by ADAM WITHNALL
Newly-hatched chickens are capable of skills that it can take human babies months or even years to master, new research has revealed.
Fields of intelligence ranging from structural engineering to self-control appear to come more naturally to chicks than toddlers, and professor of animal welfare Christine Nichol said we should no longer think of chickens as stupid.
[...] Chickens also reportedly have an instinctive ability to recognise structurally sound objects, favouring these over ones which seem dubious or inconsistent.
And they show awareness of objects which fall out of sight, keeping track of them in a way that is alien to babies up to the age of about one.
Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret ~ Common Dreams
by Bill Bigelow
[...] Like today’s whistle-blowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg knew the consequences for his act of defiance. Ultimately, he was indicted on 11 counts of theft and violation of the Espionage Act. If convicted on all counts, the penalty added up to 130 years in prison. This story is chronicled dramatically in the film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, and in Ellsberg’s own gripping autobiography, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed— especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam—appear in the school curriculum.
Corporate textbook writers seem to work from the same list of must-include events and individuals. Thus, all the new U.S. history textbooks on my shelf mention the Pentagon Papers. But none grapples with the actual import of the Pentagon Papers. None quotes Ellsberg or the historical documents themselves, and none captures Ellsberg’s central conclusion about the United States in Vietnam: “It wasn’t that we were on the wrong side; wewere the wrong side.”
Textbooks resist telling students that the U.S. government consistently lied about the war, preferring more genteel language. Prentice Hall’s America: History of Our Nation includes only one line describing the content of the Pentagon Papers: “They traced the steps by which the United States had committed itself to the Vietnam War and showed that government officials had concealed actions and often misled Americans about their motives.” The textbook offers no examples.
Teaching students a deeper, more complete history of the American War—as it is known in Vietnam—is not just a matter of accuracy, it’s about life and death.
by Hannah Richardson
A group of Warwick students are occupying university buildings in protest at a £42,000 pay rise for its vice-chancellor.
Calling themselves Protect the Public University, the students have been planning the occupation which began on Friday, for about a month.
They want to highlight how higher fees are leaving students with debts of about the size of the pay rise.
Warwick said it would take all steps necessary to deal with the issue.
A spokesman for the protesters said: “The council chamber is the symbolic heart of university decision-making and we are taking the platform of our own university to begin a dialogue about the threat to public higher education.
by Cherri Gregg
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled this week that authorities can seek custody of a child, even where there’s no evidence of abuse or neglect.
The case involved a divorced Camden County mother of 9-year-old twin girls. In 2007, she asked New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency for help, claiming she was unable to care for the girls who had psychological and developmental disabilities and needed to be placed in residential care.
“You can turn to the Division for help, but it may come with a cost,” says Diana Autin, executive director of Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey. The group filed an amicus brief in the case.
Autin says under the court’s ruling, the state can get custody of a child with behavior problems if it proves that the parent can’t provide the type of services the child needs and the services are in the child’s best interest. She says the division can get custody without using the state’s abuse and neglect law.
by Dara Kerr
The search giant is creating a database of images depicting child exploitation — to be shared with tech companies, law enforcement, and charities — in order to scrub the images from the Internet.
Photos and videos of child pornography on the Web have multiplied at an alarming rate over the past few years. In 2011, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it received 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child abuse, which is four times more than 2007.
Google has announced that it wants to help curb this proliferation of child pornography. In fact, the Web giant plans to take it even a step further — it wants to completely eradicate child porn from the Internet.
by Connor Adams Sheets
International Business Times
The Belgian Federal Parliament is reportedly about to expand its controversial “right to die” policies to include access to euthanasia for some gravely ill children.
A consensus among members of the legislative body has reportedly formed in support of legislation to allow children to choose to undergo euthanasia in certain dire cases, according to a report in the Belgian daily newspaper Der Morgen, as translated by the Paris-based news agency Presseurop.
If child euthanasia is legalized in Belgium, the country would become the first in the developed world to have a law on the books allowing the practice, although the Netherlands has since 2005 not prosecuted doctors who perform euthanasia on some minors as long as the doctors act in accordance with a set of medical guidelines dubbed the Groningen Protocol.
Belgium became the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalize euthanasia in 2002, but the statute currently extends only to people 18 or older.
by Aditya Chakrabortty
A confidential report commissioned by the government has proposed redrawing the terms of student loans taken out over the past 15 years, that would make them more expensive to pay back for 3.6 million borrowers in England alone.
