Tag: education policy

Maryland Schools Get a D+, Says Controversial Education Expert

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where we rank

If Maryland’s education policy experts were middle schoolers, they’d probably be grounded for the foreseeable future for bringing home grades like this. According to StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy organization, our state’s educational policies and reforms get a D or a D+ in the key areas of empowering parents, elevating teachers, and spending wisely. Ouch.

Who Gets Bullied? (It’s Probably Not Who You Think)

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Three years ago, Baltimore City school officers received 12 formal reports of bullying. The next year? 26. The year after that? 231. And last year? A whopping 541.

Which hardly means that kids were nice five years ago, and suddenly turned mean. Instead, it probably reflects a growing awareness both locally and nationally of the prevalence and consequence of bullying. Shaniya Boyd, a fourth-grader at Gilmor Elementary School, was so scared of classmates who knocked away her crutches and kicked her in the head that she tried to jump out the window of a classroom. The incident resulted in some soul-searching by the school system, which reacted by strengthening city school’s bullying policy.

After a string of horrible stories about young children committing suicide after being tormented by bullies, the US Department of Education started paying close attention, too. But anti-bullying activists worry that some kids will fall through the cracks:  students at private schools. Unlike their public counterparts, they don’t have to have bullying prevention policies, nor do private schools have to report incidents.

Who’s bullying who, anyway?  According to a recent study, it’s hardly a matter of the popular kids picking on the super-dorks. In fact, the kids at the very top and bottom of the social ladder weren’t actually all that involved in bullying. Who was? Everyone else:  “overall, the majority (56%) of students were involved in aggression or victimization, either as pure aggressors (25%), pure victims (14%), or both (17%)…. kids do not always fall into the stable roles of bully & victim. Instead, they seem to be sporadically pulled into conflict.”

If such a large proportion of kids are involved, do schools have a place to intervene? And how should they?

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