Entries in Education (39)


Obama Says He ‘Goofed Off Way Too Much’ in Grade School

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- At a forum on education issues in New York City Tuesday, President Obama was asked whether he had ever failed a test in grade school, to which he replied, “Oh, yes.”

“Absolutely,” Obama said. “You know, I would say I was a mediocre student until I got to college. I goofed off way too much.”

Obama first attended school in Indonesia in the early 1970s before he moved to Hawaii, where he attended the prestigious Punahou Academy through high school. He started college at Occidental College in Los Angeles and finished his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City.

The president said Tuesday that his daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, were much better examples of model students. “They are so far ahead of me basically in all respects,” he told the forum.

The girls recently began a new school year at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. For Malia, it’s the first year of high school.

“At least at the school they’re at they’re getting a lot more homework than I did when I was that age,” Obama said. “They seem to be working deep into the night. You know, I didn’t study that ardently till the night before an exam.”

With the 2012 presidential race dominating headlines, President Obama acknowledged that daughter Malia is likely studying the rival campaigns as part of the ninth-grade civics curriculum.

“She’s pretty dispassionate about it,” he said of presidential politics. “She’s able to kinda separate out Dad, who’s at home, from the debates that are going on out there.”

Obama said he encourages both of his girls to think for themselves and become responsible citizens.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Credits Education with Boosting ‘Mixed Kid’ and ‘Little Black Girl’ to White House

Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Image(GOLDEN, Colo.) --  President Obama Thursday credited an affordable college education with helping a “mixed kid from Hawaii” and a “little black girl from the South Side of Chicago” make history in the White House.

“Education was a gateway of opportunity for me,” Obama told the crowd here. “Let’s face it. You know, a mixed kid from Hawaii born to a single mom is not likely to become president of the United States. But in America, it can happen because of education, because somebody gave me opportunity."

“You know, a little black girl from South Side of Chicago whose mom’s a secretary and dad’s a blue-collar worker, you know, not likely to become first lady of the United States,” he said, referring to his wife, Michelle. “But it happened because she got a great education even though her folks didn’t have a lot of money.”

It’s a story that has become a focal point of Obama’s pitch in Colorado and other swing states, part rebuttal to GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s call to curtail federal aid for higher education; part proof that he better understands struggles of the middle class.

Education is “the gateway of opportunity for middle-class families, for those who were [working] hard to get into the middle class and stay there,” Obama said.

By infusing his story with references to race, something Obama does not often speak about publicly, he also reminds voters of color that they too can defy the odds. In states like Colorado, the inspirational message could help turn out women, Hispanics and African-Americans, on whom Obama is relying to win.

In an interview last month with Parade magazine, Obama said being a black man in the White House has made him “more determined” as president to assure “that everybody’s getting a fair shot.”

“By virtue of being African-American, I’m attuned to how throughout this country’s ­history there have been times when folks have been locked out of opportunity, and because of the hard work of people of all races, slowly those doors opened to more and more people,” Obama said.

“Equal opportunity doesn’t just happen on its own; it happens because we’re vigilant about it. But part of this is not just because we’re African-American; it’s also because Michelle and I were born into pretty modest means.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Teacher Convicted of Group Sex With Students

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A jury found a Texas high school teacher and mother of three guilty today of having sex with four male students while being videotaped.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the men were all 18 at the time of the sexual relationships, she was not charged with statutory rape.

The case against Colleps has been filled with graphic testimony and cell phone video that allegedly showed Colleps having group sex with the four students in her home during April and May of 2011.

Prosecutors said the group sex occurred while her children and husband, an Army specialist, were away.

The video was shown to the jury this week.

Colleps faces 20 years in prison for the convictions and is expected to be sentenced later today.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland Student Lands Perfect ACT Score

Handout/Sayyeed Mohammed(CLARKSVILLE, Md.) -- Maryland high school student Taariq Mohammed is perfect, at least according to the ACT test.

The 16-year-old student at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Md., scored a perfect 36 on the college entrance test, an achievement that only a fraction of one percent of students in the country can claim.

For this driven high school student, preparation for perfection started early.

“When I was going into my freshman year of high school I started studying for both the SAT and the ACT,” Mohammed said. The first time he took the test as a sophomore, Mohammed received a 34, a score most students would be satisfied with.

But close to perfect wasn’t good enough for Mohammed.

“I was happy with it, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed,” he said. “I knew I was close to being perfect and I was confident that I could get a perfect ACT score.”

He took it a second time in June, and got the score he was hoping for.

Mohammed, who is a straight-A student, a black belt in Karate, and a varsity wrestler, also came within just 50 points of a perfect score on the SAT as well.

Like his two brothers Saud and Isa, Mohammed hopes to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and eventually become a doctor.

His father Sayyeed Mohammed, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is very much the proud parent, but wasn’t surprised by his son’s success.

“Tariq was always very ambitious,” he said. “Fortunately for him, he has two brothers who are really very close to him. He was very fortunate to know how to plan ahead carefully for what he needed to do and plan out his four year high school career.”

