State Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, reports the Senate has killed a bill that would have barred all childhood circumcisions without exception.
In a letter to the Jewish Boston mailing list, an aide to Creem (who represents Newton and Brookline), wrote:
As you know, Senator Creem, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, made sure the Committee voted on this bill with an "ought not to pass" recommendation. Although there are literally hundreds of bills that the Committee declines to take favorable action on each session, it is highly unusual for a bill to get this unfavorable designation; in fact, so far this session S. 1777 is the only such bill. Most recently, on Tuesday, April 20th, the full Senate accepted this adverse report. Now, nothing more can happen this session, and Sen. Creem will continue to monitor any attempt to move such a bill in the future.
State Sen. Michael Morrissey of Quincy had introduced the "Massachusetts State Prohibition of Genital Mutilation Act" at the request of a constituent. As you might expect, the proposal drew a hail of criticism from Jewish groups, who argued the measure would violate their freedom of religion.
UPDATE: Parents called 911 to report the girl missing around 9:40 p.m., almost five hours after police found her. "District detectives along with Department of Children and Families will further investigate this incident to determine what if any action will be taken," police say.
Officers canvassed the area knocking on doors from Puritan Ave, to Geneva Ave. to Olney Street without any success in finding a parent/guardian for the child. The child was transported to the hospital for an evaluation but a parent/guardian has yet to be located.
BPS Lottery Reform wants so-far-unspecified changes to the lottery system that determines which, if any, public pre-school, or which kindergarten a Boston student gets into. Basic argument: If you lose the lottery, your kid is consigned to the scholastic equivalent of a cardboard box under the highway ramp for all of elementary school, so let's end busing and use the money to fix up all the bad schools.
Via Geeky Mama.
Ed. conflicted note: We "won" the lottery for kindergarten (didn't try for K-1, kidlet went to pre-school at a community center) and she takes the bus to school in another neighborhood, so obviously we benefit from the current system.
Boston Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for Jeffrey Cooper, 15, last seen at his East Boston home around 7:30 p.m. yesterday. The 15-year-old is autistic and may have trouble communicating his needs. He like trains and might be in the South End or near Boston Garden. He's been spotted on the Red Line in Quincy, and has disappeared before.
If you see him, contact A-7 detectives at 617-343-4234 or the anonymous tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting TIP to CRIME (27463).
It's not every day you get to see a laser show at the Cambridge Public Library, but that is exactly the event that will kick off the 4th Annual Cambridge Science Festival.
The festival will run from April 24-May 2, 2010, with hundreds of events taking place throughout Cambridge. Organized by MIT, the festival will feature over 200 workshops, demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, talks, performances and more, open to the public, and almost all of it free. The idea behind the festival is to make science and technology accessible and fun for people of all ages and backgrounds. It all kicks off with a free Science Carnival featuring a specially commissioned laser show and 89 booths of fun experiments and demonstrations for all ages, Saturday, April 24th, 12pm-4pm, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Laser show begins at Noon.
Other highlights of this year's festival include:
“Big Ideas for Busy People” on Festival Eve, April 23rd. This free event is a short series of talks on mind-bending concepts from leading local researchers in a variety of scientific fields.
Jennie Ferreira reports City Year member Sam Cohen took a bit of poetic license with Ke$sha's "Tic Toc" to help kids at the Condon School in South Boston get ready for some MCAS testing:
MCAS- Study hard, teacher filling up my brain
MCAS- It's a blast, doing hard questions last
Underline, take your time
Because the clock don't stop (Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh)
At least, that's what the Boston Teachers Union is proposing because of the proximity of Rosh Hashana and Labor Day, the Herald reports (Ed. Jewish note: Since when did BPS start caring about Jewish holidays?). BPS officials and City Councilor Steve Murphy want to deal with the issue by starting classes before Labor Day.
Geeky Mama reports her son got their first choice for a Boston Public School kindergarten:
... There are some very good things about the Curley, and my husband and I are going to talk it over tonight. Our second and third choice schools have very low wait list numbers, so if we don't take our names off those lists, I think there is a very good chance we will be placed there, probably soon. I think we have to decide whether we're done with the whole uncertainty thing and want to take our names off the wait list, or that whether things we like about Haley and Mozart (proximity, for one thing) outweigh the uncertainty part. ...
Geeky Mama reports school officials and civil-rights groups will meet March 27 to consider possible ways to save money on busing while ensuring families have access to decent schools - with the help of a federal grant.
In recent years, school officials have tried repeatedly to figure out a way to increase the number of assignment zones for elementary schools to reduce busing costs. They shelved the most recent plan - to go from three to five zones - last summer because most of the city's underperforming schools would have been lumped together in the same zone.
Mike Ball reports on a Boston School Committee budget hearing at Boston English last night; includes a chart showing proposed cuts or increases at a random collection of schools and considers the politics of it all.
The Globe reports the Boston School Committee last night put off any action on a proposal that would turn the Irving Middle School into a sort of Roslindale-only destination for the neighborhood's K-5 schools, after civil-rights activists complained it would mean a return to neighborhood schools. Parents argued Roslindale is one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods and that it is the only neighborhood in the city without K-8 schools. Also, Roslindale schools would remain open to students from other parts of the West Zone.
Ed. note: Yes, we live in Roslindale, but the issue doesn't affect us directly because the current busing system means the kidlet goes to a school in another neighborhood. But props to neighbors who are willing to invest their time and effort to help turn around what has traditionally been an underperforming school.
Ben Jackson worries that well meaning efforts to curb bullying are too vague when it comes to cyberbullying and could lead to school systems installing monitoring software on the computers their students use at home - as was done in one Pennsyslvania district:
... Any such legislation that mandates the protection of students must also mandate due process and protect the privacy of students, both the harassed and harassers. Otherwise we may start to see incidents like the one at [the Pennsylvania school] stop being the exception and start being the rule.
School Superintendent Carol Johnson yesterday called for a series of steps to meet an anticipated deficit in the school budget for next year.
Geeky Mama reports on a meeting last week of parents of kids at the Irving Middle School, parents of Roslindale elementary students (Roslindale has no K-8 programs) and School Superintendent Carol Johnson. Parents are loving new principal Arthur Unobskey and parents pushed for more extended-day programs.
School Superintendent Carol Johnson last night proposed opening three city-run charter schools as part of the answer to dealing with 14 failing schools across Boston - including English High, which is one of those schools and which is where the School Committee met.
Johnson, however, provided no details on the proposed new schools, such as where they would be. In addition, employees at six unnamed schools will all essentially lose their jobs and then have to reapply for them, she wants to merge two underperforming elementary schools with two better performing schools to create two new K-8 schools - and she wants to start working with existing, non-BPS charter schools on training and other ways to improve education in the city.
The Dorchester Reporter reports on the end of the Dorchester Central campus of Pope John Paul II Academy.
Geeky Mama uses BPS stats to figure out that last year, there were, at best, between 0.76 and 0.81 seats per applicant available for KI (pre-school) classes in West Roxbury, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain:
... The message to BPS – please add more K1 seats, soon.
Wicked Local West Roxbury has the latest on the strife-torn pride of the Parkway, which has now run up $9,000 in legal bills trying get back in the good graces of the national Little League.
Wicked Local Newton reports an atheist student at Newton South High School won the right to make up two tests he failed in an honors literature class because he refused to read the "Bible as literature" passages on which they were based. School officials say they're not pushing religion but using excerpts from the Bible to help students learn "the cultural traditions and allusions found in much of Western literature."