HD_Links (on a Thursday): Addressing Child Abuse

Qld puts forward national child abuse strategy

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Sorry for the late post. I was busier-than-expected with training sessions, classroom visits, and an ugly case of spyware. No worries, I’ll churn out three posts in two days and we’ll be back on track by next week. Now, on with the links…

During the classroom visits that filled my day, all I heard on the radio were reports on the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. Lost in this very sad story over a child abuse scandal at Penn State University is the issue of an adult’s responsibility for reporting suspected child abuse. Every teacher has received some training in this area and is fully aware of what the law requires them to report to authorities. Of course, any teacher put in that situation has their students’ best interest in mind at all times and would act accordingly.

As sort of a reminder for teachers to refer or a list of resources for students who are interested in this tragedy, here are some links to help in better understanding child abuse:

  • The Huffington Post lists the important dates so far in the Sandusky case. (This is all that I will write about the current case.)
  • HelpGuide.org has a comprehensive look at child abuse and neglect along with a large list of resources to explore further.
  • “The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.” RAINN is the resource to learn more about these issues and what actions can be taken.
  • Administration for Children and Families is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that target children, youth and families, including programs that include assistance with child abuse issues.
  • Childhelp provides some statistics on child abuse, as does the ACF here.
  • The ACF also provides the child abuse laws for every state.

I hope these resources are helpful in researching the issues brought up with the Sandusky/Penn State case. How does your school district or school address these troubling issues? Have you had to answer questions students may have about such issues? How did you handle it?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

HD_Links: Occupy Wall Street

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Much of the news right now is focused on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and all around the country. When movements such as Occupy Wall Street happen, a fantastic opportunity arises to teach a cross-curricular collection of topics that utilize current events to relate to our students. Politics, economics, rhetoric, civics, history, and environmental studies are just a few subjects that relate to Occupy Wall Street.

This week’s set of links gives you what you need to address this important event that applies to 100% of us, not just the 99%.

  • The New York Times’ The Learning Network blog has a comprehensive list of lesson ideas and links to resources for the protests and the issues surrounding it.
  • Another newspaper, The Washington Post, has a primer up for its readers.
  • Comedian and actor Mike Myers visits the protest in this YouTube video:

  • Ecology of Education has an educator’s perspective of the protests.
  • Of course, to follow the events and gain some perspective on all the late-breaking news from the Occupy Wall Street protests, watch the action on Twitter. Much like the protests in the Middle East, this is a movement born and developed online.

How are you addressing the Occupy Wall Street protests in your classroom? How do the issues brought up in the protests apply to our students’ lives? How does this movement compare to social movements of the past or in other parts of the world?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

HD_Links: Understanding the Debt Crisis

Call them,stop the Debt Ceiling Sellout,tell them anyone who votes for this is finished

The hot-button topic right now has to be the ever-approaching debt ceiling and Washington’s debate over how to handle that debt. Without getting political, this is an extremely serious issue. Even if it is resolved by the time schools open and classes begin, it provides an interesting opportunity to take a deeper look at how our federal government operates and its relation to the economy.

Here are some helpful links in understanding the issue…

  • Taxes and government spending are huge elements in this debate. A place where we can obtain some idea of where our taxes go is the online tool Where Do My Tax Dollars Go? Simply plug in a yearly salary and filing status. The tool will give you a summary of the taxes you’ll pay and the breakdown of where that money will go. This practice puts the role of taxes and governmental spending in an individualized context.

  • One of the issues our nation is facing in this recession is the growing disparity of the haves and have-nots. Good has published another great infographic that details that disparity. See how factors like race and education play into our opportunities which have long-term effects on our economy.

  • Speaking of opportunity in this shaky economy, NPR has an interesting story on the cost of dropout rates. This demonstrates directly how the choices our students make affect the economy. It also puts governmental fiscal concerns in a context to which students can relate.
  • What does the US’s debt look like? There is a fantastic illustration of the enormity of our debt as pointed out by Information Aesthetics. In the linked post, gives a great rundown of various image and video representations of the growing debt. The links will either amaze you or depress you, but they are super useful for those visual learners trying to understand the enormity of our debt.

What resources have you turned to in trying to understand the debt ceiling crisis? In what ways would you use these resources when teaching your students about government and economics?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

4ALL: Forgetting the Past in the Name of Accessibility

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Recently, there was an announcement that a publisher was editing Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn by replacing the word “nigger” with the less-offensive “slave” in order to make the book more accessible for students. This has been a hot-button topic for civil rights activists and First Amendment advocates, but those in education are also drawn in when considering the important place Huckleberry Finn holds in the American canon.

As the publishers suggest, the book could become more accessible as a historically charged word is stripped from the text in order to make it less offensive. Undoubtedly, there are teachers, administrators, parents, and entire school districts who don’t want the “n-word” or any other racial epithet in their schools no matter the context. This move by the publishers could allow schools to return Huckleberry Finn to their reading lists and curriculum.

On the other side, critics worry about the altering of history. Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in the common language of the time. It’s an authentic representation of a portion of our nation’s past. Changing the Twain’s written work erases that past, offensive or not. Plus, this is a slippery slope on which the publishers are walking. What could be changed next? Will publishers begin to take out content from books that are objectionable to some but deviate from the author’s intended purpose?

There are a lot of issues to consider with the Huckleberry Finn controversy. Where do you lie? Is it worth editing a classic piece of American literature for the purposes of accessibility? Are we erasing history in the name of political correctness?

What would Mark Twain think? Would he be happy that more students could read his work or would he be angered at the thought of someone editing his writing?

Are you more concerned that some students wouldn’t get a chance to read this great piece of fiction without the edited version? Or are you more worried of the effects of a revisionist history? Tell us where you stand on this issue.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.