Four special-education students at Howe Public Schools are suing a teacher and the principal, saying they were bound and forced into a shower stall smeared with feces from diapers as part of a lesson on slave ships.
An Inclusive Litany
Irritated Legionnaires discovered a loophole for ceremonial flag-burning under an exemption for "recreational activity," but, unsatisfied with that rather fickle category, sought an exemption specifically for proper flag disposal. Legislation proposed in the state assembly was defeated in committee due to concerns that the exemption ran afoul of the Constitution by endorsing only "respectful and dignified" burning of the flag. As written, the legislation would still permit, if not encourage, environmental sanctions against those who burned the flag in protest.
But the Centers for Disease Control's "National Health and Nutrition Survey" has found no significant nutritional deficiency in any segment of the nation's population. Another CDC report notes that life expectancy is at an all-time high, with infant mortality at a corresponding low point—considerably less than half what it was in 1970. Even the poorest Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than middle-class Europeans. The CDC also notes that obesity is a growing concern, its rate having roughly doubled among children and increased to 35 percent for American adults—up from 25 percent. Other federal statistics consistently establish the prevalence of obesity among poorer Americans. Chronic malnutrition is statistically almost undetectable, and is correlated not so much with poverty but with alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, and child abuse.
The study that prompted the hunger summit—what Gore called "the first-ever baseline study of the scope of hunger in America"—was a joint project of the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. However, the authors of the study did not claim it measured hunger per se, since by their estimation, measurements of the "physical sensation caused by a lack of food" do not provide "sensitive indicators" of any problem as it is "primarily experienced in the U.S. context." Instead, a sample of American households was asked 58 questions designed to measure "characteristic affective states"—anxiety and uncertainty—involving food budgets and consumption. At any point in the past 12 months, did you have time to restock the refrigerator before running out of essential goods? Did you ever eat "less than you felt you should," or a low-cost meal for purposes of economy? Bolstering reports of budget anxiety was the fact that the survey was administered from April 16 through April 22, right after tax time. Not surprisingly, the report concluded that there are 11.9 million "food insecure" households in the United States, comprising a whopping 34.7 million citizens living with "resource-constrained hunger"—about one in seven Americans.
Fund-raising by parents to pay the salaries of full-time teachers has been banned by the city's schools chancellor, who called the effort unfair to schools in poor communities.
Chancellor Rudy Crew ordered the moratorium Monday, saying parents' groups should not be allowed to fund teachers' jobs in some schools while class sizes continued to grow at others in the nation's largest school system.
The order was prompted by a frantic effort in the affluent Greenwich Village neighborhood last week. Parents learned that officials planned to transfer Lauren Zangara from Public School 41 to a more crowded school and scatter her 26 fourth-grade students among four other classes....
Parents raised the $46,000 salary in cash and pledges in just four days.
The newspaper quoted unidentified school officials as saying that Crew feared the efforts could blur the line between public and private education and allow affluent parents to create schools far better than those in poorer areas. Privately raised money can still be used to help pay for part-time teachers in art, music, and science and for some school supplies. Crew's order does not prohibit schools or parents from seeking corporate donations or grants to pay for full-time teachers.
Gary Sledzik may have plowed his pickup truck into a toll booth at the Maine Turnpike, but he says police are partly to blame for the crash that killed a New Hampshire woman and her daughter.
Sledzik's lawyer, Anthony Sineni III, has filed a notice of claim with the state Attorney General's Office accusing state police of negligence for not stopping Sledzik even though they received calls that he was driving erratically.
The claim says Sledzik deserves more than $300,000 in damages from the state.
However, Sineni said Tuesday the claim is legal maneuvering, and Sledzik, 44, of Webster, Mass., will not sue the state. Filing the notice of claim simply allows Sledzik to bring in the state police as a co-defendant should the victims' relatives sue Sledzik, Sineni said.
In that event, a jury might find Sledzik and state police at fault, assigning part of the financial damages to the state.
Currently, the City recycles PET (Polyethylene Terephalate) and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) plastics in the form of plastic bottles and jugs ONLY.
Residents are instructed to place all other plastics in the regular trash. PET and HDPE plastics, and all other types of plastic, are usually labeled with a code—recycling arrows with a number inside—on the bottom. This voluntary code, developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) and referred to as an SPI code, specifies the type of plastic according to the resin from which it is made.
The City asks residents to separate items for plastic recycling by container type (bottles and jugs) and not by SPI code  and  because:
All s and s that are not bottles and jugs are considered residue and end up in the landfill. THE DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION COLLECTS ONLY PLASTIC BOTTLES AND JUGS FOR RECYCLING.
