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Should We Ban Churches From Sponsoring Charter Schools?

A Columbus church has appealed the Ohio Department of Education decision that churches can not sponsor charter schools in the state of Ohio. Some time ago, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal by Brookwood Presbyterian Church.

Brookwood Presbyterian Church runs an educational program for 64 students with autism and other special needs, but as a church, it is disqualified from sponsoring charter schools, the Ohio Department of Education says.

But Brookwood, an East Side church that has housed the Brookwood Community Learning Center since its founding in 2002, says the state’s conclusion amounts to religious discrimination. The church is contesting the state’s decision in the Ohio Supreme Court.

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Different paths lead to a degree

Many students get part-time jobs, take longer than 4 years to finish

Entering Michigan State University as a freshman, Joseph Montes assumed he would complete his degree in four years. Two majors, multiple part-time jobs, and three internships later, the 22-year-old, fifth-year senior from Lake Orion, Mich., isn’t necessarily disappointed that it didn’t turn out that way.

The journalism major picked up a second major in English so he could take special writing classes. He also has worked for the campus newspaper and took a semester off to intern with a daily newspaper. He works 30 hours a week and will graduate without debt.

“You need to think about your school and the pathway you’re going to take,” Montes says. “There are so many different ways to get an education these days.”

Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors are surfing the Web and poring over catalogs to figure out where they’re going to college. But many will base the decision on some traditional assumptions that aren’t necessarily true.

Most 18- and 19-year-olds starting college will take more than four years to graduate and will work at least part-time while in college, and many will earn credit from more than one school. And they shouldn’t count on multiplying their first year’s expenses by four to approximate a final price tag.

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Talking with Inspirational Teacher Andrew Gardner

At the age of 29, Andrew Gardner has already been a first-grade teacher for seven years. With passion and dedication to the field, Gardner has developed a teaching style that is creative and innovative, fostering an enjoyment of learning for his six-year-old students.

Gardner ascribes his motivation to pursue a career in education as part social mission and part family influence. As a major in American Studies, he came to the conclusion that “the promises of America have been overridden by systemic problems and education is a way to help eradicate them.” His mother was a special education teacher involved with research in Fragile X syndrome; his father is a renowned professor at Harvard.

Gardner feels that young children present a unique window of opportunity; that teaching them to read is a “mind-blowing process.”

An internship at Yale presented a starting point for Gardner to watch the greats in action—developmental educators of young children such as Edward Zigler and James Comer—while working 30 hours a week at the Child Study Center.

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Shy People Are Not Born That Way, According To IU Researcher

People are not born shy, according to Bernardo Carducci, a professor of psychology at Indiana University Southeast. In a recent paper, Carducci, director of IU Southeast’s Shyness Research Institute, argues that people are not born shy. Carducci, author of Shyness: A Bold New Approach (Harper Perennial, 2000), said that shyness is characterized by excessive self-consciousness, negative self-evaluation and self-preoccupation. All three characteristics involve a sense of self, which Carducci said does not exist at birth.

‘The question of the origin of the sense of self has been of interest to not only shyness researchers, but also some of the world’s greatest thinkers,’ said Carducci. ‘Charles Darwin proposed as early as the 1870s that a child’s sense of self originates when the child is first able to recognize themselves in a mirror ‘ something that doesn’t occur until the child is approximately 18 months old.’

Carducci said early childhood shyness often is confused with an inhibited temperament ‘ a biological condition characterized by excessive physiological and behavioral reactions to environmental stimuli, present in about 20 percent of newborns.

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A Teacher’s Journey to Understanding War Play

Every year, the children in my preschool classes have engaged in some kind of ‘war play.’ They act out the same scripts and dialogue: bad guys and good guys, a chase, and then it always ended with the good guys ‘killing’ the bad guys with guns, lasers, etc.’weapons they had made from the materials in our classroom.

This year, it became increasingly difficult to engage them in a different, more creative kind of play. After trying many approaches’banning, then policing the play’I finally came upon the solution: to facilitate their play. I was amazed at the results.

I thought that not allowing the play in my classroom would solve my problems, but what I was doing was just avoiding the issue. Banning war play did not stop the children from engaging in it, they just did it in secret. I ended up policing, which was ineffective and did not help to move the children’s play beyond these same scripts day after day.

I finally gave in to their role-play, hoping that after a while, they would meet their needs and move on. But I noticed that they never changed their scripts. There was nothing creative about the children’s play, no problem solving or scaffolding, especially when they brought in toys from the shows they were watching on TV. These toys promoted play that was scripted.

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Make Summertime a Learning Time

Educators often bemoan the loss of learning in their students over the two-month summer break in the school year. Indeed, children do forget some facts and learning strategies and may take a few weeks in the fall to bounce back into classroom routines. One way to keep kids in a learning mode during the summer break is to give play center stage, something that should be an intimate part of school life in the early years.

For parents planning for summer, I suggest structured activities such as art workshops and camps. These provide for adventurous learning with more opportunities for self-expression and recreational skill development than the school year usually can offer. But unstructured time’allowing for the natural flow from boredom to activities invented by children themselves or suggested by parents’provide special learning opportunities. Keeping materials, such as safe scissors, glue, washable paints and markers and paper, accessible allows for these sorts of spontaneous projects.

One colleague, a child psychologist, suggests providing children with a section of the family garden or a few pots on a patio or windowsill. If space permits, raising cherry tomatoes, which ripen fast and are small enough to be plucked and served by the child, is a particularly apt choice. Talk with them about the process of growing things and read them books with garden themes. These activities can enrich a child’s sensitivity to the pleasure of the outdoors as they learn.

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