A lesson in constitutional ignorance, Claire’s graduation, don’t mess with Mr. Zero, Williston residents losing their city and homes to oil, and dealing with it.
1) A LESSON IN CONSTITUTIONAL IGNORANCE
The seniors at St. Charles High School graduated on Sunday, apparently without ever being taught about the U.S. Constitution. How could they have been, considering the educators required them to take breathalyzer tests before getting their diplomas? A parent told WCCO as soon as he heard from his son that he was tested at school, he drove there to instruct the educators on probable cause. It didn’t work.
Students say they were called in the gym Friday morning and were told that they would be given the breathalyzer or they would not participate in commencement, KDSK reported.
“It felt like we had to go along with it,” student Carter Swenson told the station. “I’ve been told that if you’re 18 you can reject the breathalyzer, and we’re all 18, so I had no idea you can do that, so I went in there and took it, but I felt like it was forced.”
It felt forced? Why do you think that is, kid?
Not one teacher — a history or civics teacher, perhaps — stood up to point out the obvious? (forehead slap)
Perhaps if they go on to college, the students will find out about the importance of the Constitution.
Related: The University of Montana has backed away from a plan to require those attending a fundraising ball to take a breathalyzer test.
In Westborough, Massachusetts, school administrators dropped a plan to test students suspected of drug/alcohol use after a public outcry.
2) DON’T MESS WITH MR. ZERO
Students who took Lynden Dorval’s physics and science classes at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton knew that if they didn’t hand in an assignment, there would be consequences: a mark of zero. A week and a half ago, the school board suspended him for unprofessional behavior and for “negatively impacting student achievement,” the Globe and Mail says.
No-fail grading policies (which have been tried, and abandoned, in many other places) arose from the same self-esteem movement that brought us prizes for all. The idea is that kids who feel good about themselves will succeed. The problem is that they will eventually encounter the real world, where self-esteem won’t get you far if you don’t show up or do the work. Politicians and school boards also like no-fail policies because they are desperate to improve graduation rates. That’s a real problem in Edmonton, where young men have a habit of dropping out to take lucrative jobs in the oil patch. Edmonton’s education superintendent has boasted that his goal is to increase graduation rates to 100 per cent.
CBC’s As it Happens talked to him the other evening and he’s become a big hero among the “get tough with kids” crowd. But other educators say what he’s doing doesn’t help anything because “zeroes” don’t motivate students, it makes them shut down and give up.
3) UPDATE: CLAIRE’S GRADUATION
Claire Frick got her diploma. The Roseville Area High School senior was diagnosed with a deadly childhood cancer at 16, and on Valentine’s Day this year, she found out the cancer had spread to her brain and there was nothing more that could be done. She died in March, just a few days after the Pioneer Press chronicled the struggle.
But she had accumulated enough credits to graduate and on Friday, she did.
Find the moment at the 55:47 mark at this video from CTV North Suburbs.
We did not know at the time of her death that she had been given her diploma shortly before she died.
(h/t: Jim Hartmann)
4) WILLISTON RESIDENTS LOSING THEIR CITY AND HOMES TO OIL
Who’s getting steamrolled by the big business of the oil boom in North Dakota? The usual suspects. In Williston, the Fargo Forum reports, about 30 people, including families with single moms and people on fixed incomes, have been evicted from their apartments. The building was sold to an oil company. One single mom found some housing — four hours away in Montana — and commutes back to Williston each day to run her cleaning business.
5) DEALING WITH IT
When the floods come and the times are tough, we’re given few choices: Deal with it or don’t deal with it. This film about the 2011 floods in Thailand is showing people who dealt with it.
Bonus: You know, of course, I’d be interested in today’s Pioneer Press write-up about the big airshow in Mankato this weekend and the flight one of its reporters took with a performer. I doubt the reporter knew that the plane/pilot used as a backdrop on the piece was actually the most famous aerobatic pilot in the business. This guy:
Recent medical studies have cast doubt on long-held ideas about health – namely that salt causes hypertension and that lots of exercise is good for us. Today’s Question: At times of shifting opinions about health, how do you decide whose advice to follow?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: President Obama’s evolution as commander in chief.
Second hour: Why your 20s matter.
Third hour: Musician Chris Koza.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): On the 65th anniversary of The Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, a speech by historian Mark Stoler about George C. Marshall.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Who needs a labor union?
Second hour: Blues legend Buddy Guy.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Many people say the constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall that would define marriage is a bigger factor motivating them to vote than the presidential election. This includes people on both sides of the issue, and groups on both sides hope to use the passion around the issue to decide the issue. MPR’s Catharine Richert will have the story.
Four years ago, a young, athletic Wall Street banker invested in a bicycle. Evelyn Stevens was a rookie cyclist, but not for long. She quit her day job, became a national cycling champion, and is now on the U.S. Olympic team. NPR provides a profile.