Police are seeking a former PTA treasurer accused of taking $4,000 from an account for an elementary school near Montgomery (near Chicago).

Meredith Henry, 36, was charged March 13 with felony theft, the Kendall County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Authorities first learned of the theft last September, and ultimately found more than $4,000 went missing in July 2013 from a Parent Teacher Association account for Boulder Hill Elementary, police said.

Henry, of Plainfield, was serving as PTA treasurer during the time of the alleged theft, police claim. Bond was set at $7,500.

She has not been taken into custody, and anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 630-553-5999. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a $1,000 reward.

The 2014 NCAA SAT seedings are in!

3d chain_gang

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The House of Cards for schools

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NCAA BasketballFor the third year in a row, I answer the question on everyone’s mind: What if the NCAA men’s tournament teams had to submit their school’s freshman SAT scores (not just those of basketball players) to get their seeding?

With some help from The College Board and common data sets, I figured it out. Of course, Harvard would be the No. 1 seed overall (again? bor–ing) followed by Stanford and Duke. From then on, it gets a little congested. Below is a ranking of the overall 68-team tournament field based on standardized test scores.

The methodology here is very simple and not especially refined. I use the midpoints of a school’s 25-75 percentile Math and Verbal scores and add them (since not all schools report writing scores). For those (Midwestern) schools that rely more heavily on the ACT, I converted ACT to SAT scores. So many students are talking the ACT, I may switch to ACT scores next year. Just saying.

Inside Higher Ed has set up its own brackets based on academic progress statistics for NCAA tournament teams: Memphis, Texas, BYU, and Kansas (for the second year in a row) make the Final Four, and Kansas wins. Check it out.

By the way, standardized tests rule in my novel, Chain Gang Elementary–specifically, the unfortunately named Standard Hightower Intellachievement Test, which creates a scandal the likes you probably haven’t seen in your school district yet.


2013 NCAA Tourney SAT Rank/Scores

1. Harvard 1505
2. Stanford 1475
3. Duke 1455
4. Michigan 1380
5. Virginia 1355
6. (tie) North Carolina 1305
6. (tie) UCLA 1305
6. (tie) Villanova 1305
9. (tie)  Wisconsin 1300
9. (tie) BYU 1300
9. (tie) Ohio St. 1300
12. George Washington 1290
13. Tulsa 1280
14. Pittsburgh 1270
15. Florida 1265
16. Texas 1261
17. American University 1255
18. (tie) Creighton 1250
18. (tie) Saint Louis 1250
20. N.C. State 1242
21. Wofford 1235
22. Connecticut 1230
23. (tie) Baylor 1225
23. (tie) Cal Poly 1225
25, Tennessee 1220
26. University of Massachusetts 1210
27. Delaware 1205
28. Gonzaga 1201
29. (tie) Colorado 1190
29. (tie) Dayton  1190
29. (tie) Michigan State 1190
29. (tie) Oklahoma 1190
33. Mercer 1175
34. Cincinnati 1170
35. (tie) Providence 1155
35. (tie) Syracuse 1155
37. (tie) Iowa 1150
37. (tie) Iowa State 1150
37. (tie) Kansas 1150
37. (tie) Nebraska 1150
41. (tie) Oklahoma St. 1130
41. (tie) Xavier 1130
43. (tie) Kentucky 1115
43. (tie) Oregon 1115
45. (tie) Arizona 1110
45. (tie) Arizona State 1110
45. (tie) Kansas State 1110
45. (tie) Louisville 1110
45. (tie)Saint Josephp’s 1110
50. (tie) Albany 1100
50. (tie) San Diego State 1100
50. (tie) Virginia Commonwealth 1100
53. Mount St. Mary’s 10855
54. Manhattan 1080
55. University of La.-Lafayette 1070
56. (tie) Memphis 1070
56. (tie) Wichita State 1070
58. North Dakota State 1050
59. (tie) New Mexico 1030
59. (tie) U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1030
59. (tie) Western Michigan 1030
62. (tie) Eastern Kentucky. 1020
62. (tie) New Mexico State 1020
64. Coastal Carolina 1000
65. Stephen F Austin 990
66. Weber State 990
67. North Carolina Central   860
68. Texas Southern   825

The HOUSE OF CARDS for schools

Nerd at desk


The HOUSE OF CARDS for schools

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“Acerbic wit” — Publishers Weekly
“Offensive on so many levels.” — Angry Mom

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After a murder at Bonaire Elementary, Richard and Anna Lee Gray seek a good school for their son Nick in a safe neighborhood. Their search leads them to Malliford, a “school of excellence.” When redistricting sends scores of minority students to Malliford, iron-willed Principal Estelle Rutherford declares war on kids to raise test scores and save her reputation. Dissident parents revolt, electing Richard to head the Parent-Teacher Organization, and tensions explode. Welcome to Chain Gang Elementary, home to vast right-wing conspiracies, 3rd-grade gangsters, and bake sale embezzlers–where toxic childhood secrets boil over, reformers go stark raving mad, and culture wars escalate into armed conflict.

Thornbriar Press