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Report from the NYTimes: Two years ago, an effort to fix No Child Left Behind, the main federal law on public schools provoked a grueling slugfest in Congress, leading Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, to say the law had become “the most negative brand in America.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. “Let’s rebrand it,” he said in an interview. “Give it a new name.” And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals.
A blog contest to rename the No Child Left Behind law has received entries like the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act and the Teach to the Test Act. Here's the website sponsoring the contest. So far, 216 suggestions have been made.
And that's the lesson that Stephanie Rosalia was teaching her students at P.S. 225 in Brooklyn. The website they were looking at, All About Explorers, is intentionally peppered with false facts.
Ms. Rosalia, the school librarian at Public School 225, a combined elementary and middle school in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned. Story from the NYTimes.
Scholastic Inc., the children’s publisher of favorites like the Harry Potter, Goosebumps and Clifford series, may be best known for its books, but a consumer watchdog group accuses the company of using its classroom book clubs to push video games, jewelry kits and toy cars.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group based in Boston, said that it had reviewed monthly fliers distributed by Scholastic last year and found that one-third of the items sold in these brochures were either not books or books packaged with other items.
San Jose Mercury News reports that libraries are the latest organizations to win relief from a tough new federal law taking effect today that all but bans lead in children's products.
On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission exempted children's books printed after 1985 from the new law's enforcement provisions, which allow fines of as much as $100,000 per violation for selling or distributing products that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead intended for use by children 12 and younger.
"We're jubilant," said Barbara Roberts, president of the California Library Association on Monday. Before the exemption, Roberts said libraries across the nation faced the prospect of closing their children's sections and discarding thousands of books from their collections. Roberts added that she was bewildered that lawmakers would pass a law with such broad reach "without thinking of the ramifications in the field."
There's a big exception though. Jennifer Baker, library director with the St. Helena Public Library in Napa Valley, said the law still puts off limits to children rare, older books. She said one library at which she worked kept a collection of Mother Goose books from the early 1900s, while others retain original copies of old classics, like those from the Nancy Drew or Tom Swift series, she said. I guess they'll have to wait til they're adults to enjoy the books.
Toys with dangerous levels of lead, toxic chemicals in clothing, hazardous baby cribs — the soon-to-be-enforced Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act aims to protect children from all of them.
But library books? Unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission exempts them from the sweeping legislation, libraries nationwide could be forced to pull children’s books from their shelves or, alternately, ban children. The law is scheduled to take effect on February 10.
“You’re talking about separating children from books, which has got to be the most ridiculous thing this commission has ever attempted,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office. “Books are safe. They are not a dangerous product.”
Paper cuts maybe...but lead? Kansas City Star reports.
DENVER -- Within minutes of stepping off a bus Tuesday morning, a woman dropped a special package at the downtown Denver library -- a baby.
[rest of story here]
I don't know why a woman would take the bus to the library when she was clearly in labor. Maybe she'd heard that baby story times fill up fast and she just wanted to get signed up.
But as paramedics wheeled the new mother and child from the lobby, the library manager informed the woman that she owed the library five cents because, "It's obvious ma'am, that baby was way overdue."
According to the Denver Daily, "The mother and child are in good health and will be holding a 10:30 a.m. press conference today at Denver Health. At the event, the mom will talk about giving birth in a nontraditional setting."
scotusblog says The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused the federal government’s request to salvage a six-year-old law seeking to ban minors’ access to sexually explicit material on the World Wide Web. Acting on that law for the third time, the Justices simply declined to review a Third Circuit Court decision last July striking down the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. The Justices’ action came without comment and with no noted dissents in Mukasey v. American Civil Liberties Union, et al. (08-565).
A mad Dad reports his unhappiness with the Hoboken NJ Public Library due to his four-year old son being denied a library card. Here's the story from Hoboken 411.
Letter-writer Dave Dessel goes on to say: "My wife called several libraries in the area, including Millburn, Maplewood, Summit and Ridgewood, to find out what their policies are. Every librarian she spoke with was appalled by HPL’s policy. One went so far as to say that the story was heartbreaking, and the policy archaic, the kind of thing that was done away with forty years ago.
I wonder if the library administration has changed much since On the Waterfront?"
How do libraries benefit home schoolers?
One way is with read-aloud programs such as the one led last week by Donnie Storms at the the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick MD. Last week, Storms read Derek Anderson's book "Romeo and Lou Blast Off" with enthusiasm peppered with questions to his young audience at the event, "Kids Just Want to Have Fun." The activity was designed to engage homeschooled children in reading and learning about a specific topic. Last week, the book and activity that followed the reading were centered on the Arctic and Antarctic parts of the world.
Terry Tolentino of Huntingtown, a mother who was attending the event with her daughter, Katana, 6, said she found out about the workshop on the library's Web site. While this was Katana's first time attending the workshop, Terry Tolentino said she would "definitely" be coming to future events.
Storms said the library came up with the idea of the workshops in order to give homeschoolers a "chance to get out and meet other children who are homeschoolers."
The book, incidently, is about adventures shared by two friends, a penguin and a polar bear. There's a lesson in this...