Mike Penney, a teacher at Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School in Worcester, Massachusetts, invited his students to record their thoughts on the ups and downs of the school year, while secretly sneaking fellow teachers into the the video frame for some stealth disco. Then he set the footage to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."   H/T SP vis Gawker...

Golly, tons of reaction — on all sides — to cyber-libertarian Jeff Shallit's nomination of South Shore District School Superintendent Pynch-Worthylake as "Authoritarian High School Superintendent of the Month." (Apologies for the delayed posting; it's been a busy week.) Chris McCormick writes: I figure someone's right to express their opinion is balanced by my right to ignore them; the principal's reaction just valorizes the 'victim society' where we want to whitewash all differences and offending symbols...

[Update below] A Canadian Internet civil libertarian has named South Shore Regional School Board Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake "Authoritarian High School Superintendent of the Month" for placing student William Swinimer on five days suspension for wearing a shirt that read, "Life is wasted without Jesus." University of Waterloo computer science professor Jeffrey Shallit announced the tongue-in-cheek award on his Recursivity Blog, but his denunciation of Pynch-Worthylake's overreaction was anything but tongue-in-cheek: North American high schools are not places where free speech and criticism of authority are welcomed. Instead of teaching lessons about free speech, free expression, the Bill of Rights, and the Charter of...

At Premier Darrell Dexter's request, the Hollis Street facade of Province House shines green every night this week in honor of the Green Porch Light Project for Organ and Tissue Donation, a grass roots campaign in which supporters of organ and tissue donation turn their porch lights green to celebrate National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, April 23-28. As darkness began to settle over West End Halifax Wednesday night, Rosa Eileen Barss Donham got in the spirit with a green porch light and blue butterfly wings, symbol of Nova Scotia's Legacy of Life program. Rosa knows someone dear to her...

Julie Lyons of Halifax marked the first anniversary of her life-saving heart transplant this week, just in time for Monday's kickoff of National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week. Two years ago, Julie's congenital heart disease grew so severe she needed a Left Ventricular Assist Device, a mechanical pump implanted in her heart, and powered by a 10-pound pack of batteries that had to be changed every four hours. Last April, the pump became infected. Overnight, Julie shot to the top of the national heart transplant list. She had only days to live. Today, Julie has resumed her passion for gardening, she skated...

A Contrarian reader who does not identify himself, but who appears to work in the provincial school system, doesn't think much of my suggestions for two painless, cost-free steps the province could take to improve schools. To refresh your memory, these were (1) force school boards to implement modern hiring practices in place of the demeaning, talent-repelling, corruption-promoting way they now teachers; and (2) remove superintendents, senior managers, education department officials seconded from school boards, and non-teaching principals from belonging to the teachers' union. [T]he [hiring practices] you suggest...

I don't mean to be overly cranky with my former colleagues in the political journalism racket, but I could do with a little less psychoanalysis and a little more content in reports from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. CBC legislature reporter Jean Laroche's weekly debrief this morning  was long on the former and light on the latter. Premier Dexter, he explained, normally doesn't have a short fuse, but the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board's threat to decimate library staff caused him to blow his stack. The debate, opined Laroche, had an unusual, intensely personal character. Really? None of the clips Laroche played showed anything...

The Strait-Richmond Regional School Board cancelled classes in all schools today. Apparently there's a wicked storm underway. Thank God the children are safe. Not to mention the teachers and board administrators, union members all, right up to the superintendent. To be fair, there is snow visible in half of these highway cam images from the school board's catchment area, just none on the actual roads beings monitored. In case you missed Jim Meek's column on this subject in Saturday's Herald, you can find it here. Said Meek: My idea of hell is [CBC weather dude Peter] Coade broadcasting the weather forecast in an...

[caption id="attachment_9552" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Too damned many."][/caption] In response to my note about the 40-something Norwegian who had never seen a snow day until he came to Nova Scotia, Contrarian reader Joyce Rankin of Mabou Westmount blames consolidation of schools and secularization of society for the proliferation of snow days. Her response sparked a lively email debate. I remember we never used to have snow days either. But then again, we were close enough to school that we could walk. The questions to ask, for a proper comparison, would be how far children in Norway travel to school, and how far people drive to...