“And he executed it to perfection.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boy Strip-Searched at School, Mom Outraged

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C.) -- A North Carolina mother is furious after an assistant principal strip-searched her 10-year-old son after he was accused of stealing $20 from a classmate.

Clarinda Cox told North Carolina TV station WRAL that the assistant principal at Union Elementary school, Teresa Holmes, ordered her son, Justin, to remove his shoes, jeans and shirt, leaving him in his boxers and a T-shirt.

No one from the school contacted her about the accusations or the search. She said she found out about the incident when her son came home and appeared upset, Cox said.

Holmes acknowledged searching the boy on June 1, but in a statement she said that when $20 fell from a female classmate’s pocket in the cafeteria, “seven or eight” students saw Justin dive to pick it up.

“I walked up to Justin and told him that if he had the money it would be better to just give it to me because if not I would have to search him. Justin said that he did not have the money and to ‘search me,’” Holmes also said in the statement.

Holmes said she called a male janitor to witness the search in her office. Justin was made to remove his shoes, socks, jeans and shirt. The items were checked thoroughly before they were returned to him. She also acknowledged running her hands “outside of the waistband of his boxers.”

“At this point, I knew that Justin did not have the money. I sat in front of him telling him that I was sorry that I had to search him. I again explained that as a school administrator, I had the authority to search him because two teachers thought he had the money as well as seven or eight students,” she wrote.

In the statement she also accused Justin of having told “some lies” in the past. The $20 bill was later found on the floor of the cafeteria, although Holmes wrote that it hadn’t been there when she and Justin left to go to her office.

In the statement, Holmes said she encouraged Justin to “build a good name” for himself, and that the witness also “added some words of wisdom” for the boy. Holmes also wrote that she hugged Justin.

ABC News could not reach school officials or Clarinda Cox for comment on Tuesday evening.

In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer newspaper, Cox said Justin had helped the girl pick up the $20 that she had dropped. The girl later said the money was missing, Cox told the newspaper.

A Sampson County school district spokeswoman told WRAL that Cox should have been notified of the search, but maintained that Holmes was within her rights to search Justin, even though she “may have been overzealous in her actions.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elite New York High School Kicks Off ‘Slutty Wednesday’ Protest

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 100 students at a prestigious New York high school bared their feelings for the school’s conservative dress code by skirting the rules and participating in a protest they called “Slutty Wednesday.”

The students, who attend Stuyvesant High School in New York City, said they were fed up with the school’s strict dress code, which bars warm weather attire such as short-shorts and tank tops.

“It’s called Slutty Wednesday to symbolize that we’re not actually slutty,” senior Benjamin Koatz told the New York Times.

“That’s the stigma, against wearing short-shorts,” he said. “But actually, we're wearing what’s comfortable.”

Students said they believed the dress code was biased and singled out curvier girls. Boys said they were offended the administration assumed they are horny teens who are unable to control themselves around girls in tank tops and shorter skirts, the New York Post reported.

The principal of Stuyvesant High School did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for an interview.

A reminder about the dress code was posted on Stuyvesant High School’s website last year, reminding students to “wear appropriate attire to school” as temperatures climbed.

The rules state that shoulders, undergarments, midriffs and lower backs are not allowed to be exposed. Shorts, dresses and skirts must extend below a student’s finger tips with their arms straight at their sides.

Stuyvesant High School was ranked the nation’s eighth best high school for science, technology, engineering and math by U.S. News & World Report this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cheering at Graduation Leads to Arrest, Diplomas Being Withheld

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cheering on family and friends at graduation ceremonies has become a risky proposition at schools around the country. Administrations have cracked down on celebrations; withholding diplomas from students and arresting parents who "misbehave" during commencement.

In Florence, S.C., mother Sharon Cooper was handcuffed and escorted out of the arena where daughter Iesha Cooper, 18, was graduating from high school last Saturday. The school had reportedly warned parents earlier that anyone who cheered or yelled during the roll call would be escorted from the building, and that people who were disorderly would be arrested.

"'Are you all serious? Are you all for real?' I mean, that's what I'm thinking in my mind," Cooper told WPDE, an ABC News affiliate."I didn't say anything. I was just like OK, I can't fight the law."

Cooper was placed in a police van and taken to a detention center for several hours before posting a $225 bond, according to the station. Cooper, who was charged with disorderly conduct, could not be reached for comment.

In Mount Healthy, Ohio, graduating senior Anthony Cornist was docked a diploma because his family and friends cheered too loudly as he walked across the stage during the graduation ceremony.

"It's crazy how someone can do that to you," said Cornist. "I didn't do nothing wrong, but walk across the stage."

Administrators from Mount Healthy high school and the school district did not return calls for comment.

In Tennessee, diplomas were withheld from at least 10 members of a graduating high school class not for cheering loudly, but for sitting quietly, albeit with loudly-decorated graduation caps. Administrators from McMinn County High School warned students that caps were not to be decorated, and students would be punished if the broke the rule.