- All HDPE  plastics are not the same. Bottles and jugs (containers with the neck smaller than the body) are formed by blow-molding—a bubble of air is blown into the plastic to form its shape. All plastic containers other than bottles and jugs (the neck is larger than the body) are formed by injection-molding—plastic is squirted into a closed mold that is then broken open. Melted injection-molded resin is thin (like water) and melted blow-molded resin is thick (like molasses). If mixed together, the resulting resin is not ideal for either process. Currently, the City does not separate and recycle resin from injection-molded HDPE.
- Current technology does not enable processors to sort plastics according to SPI codes. Workers would not know which plastics are s and s without picking them up and looking for a code. Inspecting each container as it moves along the conveyer belt would be inefficient and extremely costly.
- Almost all plastic bottles and jugs are PET  or HDPE . However, other kinds of containers are made of various resins; e.g., some ice cream and yogurt containers may be made of HDPE  and some may be made of PP .
- 99% of PET and 86% of HDPE containers are produced in the form of bottles and jugs. Therefore, collecting bottles and jugs yields the vast majority of PET and HDPE containers. Even if processors could sort out and recycle all other HDPE and PET containers, asking residents to set out all s and s would not result in the collection of significantly more material.
- The SPI coding system is voluntary; not all PET and HDPE is labeled.
- Significant quantities of non-container HDPE plastic is sold in the U.S. in the form of film plastic (e.g., grocery bags). Bags labeled as HDPE or coded  would mistakenly end up in recycling containers; they are not recycled and would be a contaminant.
- It is easier to understand and follow instructions to recycle plastic bottles and jugs than it would be to inspect every type of plastic to find the code.
[Ed.: Plastics recycling often squanders some of the Earth's most precious resources, namely, my time and my patience. Also note that some of the most notorious Superfund sites are plastics recyclers.]
But as it turns out, a majority of Convent's residents eagerly favor siting the Shintech plant in their town—73 percent, according to a poll by the local NAACP chapter. Henry Payne reports in the Wall Street Journal that the plant's opponents mostly hail from the town's wealthier middle class. (National black leaders Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Joseph Loury also oppose the plant.)
The plant's siting had already been approved by Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality, which is charged by the EPA to regulate state industry. It had also been approved specifically as a form of economic affirmative action, under which the state would grant Shintech tax breaks in return for hiring at least 35 percent of its work force from the surrounding population. In addition to the jobs, Shintech would also bring $5.6 million in school revenue.
Local Convent resident Roosevelt Teroud would jump at the chance at a stable job that pays $12 to $15 an hour. Currently, he does backbreaking seasonal work in the town's sugarcane fields for $6 an hour. Sugarcane production entails pesticide-laced agricultural runoffs that pollute the local water. That industry is also federally subsidized for it to be at all profitable.
[Ed.: In 1998 Shintech decided to move to another town that is 30 miles away and is mostly white. Greenpeace, which opposes all polyvinyl plastics production and joined in the environmental racism charge, is expected to challenge the new site as well, but on nonracial grounds.]
- Novelty and Difficulty
- Complex Issues Dealing with a Difficult Adversary
- Preclusion of Employment
- Superior Quality of Work
- Exceptional Results
- Burden of Justifying Fees
Harvard University offers a useful case study. It has a $9 billion endowment—greater than the 1996 budget expenditures of many states—and could provide free education to all its students simply by tapping into the interest from the endowment. But the school has instead increased tuition well above the rate of inflation for the 1997-98 school year. Much of the increased cost for colleges and universities has been due to increases in support staff. Administrators have gone from 15 percent of college employees to 22 percent. The University of Pennsylvania now employs 16,000 full-time employees to educate 18,000 full-time students.
Jack Coleman, former president of Haverford College and of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, spoke first. In 1983, Coleman wrote an acclaimed article for New York magazine in which he described living among the homeless for ten days, sparking a minor fad among journalists. Coleman recounted his first moment back home after that harrowing experience, in which he drew a hot bath, lay down in it, and started to cry. Indeed, in telling the story again, Coleman started to cry. He concluded by confessing that he couldn't really claim to have been truly homeless, since he always had change in his pocket with which to call his editor to bail him out.
Next to speak was Mary Ann Gleason, an ex-nun who heads the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless, who blamed society's "intolerance of weakness and of the inability to compete in a free market" for causing homelessness. The reason the homeless don't come in off the streets, Gleason said, is that "they don't have meaning in their lives," and they consider the street "the only community they can find." Gleason voiced admiration for Europeans for labeling the homeless the "socially excluded."
