The Chatterbox | February 15
File under: "School matters"
- Local watchdog group PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education) said in a press release Monday that fines at Noble Street Charter School are “a hidden tax on Chicago’s Black and Latino families.” Starting with $5 citations for minor violations such as chewing gum and not making eye contact with teachers, Noble’s fine system, and fees for related behavior in classes, brought in nearly $190,000 just last year. For more on this story, take your pick—it showed up everywhere from the Sun-Times to Daily Kos to WBEZ to the Chicago News Cooperative.
- The New York Times has good news on the education front coming from a school district in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina. Through a series of tough budget decisions (including laying off teachers and having bigger class sizes), the district has become a leader in incorporating digital tech in the classroom. From fourth grade through senior year, every kid gets a leased MacBook Air—resulting in a significant uptick in test scores and student attendance.
File under: “About face”
- In a brief, strongly worded editorial, The New York Times responded Monday to an interview with Cardinal Edward Egan in February’s issue of Connecticut magazine. The Times board calls Egan’s retraction of a ten-year-old apology for the Catholic church’s mishandling of sexual-abuse allegations “a heartless and bewildering defense of his time as bishop.”
File under: "Things that make you go awwww"
- The Biebs made a young cancer patient's dream come true this week. Six-year-old Avalanna Routh, a Justin Bieber superfan who is battling a rare form of brain cancer called AT/RT, was treated to a "date" Monday after the mop-topped singer learned of the Facebook page "Get Avalanna to meet Justin Bieber". His peeps flew Avalanna and her family to New York where they enjoyed cupcakes, candy and board games with the pop star.
- Malachy the Pekingese won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show last night. Though we find his regal locks totes adorbs, the nine-pound pooch has taken some flack on the Interwebs since the win: He has been referred to as a caterpillar and a Tribble among other fuzzy jabs. (We will admit that Entertainment Weekly beat us to the "Whip My Hair" joke.)
- Oh happy day! One of our favorite studios—Aardman Animation, the team of British claymation geniuses behind Wallace & Gromit—have signed on as contributors to DC Nation, a block of superhero-centric Saturday-morning programming that debuts March 3 on Cartoon Network. In this clip, the Aardman peeps follow a formula honed in their short Creature Comforts: They use recordings of kids talking about the heroes to guide the animation. Funny and adorable? Yes, please.
File under: “Generation gap?”
The Columbus, Indiana Republic has a talker about what to do about tough-loving grandparents. What do you think?