The proposal to increase the interest rates on the £40bn worth of loans is the most controversial of a series of options contained in a Whitehall-commissioned study examining how the coalition could privatise the entire stock of student loans issued since 1998.
Increasing the amount that students would be forced to pay back would make the loans more attractive to buyers.
The document, prepared by Rothschild investment bank, was submitted to the business department in November 2011, but is understood to still be under active review. It has never been made public, or been seen by higher education professionals.
Osborne’s shock demand to slash £1BILLION from schools budget despite promise to protect pupils from cuts ~ Daily Mail
by SIMON WALTERS
The Daily Mail
George Osborne’s pledge to protect pupils from spending cuts was under threat last night after it emerged that he is demanding £1 billion is sliced off the schools budget.
The prospect of a shock cut is the result of a bitter Coalition feud in the run-up to Mr Osborne’s spending review later this month.
Treasury insiders blame Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for the squeeze on school spending because he refused to agree to take the axe to the welfare budget.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that the Coalition’s ruling ‘Quad’ – David Cameron, Mr Osborne, Mr Clegg and his fellow Lib Dem, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander – are pressing for the £1billion school savings.
But the move has met strong opposition from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Chicago Closes 50 Public Schools, Spends $100 Million in Taxpayer Funds on Private College Stadium ~ The Real News
by Stuart Walton
‘ABOUT ten years ago, a bit bored with my attempts to change the world, I decided to write a dystopian science fiction novel.
The conceit of this never-to-be-written book was the complete collapse of privacy illustrated by the “supporters” that everyone was given when they had a child. In this futuristic hell, as soon as a woman gave birth, a support worker would come and live in her house, both to help the parents with the difficult child and to protect the child from the potentially abusive parents.
There was no longer an expectation, or even an understanding of privacy, intimacy, trust, or even a relationship with and between parent and child. Rather, relationships were mediated through your own personal support worker.
Unfortunately, this dystopian future has arrived a little faster than I imagined, as last week the Scottish Government’s plan to give every child a state guardian from birth was launched. This state-appointed overseer will be a specific, named individual, and every child will have one, from birth. The responsibility for creating this named guardian will fall on the heads of the health boards for the first five years of a child’s life, before being transferred to councils. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this development is that it clearly comes in large part as a mechanism to target and prevent child abuse.
Concerns about this new statutory initiative built into the Children and Young People Bill have been raised by some MSPs, but largely on technical grounds: Can the state afford to have a “supporter” for every child? How will the child get to know this person and how will they develop a trusting relationship with them?
Children’s minister Aileen Campbell has said the approach would be useful in that a specific individual will have the responsibility of overseeing the wellbeing of specific children. As she put it, this will “make sure there is someone having an overview of what is happening to that child, to make sure that early indicators of anything that would pose a threat or risk to that child are flagged up”.
Part of the plan is that professionals increasingly share information with one another so as to nip problems in the bud. Like the “every child matters” approach in England and Wales, “safeguarding” children is now the priority of anyone working with children, be that a teacher, a dentist, a youth worker, a swimming instructor and so on. And at one level this sounds OK – anything that stops child abuse…
On the other hand, it can be seen as having little to do with the problem of abused kids and more to do with our culture of suspicion. It is not the case that families are more abusive today. What has changed is that our faith in one another, and our belief in the importance of privacy, has diminished. We have also lost a coherent sense of public duty and subsequently “child safety” has become a new, off-the-shelf, framework that attempts to offer coherence to people running public services and professional bodies.’
- Children and Young People Bill (Scottish Government)
- SNP bill to spy on parents is criticised by families (Daily Express)
- State snoops checking out new parents (Daily Express)
- Getting It Right For Every Child (Scottish Government)
- UKIP couple have foster children removed from care (BBC News)
- Ceausescu regime used children as police spies (the Guardian)
‘Parents in Polk County, Florida are outraged after learning that students in area schools had their irises scanned as part of a new security program without obtaining proper permission.
Students at three facilities — an elementary school, a grade school and a high school — had their eyeballs scanned earlier this month as part of a ‘student safety’ pilot program being carried out by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions.’
‘The reason we struggle to recall memories from our early childhood is down to high levels of neuron production during the first years of life, say Canadian researchers.
The formation of new brain cells increases the capacity for learning but also clears the mind of old memories.
The findings were presented to the Canadian Association of Neuroscience.