Next up was Dr. William Vicic, a "community medicine" specialist at St. Vincent's Hospital and author of Memory of a Homeless Man. Dr. Vicic turned the committee's question around: "Is 'No' from the homeless an answer," he asked dramatically, "or an echo of us and the society we maintain?" the implication being that it is society that says 'No' to the homeless rather than the other way around. "Separatism causes a lot of our problems," he said.
Reverend James A. Forbes Jr., pastor at Manhattan's Riverside Church, also offered his thoughts: "We should value the one gift the homeless bring—the ability to say 'No.' " The "ability to say 'No' is a strength," said Forbes, adding that it was our task to figure out what the homeless are saying "No" to. Forbes concluded by accusing society of a lack of compassion.
Tena Frank, director of homeless services at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, complained that mainstream value systems regarding work and discipline were simply the way "we get our needs met," just as the homeless get their needs met by using drugs, and our failure to see the similarity "allows us to blame the homeless."
Maria Foscarinis, director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, also spoke. Foscarinis was instrumental in getting the Homeless Assistance Act passed in 1987, which provided federal funds under the premise that homelessness was primarily a housing problem. Speaking before the conference, Foscarinis said that cities have no right to enforce laws outlawing camping or urinating in public because the homeless are "people who literally have no place left to go." "The resources are not there," she said, "to provide an alternative place to sleep or eat."
As was the case with every other speaker, Ms. Foscarinis chose to ignore the very premise of the conference.
What had Dr. Hodes done? That summer, he recommended to the panel that since "what needs to be prevented is transmission between the infected person and the uninfected person, ... people who are infected should have sex only with other people who are infected."
[Ed.: Unlike every other place in the world, New York officially does not recognize HIV as a sexually transmitted disease, but rather as a blood-borne illness. This gets around a New York law that requires notification of sexual partners for all STDs.]
Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education; Arthur B. Powell and Marilyn Frankenstein, editors
Presents the emerging field of ethnomathematics from a critical perspective, challenging particular ways in which Eurocentrism permeates mathematics education and mathematics in general.
This collection brings together classic, previously published articles and new research to present the emerging field of ethnomathematics from a critical perspective, challenging particular ways in which Eurocentrism permeates mathematics education. The contributors identify several of the field's broad themes—reconsidering what counts as mathematical knowledge, considering interactions between culture and mathematical knowledge, and uncovering hidden and distorted histories of mathematical knowledge. The book offers a diversity of ethnomathematics perspectives that develop both theoretical and practical issues from various disciplines including mathematics, mathematics education, history, anthropology, cognitive psychology, feminist studies, and African studies written by authors from Brazil, England, Australia, Mozambique, Palestine, Belgium, and the United States.
"This volume brings focus to the issues of access and equity within mathematics and identifies ways to assist teachers in providing quality mathematics to traditionally underserved and underrepresented students. Culturally responsive pedagogy is an area that is sorely lacking given the fact that our nation' s classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse. We cannot have enough work in this area. Such material should be required for teacher preparation as well as professional development."
—Sharon Nelson-Barber, Far West Laboratory for Education Research and Development
"This is a collection of some of the most important papers in ethnomathematics. The authors provide insightful and historical analyses of the development and use of mathematical concepts. Traditionally, this perspective is absent from discussions in mathematics education, yet this book makes a unique contribution to the literature."
—William F. Tate, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Arthur B. Powell is Associate Professor in the Academic Foundations Department at Rutgers University-Newark. He has co-authored Math: A Rich Heritage; translated Sona Geometry: Reflections on the Tradition of Sand Drawings in Africa South of the Equator, and co-translated Sipatsi: Technology, Art and Geometry in Inhambane. Marilyn Frankenstein is Professor at the Center for Applied Language and Mathematics, College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has also written Basic Algebra and Relearning Mathematics: A Different Third R-Radical Maths. Together, they are co-founders of the Critical Mathematics Educators Group and members of the Radical Teacher Editorial Collective.
When Shaw came back, he entered rehab and sued the board for trying to fire him, charging that they failed to treat his alcoholism as a disability. Two months later town officials settled, paying Shaw a reported $240,000. As the town's attorney explained, "Termination would have been difficult under the [Americans with Disabilities Act]."
Jonnie Barr might lose his job, because he brought a men's magazine to work. But it wasn't Playboy, Penthouse or Hustler. The Olympia, Wash., waste water treatment plant operator bought Esquire to work. The city says Esquire is "inappropriate and offensive reading material." Barr says he threw the magazine away but somehow it wound up on the desk of a female co-worker. She complained that the lingerie ads were offensive.