Would "Learn and Earn" help Orange students?

Guest Post by Terri Buckner

Gov. Mike Easley recently announced a new program designed to provide incentive for high school students to remain in school, earn an associate's degree and prepare them for high-skilled jobs in new and emerging industries. "Learn and Earn" will provide students with the option of a five-year high school program that enables them to earn a high school diploma and a community college associate degree while gaining necessary skills to pursue a career in the new economy.

"Our schools have done a tremendous job providing rigorous course work to prepare students for college," said Easley. "However, for students who plan on entering the workforce, what is needed is a more relevant educational experience that will prepare them to compete in the global marketplace."

Durham is one of the pilot sites this fall, and Chatham will go online next fall.

Orange County School Board Race

A lot of folks don't seem to want to talk about anything but the Orange County School Board race and it's ugly twin sister, the merger debate. Here's an open thread for those people so they can stop hijacking other topics of interest to the rest of us. Enjoy.

And the magic number is... 420

At the Carrboro board meeting tonight, there was a presentation and public comment period concerning the new "Carrboro Senior High School". One of the striking things about the initial plan is that, despite adhering to environmentally sound building design principles, the overall layout of the school still encourages the same kind of sprawl as usual. There was a disconnect between the idea of "green building" and "sustainable" development practices. For instance, the school will be extremely energy efficient and will even catch rainwater to flush toilets, but there will be 420 parking spaces and the current layout of the road system puts the nearest bus stop to the school much further away than most of the parking spaces. In a world where many of our life lessons are learned in high school, it seems like the school board would be interested in designing a school that encouraged students to use public transit or bike to school and that left a small footprint on the landscape.

Should Keith Cook Resign?

Folks may have heard that Orange County School Board Chairman Keith Cook cribbed his commencement speech delivered at Orange County High School last week. This is a serious infraction given the problems with plagiarism among students and the efforts by teachers to prevent it. Cook surely ought to be a role model in such matters.

Perhaps even worse than Cook’s plagiarism is his continuing denial of it. He initially denied it to the Herald reporter. Moments ago, he told the WCHL reporter that it was not plagiarism because he did not know who wrote the speech and that what was important was the content. He might talk to any English or history teacher to find out just how important they would consider the content if a student turned in a speech by Donna Shalala.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Murray embarrassed WCHL by repeatedly agreeing with Cook that it was inadvertent plagiarism. Yet Cook admits to making a web search for “graduation speeches” and making liberal use of the one he found. That is intentional plagiarism even if he did not trouble himself to find out who the author was.

Calling All Friends of Bill W.

This isn't politics, but it's terrifying nevertheless. The most saddening part is hearing a teenager in high school argue that throwing down some liquor is the only way to unwind after a hard week. How many harder weeks and months and years have some of us brought on ourselves by thinking like that?

I'm not as shocked by the idea of teenage drinking as I am by the professed attitude, expressed at such a young age: that alcohol is a routine comfort, and sometimes the only comfort.

I never believed in the scared straight bull. It surely never worked for me. But, damn, I'm sorry for some of these kids. There's a big world out there waiting to smack them around for no discernible reason during much of the next 70 years of their lives, and they talk as if they're exempt from the sorts of tragedies and miscalculations that we bring on ourselves.

Anyway, read for yourself:

High School Students Say Drinking Safe, Strictly Social



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