An expert at City University in London said the mouse study called into question some psychological theories.’
by Jenn Savedge
Mother Nature Network
‘A new study has found a link between kids’ exposure to traffic and their future risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral disorders.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center used data on traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) collected as part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term epidemiological study examining the effects of traffic particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.
Researchers looked at the medical data of children born in the city between 2001 and 2003 who were chosen based on family history and whether they lived near to or far from a major highway or bus route. They followed the kids from birth to age 7.’
by Susan Sarkauskas
‘A Batavia High School teacher’s fans are rallying to support him as he faces possible discipline for advising students of their Constitutional rights before taking a school survey on their behavior.
They’ve been collecting signatures on an online petition, passing the word on Facebook, sending letters to the school board, and planning to speak at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Students and parents have praised his ability to interest reluctant students in history and current affairs.
But John Dryden said he’s not the point. He wants people to focus on the issue he raised: Whether school officials considered that students could incriminate themselves with their answers to the survey that included questions about drug and alcohol use.
Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student’s name printed on it.’
by Igor Volsky
‘The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is challenging an Ohio school district for considering a “controversial issues policy” that would require teachers to encourage discussions about creationism and conservative conspiracy theories about U.N. Agenda 21.
Springboro Community City School District’s new curriculum — part of an effort to help students think critically and learn to “identify important issues” — mandates that “[a]ll sides of the issue should be given to the students in a dispassionate manner” to help “students to be taught to think clearly on all matters of importance, and to make decisions in the light of all the material that has been presented or can be researched on the issues.”’
Newborn baby rescued from a four-inch wide drainpipe in China after being ‘flushed down toilet’ ~ Independent
by JOHN HALL
‘A newborn baby has been rescued from a four-inch wide drainpipe after apparently being flushed down the toilet.
The incident took place in China’s Zhejiang province on Saturday, with firefighters called to the scene after residents of an apartment complex heard the baby’s cries coming from inside the building’s plumbing system.
With the pipe just 10cm in diameter, rescuers were unable to remove the baby at the scene, so ended up sawing through the sewage system to remove a section and take it to hospital.
The baby boy, thought to be just a few days old, is now said to be in a stable condition after doctors used pliers to carefully break apart the tube containing him. He has been named Baby No 59 after the number of hospital incubator he is recovering in, according to the Associated Press.
[...] China has strict rules on family planning, with a one-child policy in place since 1982 in an effort to combat the country’s skyrocketing population.
Although there are a number of exceptions in place, many families face large fines for breaking the family-planning rules. This has led to a huge number of babies being abandoned every year – with girls by far the majority of the victims – leading to numerous deaths occurring as a result.’
Remove children from criminal families at birth to save them from crime, says top judge ~ Daily Mail
by GERRI PEEV
The Daily Mail
‘Babies born to prostitutes, drug addicts and other criminals should be adopted at birth to prevent them following their parents into jail, a leading judge has said.
Alan Goldsack QC, the Recorder of Sheffield, said it was the state’s duty to intervene to stop the ‘next generation of criminals’.
He said it was ‘frightening’ how many of the criminals he was sentencing today were the grandchildren of those he had dealt with 40 years ago.’
“The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died.
Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty five protesters have been killed by the Army.
You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.”
Cops Go Undercover at High School to Bust Special-Needs Kid for Pot: Why Are Police So Desperate to Throw Kids in Jail? ~ Alternet
by Kristen Gwynne
‘Californians Doug and Catherine Snodgrass are suing their son’s high school for allowing undercover police officers to set up the 17-year-old special-needs student for a drug arrest.
In a video segment on ABC News, they say they were “thrilled” when their son — who has Asperger’s and other disabilities and struggled to make friends — appeared to have instantly made a friend named Daniel.
“He suddenly had this friend who was texting him around the clock,” Doug Snodgrass told ABC News. His son had just recently enrolled at Chaparral High School.
“Daniel,” however, was an undercover cop with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department who “ hounded” the teenager to sell him his prescription medication. When he refused, the undercover cop gave him $20 to buy him weed, and he complied — not realizing the guy he wanted to befriend wanted him behind bars.’
Cleared of Charges of Setting Off a School Explosion, Florida Honor Student Heads to Space Camp ~ ABC
by DANIEL CLARK
‘Kiera Wilmot is going to space camp.
In late April, the 16-year-old central Florida honor student was accused of igniting a chemical explosion on school grounds, leading to her arrest and suspension from school, but authorities dropped criminal charges last week.
