Tutorservice Daily News for May 12th through May 13th:
- New Jersey Standardized Tests Will No Longer Ask 3rd-Graders To Reveal A Secret –
TRENTON, N.J. — State education officials will no longer use a standardized test question that asked third-graders to reveal a secret and write about why it was difficult to keep.
The question appeared on the writing portion of some versions of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge given to third-graders this past week. And it drew criticism from some parents, who thought it was inappropriate.
- U.S. Ambassador To Afghanistan Tries To Keep Upbeat Outlook After Assassination Of Peace Official –
KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan tried to preserve an upbeat perspective on peace talks in an interview on Sunday, a day that began with the assassination of a key Taliban interlocutor in the peace process.
Arsala Rahmani, a former deputy education minister under the Taliban, was shot early in the morning by an unknown assailant while in his car on the way to work.
Police officials told Reuters that Rahmani, who traveled without a bodyguard, had been stuck in traffic when a car pulled up beside him and someone opened fire before driving away.
- Mariela Castro, Daughter Of Cuban President Raul Castro, Says Father Supports Gay Rights –
HAVANA — The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro said during a rousing gay rights march Saturday that her father advocated eliminating sexual discrimination, and reiterated her own hope the country would soon legalize same sex marriage
Mariela Castro, a noted gay rights advocate and head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, also repeated her praise for U.S. President Barack Obama's public remarks in favor of same sex marriage, saying the American leader's words "have great value because of the influence they might have" on others.
- Innovative Educational Program ‘Hi Art!’ Immerses Little Kids In High Art (PHOTOS) –
"Hi Art!" is a program that exposes kids to opera and other of high art starting at toddlerdom. A bold mission, it's true, but a hugely successful one thus far. In its 15 years of running the program has become one of the most talked-about in New York. Most educational programs, even those with solid art programs, portray art as a reprieve from homework and arithmetic. Frivolous and fun, art is a way to decorate the realities of learning, growing up and living. But not this program.
This program puts art first. Cyndie Bellen-Berthézène, "Hi Art!"s founder and director, expressed: "Great art transmits something that is essentially human." Doesn't just color our lives, it has the power to be at the core of how we live. Although when I think of opera I tend to think of a stodgy, elderly woman with teeny binoculars and white gloves, at its core opera is pure human expression. The words, the costumes, the sets, all take the back seat to an indescribable momentum and feeling. What is more accessible than that?
- Bill Haslam, Tennessee Governor, Signs Controversial Sex Education Bill –
(Updates with details)
* Targets "gateway sexual activities" like touching genitals
* Critics fear limitations will hamper safe sex education
* Tennessee's sex ed law fodder for comedians
By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tenn, May 11 (Reuters) – Tennessee teachers can no longer condone so-called "gateway sexual activity" such as touching genitals under a new law that critics say is too vague and could hamper discussion about safe sexual behavior.
Governor Bill Haslam's office Friday confirmed that he had signed the bill, which stirred up controversy nationwide and even was lampooned by comedian Stephen Colbert.
"Kissing and hugging are the last stop before reaching Groin Central Station, so it's important to ban all the things that lead to the things that lead to sex," he said on the "Colbert Report" television show.
But proponents say the new law helps define the existing abstinence-only sex-education policy.
Under the law, Tennessee teachers could be disciplined and speakers from outside groups like Planned Parenthood could face fines of up to $500 for promoting or condoning "gateway sexual activities."
David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, which pushed the bill, said it does not ban kissing or holding hands from discussion in sex ed classes. But he said it addresses the touching of certain "gateway body parts," including genitals, buttocks, breasts and the inner thigh.
It is unclear from the bill's wording whether Tennessee teachers could promote masturbation.
The bill sailed through the legislative session, passing the Senate 28-1 and the House 68-23.
Opponents, which include Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee and the state teachers' union, say that before they can begin fighting the new law, they have to be able to figure it out. They worry that discussion of sexual behavior could be interpreted as condoning it.
"The very ambiguous language in this bill certainly puts teachers in a very difficult situation" when it comes to knowing what to teach, said Jerry Winters, spokesman for the Tennessee Education Association.
Fowler said the new law was authored in part because of incidents in which teachers were instructing about alternate sexual practices as ways to have gratification without risking pregnancy, according to Fowler.
He said one such incident involved a Nashville high school teacher who was encouraging girls to give boys oral sex in order to get a condom on them.
Fowler also pointed to a Planned Parenthood-organized program at a school in Knoxville, where students were directed to a web site "that actually lists as possible methods of birth control things like oral sex and anal sex play that I think most Tennesseans would find inappropriate."
Lyndsey Godwin, manager of education and training for Planned Parenthood, said the idea that her group was encouraging such behavior was "utterly false." She said that while Planned Parenthood educators may answer a student's question by agreeing that anal and oral sex don't lead to pregnancy, they also emphasize the disease risks.
Godwin said Planned Parenthood supports the state's abstinence-centered policy, but the reality is not everyone can be abstinent. She said that being able to address issues of condom use, contraception and answer questions about sexual behaviors to educate students are essential to her group's role.
Winters of the Tennessee Education Association said that already existing sex education policy was "quite adequate."
"It does focus on abstinence, but in this modern world to say that 'just say no' is the answer to teenage pregnancy is putting your head in the sand," Winters said. (Reporting By Tim Ghianni; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Lisa Shumaker)
- ‘War On Women’ 2012: Amid Controversy, Women Ponder How They Became Campaign Issue –
DENVER — Wanda Ramey stood on the University of Colorado campus, cane in one hand, "Close The Pay Gap" sign in the other. The rally for equal pay among women in the workplace was the 65-year-old spitfire's second stop in a day of meetings and protests.
A registered independent, Ramey's top priorities this election year aren't necessarily directly related to the "war on women" that Democrats have accused Republicans of waging. She worries about the future of her grandchildren, their education and whether they'll find jobs one day.