M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘schools

Development of a story idea: Rooting for the home team? There’s a PAC for that

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Over at msnbc.com, where I hang my professional hat, I have a piece today examining the intersection of big-time sports and political activism in Washington:

If you’re among the many Americans who believe lobbyists are part of what’s wrong with this country, you should know this: If you’ve ever gone to a football, baseball, basketball or hockey game — or even watched one on TV — you have your own special interest groups pushing your agenda in Washington.

Even Ralph Nader is working for you. …

Leaders of the groups push a number of different agendas — fighting soaring ticket prices, league lockouts and television-rights deals that black out some fans, among others — but they come together on one issue: what they see as the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s exploitation of athletes and fans for profit.

Many believe the answer is to scrap the Bowl Championship Series, which purports to pit the two best college football teams in the country for the national championship, even though its postseason matchups are determined by pollsters and computers, not by on-the-field competition.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alex

October 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

Police Blotter of the Day: TV station gets it wrong (was: Inattentive jogger slams back of school bus)

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Update: The Greensboro News & Record reports that this story is wrong in just about every particular. Making a point to call out the station by name, it quotes the woman’s husband and the police incident report as saying that she did not run into a stopped bus and that she was not distracted by her mp3 player. Worse, it says, she was quite seriously injured.

Thank you to NCDawn, who alerted me to this in the comments.

Full story (News & Record)

“A jogger who Greensboro police said wasn’t paying attention was injured by running into the back of a stopped bus at about 8 a.m. …

“No charges were filed.”

 

Full story (WGHP-TV of Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Written by Alex

June 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

Teacher layoffs raise class-size tensions

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Video: NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.

Video: Higher projected classroom sizes have sparked a debate on whether student performance will suffer. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.

As governments struggle to reduce education deficits, they are considering closing thousands of schools and laying off huge numbers of teachers. What will that do to class sizes, and what will it mean for pupils?

In fact, research into whether smaller classes actually improve academic performance is extensive but contradictory.

“Probably few issues in education have been studied as often as class size, yet few studies have produced satisfactory or consistent results,” said researchers at Health and Education Research Operative Services, a nonprofit foundation that studies education programs nationwide.

Full story (Rehema Ellis, Victor Limjoco and Alex Johnson/NBC News)

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Written by Alex

March 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Schools cut lunch options for kids who struggle to pay

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New federal nutrition regulations are in the works that could put an even bigger strain on the finances of already-struggling school meal programs. To encourage eligible children to sign up for federally subsidized free or reduced-price meals, some meal programs are serving them shrunken “alternate” lunches, often just two slices of bread, a slice of cheese and a 4-ounce juice cup.

If a school can get more eligible children enrolled, its direct costs go down because the federal government picks up more of the bill. Slenderized lunches, administrators say, are simply part of an aggressive campaign to make families aware of the benefit and get them signed up.

“If they need assistance, we give them assistance,” said Wayne Nagy, the Lee County district’s food and nutrition services director. But “if they don’t need assistance, we expect them to pay.”

Is that a creative way to address a shortage of school funding, or is it just punishing lower-income children? Hit the comments and let me know.

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

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Written by Alex

February 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

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