Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Raleigh police say student poisoned teacher

    beckettA North Carolina high school teacher became ill after drinking a poisoned can of soda last week, and Raleigh police have arrested a student who they say is responsible.

    Police told The Raleigh Telegram that Leesville High School business and marketing teacher Roseann Marie Monteleone felt sick enough to be taken to the hospital after drinking from a soda can that had hand cleaner in it.

    Police later arrested student Cody Austin Beckett, 18, for assaulting a school employee. Monteleone was taken to the hospital but is fine now, according to The Cary News.

    (Beckett, courtesy of Cary News)

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  • FIRST LOOK: Budget battle turns to debt ceiling fight

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news.

    • Though Dems and the GOP have agreed to cut $39 billion, they still have to hash out where the cuts will fall. (WSJ)

    • Also, Speaker Boehner says more cuts will be demanded in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. (USA Today)

    • The United States has blocked 350 suspected terrorists from boarding airliners since 2009. (AP)

    • Wildfires have scorched 230,000 acres in Texas. (Reuters)

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  • California teacher oversight agency left misconduct cases unexamined for years

    The LA Times reports that California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which is in charge of revoking teacher credentials, had a backlog of 12,600 cases as of 2009. A state audit has found the agency guilty of years-long delays in responding to allegations of teacher misconduct.

    The paper lists a few egregious examples of misconduct cases the agency flubbed:

    In one case, a teacher was allegedly seen kissing a student in 2007, but the commission did not contact the school district until 2009. The commission learned that another instructor allegedly showed middle school students pornography in 2008, but did not request police documents until 2010. By then, the vice principal who reported the incident had retired, and a student who saw the pornography did not recall the details, and others could not be found.

    The teacher in the pornography complaint went to work in another district and no action was taken, the audit said.

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  • The guy with the logo on his shirt is probably making more money than you

    AP080906011020Your worst nightmare has just been officially confirmed by scientific research: That obnoxiously expensive alligator logo plastered on Lacoste shirts does, in fact, buy their owners status--and even wins them a higher salary into the bargain.

    Researchers from the Netherlands's Tilburg University have found that people wearing a small designer logo on their shirt are more likely to be judged as high-status and deserving than when they wear the same clothes without the logo. The Economist summarizes Tilburg group's findings, which will be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

    Subjects in one experiment looked at pictures of a man wearing a polo that had a Tommy Hilfiger or Lacoste logo on it. Other subjects were shown the same photos—only in digitally altered form showing the shirts adorned with a logo from a non-luxury brand, Slazenger. Subjects rated the luxury logo-wearing men as higher status and wealthier than those wearing the Slazenger logo.

    Next, the researchers tried to see if that perception would affect how logo-wearing people are treated by others. A volunteer wearing a luxury logo on her sweater asked people at a mall to stop and take a survey. About 52 percent agreed to take the survey. When the volunteer wore a sweater without a logo, only 13 percent stopped to take the survey. Volunteers wearing logos who asked people to donate to charity also got double the money than when they switched to non-logo clothes. And, perhaps most significantly, subjects recommended a logo-wearing job interviewee for a 9 percent higher salary than the same man without the logo who interviewed for the job.

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  • Conservatives, NAACP say states send too many people to jail

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    The NAACP unveiled a new report [PDF] urging states to lock away fewer prisoners for drug offenses, and to redirect some of the massive amount of money that goes to jails to schools. The report picked up endorsements from a few politically strange bedfellows: former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist, the conservative activist who founded Americans for Tax Reform.

    "You have Tea Party activists and NAACP activists pushing the same bills," the civil rights group's president Ben Jealous said during a PBS NewsHour report, referencing the prison reform movement in Texas.

    This alliance is perhaps even more surprising given that only last July, the NAACP was accusing the tea party of racism, prompting one tea party leader to write an offensive letter to Jealous in the voice of Abraham Lincoln. Apparently the animosity has been buried as conservatives target the growing prison system (thanks to years of "tough on crime" policies) as part of their crusade against big government.

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  • School district must pay millions in back pay to foreign teachers

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    The Department of Labor says Maryland's Prince George's County school district owes $4.2 million in back wages to 1,000 foreign teachers, many of whom paid hefty recruiting fees in their home countries to be able to travel to the United States and land the jobs. The district also must pay a $1.7 million fine for breaking the law, the Labor Department says.

    The law says the school district cannot employ workers with H1-B temporary visas if they pay the foreign teachers less than they do American ones. The recruiting and immigration legal fees paid by the teachers--most of whom are from the Philippines--reduces their total compensation to less than American teachers' and thus breaks the law, the Department found. The county said they won't renew the visas for "non-critical" teachers because of budget cuts this year, according to the Manila Bulletin.

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  • NYC schools chief steps down

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    Cathie Black, the leader of the country's largest school system, is stepping down just a few months after being appointed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the mayor announced today.

    She will be replaced by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott. The news was first broken by NY1.

    Black was dogged by criticism over her lack of experience in the education world, and thousands of people signed a petition seeking to block her appointment in November. She was displaced as president of Hearst magazines before she was tapped for the job, and Bloomberg said she would bring her business acumen to New York's schools.

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  • Another air traffic controller fell asleep on the job

    3462-000064 (1)Well this is worrisome. The Federal Aviation Administration announced it is seeking to fire a second air traffic controller who was found asleep on the job. The action comes a couple of weeks after two jets were forced to land on their own at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport when the tower's sole controller fell asleep.

    The controller in this episode was found "intentionally" sleeping, the FAA said. He made a bed on the floor for himself with a blanket and cushions on a Feb. 19 nightshift in a Knoxville, Tennessee airport. Another controller was forced to pick up his slack, handling seven flights alone after pilots received radio silence from the first controller, ABC News reports.

    A 2009 GQ feature on New York's LaGuardia airport control tower said a shrinking workforce and lower pay has left controllers exhausted and demoralized, and our skies less safe.

    (Stock image: Getty)

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  • FIRST LOOK: Still no deal on the federal budget

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news.

    • The congressional stalemate over the federal budget continues after a late-night meeting with Obama. (New York Times)

    • A budget shutdown would have a significant negative effect on the economy. (Washington Post)

    • Radio Shack stores in Idaho and Montana are offering free guns to people who sign up for satellite TV. (Reuters)

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  • Latino leaders pressure Obama over deportations

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    President Obama is facing heated criticism from Latino leaders and opinion-makers over his administration's aggressive use of deportation as a tool of immigration enforcement. But Obama appears to be fully committed to maintaining a policy that has achieved a record level of deportations, telling a town hall last week it would not be "appropriate" for him to intervene to slow down pending deportation proceedings.

    Dozens of grassroots immigrant rights groups are starting a campaign called "Change Takes Courage" to prod Obama to rethink his position and stop the deportation of immigrants who entered illegally or who have expired visas but have committed no other crime. (To enter the country illegally is a misdemeanor, but overstaying a visa is not a criminal offense.)

    The coalition says that Obama should defer deportation orders for young students whose parents brought them into the United States as children and would have been legalized by the DREAM Act if they joined the military or graduated college. The DREAM Act legislation  failed in the Senate in December, with Republican lawmakers arguing that it amounted to "amnesty" and would encourage illegal immigration.

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