The nightmarish ordeal was shocking for her single mother, Marie Wilmot, who always encouraged Kiera and her twin sister, Kayla, to follow their passions.
“The initial phone call was terrifying,” Marie told ABC News. “Time will help I hope, it was devastating for me as a mother.”
While school officials debate whether Kiera will return to Bartow High School, the Wilmot family received an unexpected surprise.
The explosion struck a chord with 18-year NASA veteran Homer Hickam, a former lead astronaut training manager for Spacelab, and later for the International Space Station.’
‘Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder, and this number has been rising for more than a decade.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of American children are suffering from mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and autism.
The CDC’s first study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17 also found that the cost of medical bills for treatment of such disorders is up to $247 billion each year.
[...] The CDC data was collected between 1994 and 2011, and it shows that the number of children being diagnosed with mental disorders has been steadily growing. The study did not conclude exactly why the numbers are increasing.’
‘Headteachers have passed a vote of no confidence in the government’s education policies, declaring that Michael Gove‘s policies are not in the best interests of children.
Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference in Birmingham raised concerns about the new national curriculum, major test and exam reforms and schools being forced into becoming academies.
Tim Gallagher, proposing the motion, said: “Enough is enough. This motion’s intention is to send the strongest message possible to this government that many of their education policies are failing our children, their parents and the very fabric of our school communities.”
The NAHT is the first headteachers’ union to pass a vote of no confidence in the government’s education reforms.
The UK’s three biggest teachers’ unions, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT passed similar votes at their Easter conferences. The NUT and the NASUWT are planning regional strikes in the north-west next month in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload, with the prospect of a national strike later this year.’
‘[...] What happened to Wesley is not an isolated incident. It is another recent example of school administrators removing students from the classroom because of harmless student expression. Last month, high school junior Kyron Birdine found himself suspended for four days for using Twitter to mock a mandatory-but-ungraded standardized test. Two weeks ago, a science experiment that produced smoke—but no harm or injury of any kind—nevertheless resulted in the expulsion and arrest of model high school student Kiera Wilmot, who is now facing felony charges. All of these students are black, which is unfortunately not a surprise. Zero-tolerance suspension policies are inflicted on students of color at a rate vastly disproportionate to their numbers.
Overwhelming evidence shows that this breed of zero tolerance policies has failed. Worse than failed; Backfired. In addition to raising serious First Amendment concerns, the rush to suspend or arrest students like Wesley, Kyron and Kiera for minor classroom infractions produces devastating consequences for the students involved and often serves as the first step on the school-to-prison pipeline.’
‘Summer break has started very early for kids in one Michigan school district.
Buena Vista schools have been closed for five days already, and on Monday, the district’s website stated that the school would be closed until further notice. For good reason, this decision has parents, and the community, up in arms.
The problem in Buena Vista is that the school district, educating approximately 450 kids, is out of money. All the teachers have been laid off and a financial emergency has been declared. The district has suffered from declining enrollment, which, in turn, has led to a loss of $3 million in state funding since 2010.’
College Execs have Private Jets? New Report Finds Public University Presidents Live Large ~ Alternet
by Alyssa Figueroa
‘A new report released by The Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday revealed that public university presidents in the U.S. are doing quite well financially.
[...] Meanwhile, for students, life is quite far from lavish. The median student loan debt in the U.S. is $13,600, with the average being $24,301. In total, the amount of student loan debt owed in the U.S. is $1 trillion. Funding for public universities has been cut by about 28 percent since 2008, while the cost of attending one has more than doubled since 1988. Come July 1, the interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford loans are set to double — from 3.4 to 6.8 percent — if Congress doesn’t take action.”’
Abby Martin talks to Cynthia Copeland, educator and parent, about the growing resistance against standardized testing, highlighting examples of boycotts and walk-outs of statewide standardized tests.
‘A wee reminder that your political class doesn’t give a shit about you’ ~ Frankie Boyle
‘Over the past two decades the anti-vaccination movement has gained a growing following in NSW, Australia’s most populous state. It may have met its match.
After fighting to retain its ability to raise funds and disseminate information about “vaccine choices” through a series of legal battles, the Australian Vaccination Network and the wider anti-vax movement has become a target for the country’s largest selling newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, and its sister-paper The Daily Telegraph.
The campaign has been prompted by falling vaccination coverage rates, including in some of the most affluent parts of Sydney.’