"We're going to decorate our caps anyway because we paid for them," senior Brianna Carroll told news station WRCB in reaction to her high school's ban on cap decorations.

Some students were punished with 20 hours of community service in order to receive their diplomas. John Burroughs, principal of the school, told ABC News that the ban came from the superintendent. David Pierce, the district superintendent, did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Girl, 8, Gets ‘Catastrophe Award’ for Most Homework Excuses

ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The mother of an 8-year-old Arizona girl who was presented with a “Catastrophe Award” for apparently having the most excuses for not having homework believes her child was humiliated by her teacher.

Christina Valdez said her daughter, Cassandra Garcia, came home one day from class at Desert Springs Academy in Tucson, Ariz., with the paper award.

The document, which looks like a colorful card, contained the following message: “You’re Tops! Catastrophe Award.  Awarded to Cassandra Garcia. For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework.”

The teacher signed the card “Ms. Plowman,” added the date – May 18, 2012 – and even included a smiley face.

The teacher announced the award in front of the entire class, and the other students laughed at her daughter, Valdez said in a Thursday interview with ABC TV affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson.

When she contacted the school to complain, the principal “blew me off,” Valdez added. “She said it was a joke that was played and that the teachers joke around with the children.”

But Valdez told KGUN that she didn’t find any of it funny.

“I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It’s disturbing,” she said, adding that she was not aware her daughter had a problem with homework, and that the girl had been enrolled in an after-school homework assistance program.

Desert Springs Academy’s principal declined to comment to a KGUN reporter, the affiliate reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Teen Wins National Geographic Bee

(WASHINGTON) -- What is the Bavarian city located on the Danube River that was a legislative seat of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806? Without a deep knowledge of geography or the Holy Roman Empire, most people wouldn’t be able to answer that question, but a 14-year-old student from Sugarland, Texas, answered the geography stumper to win the National Geographic Bee Championship.

The finals, held in Washington, D.C., Thursday, came down to newcomer Rahul Nagvekar and geography bee veteran Vansh Jain of Minocqua, Wis., who was making his third appearance in the finals. As host Alex Trebek described, it was either the “year of the rookie or the year of the veteran.”

Nagvekar answered correctly by naming the city Regensburg though he admitted to ABC News that it was just a guess.

Nagvekar, who said he fell in love with geography when his parents gave him a globe at the age of 3, said he didn’t expect to win the competition on his first try, but stuck to a plan throughout the contest.

“Truthfully, no.  I was not necessarily expecting to win. But at the same time I knew that if I was calm and I focused on everything and I listened to all of the questions that I would be able to get a good number right and I knew I could do well if I executed the plan properly,” Nagvekar told ABC News.

“I wanted to be on the stage until the very, very last question, so at the end it didn’t really matter if I came in second or first.  Obviously I would try for first, but if that didn’t happen, it was at least good enough to be there until the very last question because for the last four years, I’ve always watched the finals from television, and I didn’t want to do that this year.  I wanted to be on the other side of things.”

Nagvekar just celebrated his 14th birthday on Tuesday during the start of the preliminary competition, making his win today an extra special birthday gift.

“It was a wonderful present.  I don’t think I can ask for more,” he said.

President Obama joined in on the competition, taping a video message congratulating the participants and asking them to answer what city hosted the Nuclear Security Summit he attended this March.  Nine out of 10 contestants in the finals answered correctly with Seoul.

As champion, Nagvekar won a $25,000 scholarship and an all expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands.  Second place finisher Jain won $15,000 in scholarship, and the third place winner, Varun Mahadevan from Fremont, Calif., won a $10,000 scholarship.  Approximately 4 million students from across the country participated in the competition this year.

Geo Bee 2012 will air on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The New College Classes That Require Top-Secret Clearance

NSA/Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- America’s most high-tech intelligence agency is looking to American colleges for the next generation of cyber warriors, and it is now designing its own top-secret classes to prepare them for training in the dark arts of cyber espionage.

The National Security Agency announced Monday that four universities had been selected for a new academic program -- an extension of President Obama's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education -- designed to teach students skills “associated with specialized cyber operations.”

The NSA is vague on the details of the courses and says on its website the curriculum will only offer the students a “glimpse” of the cyber capabilities sought by the country’s foremost collector of worldwide electronic intelligence data and protector of classified U.S. computer networks.  Any successful students won’t be trained for their real jobs until they actually arrive at the NSA.

Still, students and faculty involved will have to go through background security checks and obtain top-secret clearance before cracking open their laptops, the NSA says.

“The nation increasingly needs professionals with highly technical cyber skills to help keep America safe today and to help the country meet future challenges and adapt with greater agility,” Steven LaFountain, an NSA technical leader with the program, said. “When it comes to national security, there is no substitute for a dedicated, immensely talented workforce....This effort will sow even more seeds.”

The universities selected by the NSA are Dakota State University, the Naval Postgraduate School, Northeastern University and the University of Tulsa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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