Entries in Education (3)


Ex-Porn Star Reads to Elementary School Kids; District to Investigate

Steven Lawton/FilmMagic(COMPTON, Calif.) -- After receiving complaints about an ex-porn star visiting an elementary school, district officials are planning to meet with the agent who scheduled her appearance, and rethink the booking process.

Compton, Calif., school officials said they weren’t informed of her past work when they agreed to host her.

Sasha Grey, a former adult film actress who made her last porn film two years ago and has since moved to more mainstream acting roles, participated in the guest reading program at Emerson Elementary School in Compton, reading a book called Dog Breath to a group of students.

At first, the school denied she was ever there, telling TMZ that “the actress you indicated was not present.” Then TMZ found pictures of her reading to the students, and she tweeted that she spent the morning reading to first- and third-graders.

In a statement, the Compton Unified School District said the talent coordinator for the program listed Grey as an actress who had been on Entourage when she was proposed as a participant, and her previous experience in adult films wasn’t mentioned.

The school district said it will review the selection process for participants with a coordinator to avoid potentially controversial readers in the future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Appoints Shakira to Hispanic Education Commission

John Parra/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- Who says that pop stars can’t be academic role models?

With education reform on a list of high priorities for the White House, President Obama has enlisted the help of pop star Shakira to sit on President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics -- a four-person group that will give advice to the president and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The Grammy Award-winning musician is perhaps most famous for her hit album She Wolf, which sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

“Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, record producer and dancer,” said the White House in a statement. “In addition to her career in music, Ms. Mebarak Ripoll has been involved in a number of global educational efforts.”

Perhaps Shakira is a closet bookworm. She secretly attended UCLA back in 2009 disguised as a man, wearing a baseball cap to class, and even her professor wasn’t aware of her identity until after she finished the class.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What's New on 'Sesame Street'? Math and Science

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This season of Sesame Street, which premiered Monday, has added a few new things to its usual mix of song, dance and educational lessons.

In its 42nd season, the preschool educational series is tackling math, science, technology and engineering -- all problem areas for America's students -- in hopes of helping kids measure up.

Carol-Lynn Parente, the show's executive producer, said that 2-year-olds were more than ready for engineering experiments.

"It really boils down to a curriculum of asking questions, observing ... making a hypothesis and testing it out," she told ABC News Monday.

This season, Sesame Street will include age-appropriate experimentation -- even the orange monster Murray will conduct science experiments in a recurring feature.

The show's producers say they are responding to an urgent need.

According to the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, among 65 industrialized nations, 15-year-olds in the United States placed 23rd in science and 30th in math.

For 30 years, researchers have studied what has been coined the "Sesame effect," in which they found that exposure to the program as a preschooler equaled higher achievement in high school.

Frequent viewers even earned better grades in English, math and science and had a higher grade point average than non-viewers.

"Children are learning the prerequisites so when they begin school, they're ready for school," said Sandra Calvert, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University and director of the Children's Digital Media Center. Calvert worked with scientists involved with the "Sesame effect" and conducted her own studies on Sesame Street character Elmo.

"They [children] know numbers, letters, pre-literacy skills," she said. "So when they walk in the door, they are really ready [and] wired to learn."

Experts say that the show's curriculum is designed for children 2 and older and that children learn best when parents watch with them and ask questions during the program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio