This is a legacy provincial website of the ATA. Visit our new website here.

Tales out of school

November 18, 2014 Compiled by Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

An assortment of stuff you could find on the Internet if you had the time

Be careful what you teach … and to whom

Judge: Haven’t I seen you before?

Defendant: Yes, your honour. I taught your daughter how to play the drums.

Judge: Twenty years!


Lofty letter campaign takes off

Retired Saskatchewan teacher Bruce Farrer is being featured in a WestJet ad thanks to a long-time assignment he conducted during his teaching days.

Between 1961 and his retirement in 2002, Farrer had his students write a 10-page letter to their future selves, encouraging them to ask themselves plenty of questions. He stockpiled the letters, then tracked down the addresses of his former students and mailed the letters — 10, 20 or 25 years after they’d been written.

The unique initiative caught the attention of WestJet, which had a film crew follow Farrer around for a few days, shooting footage for the company’s ad campaign entitled “Above and Beyond,” featuring the stories of Canadians whose actions fit the campaign’s title.

Farrer’s project left him with five boxes of letters by the time he’d retired.

“The last box is dated 2026. I’ll be in my 80s, hopefully still with it mentally, and able to find the last few students,” Farrer said.


Pennsylvania sued

Concerns over inadequate school funding have prompted two parents and several school districts to sue Pennsylvania’s governor, state education officials and legislative leaders.

The suit alleges that the state fails to uphold its constitutional obligation to educate children adequately, stating that, while leaders impose academic standards on children, they do not give them the resources to meet those standards.

Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states that lacks a codified funding formula.

“My child is in classes with too many other students, and she has no access to tutoring services or support from paraprofessionals, but our elected officials still expect and require her to pass standardized tests,” said parent Jamela Miller. “How are kids supposed to pass the tests required to graduate high school, find a job and contribute to our economy if their schools are starving for resources?”


No religious holidays

A request from Muslims to include Muslim holidays on next year’s school calendar has instead prompted Maryland’s largest school district to remove all religious labels, including Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas, and the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

The decision by Montgomery County’s Board of Education came after Muslim leaders in the community asked that the school calendar contain equal recognition of the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha.

Although the calendar will be stripped of all references to religious holidays, schools will still be closed for the Christian and Jewish holidays, and students will get the same days off as they did before.

Source: The Associated Press

Do your time, get a degree

A Houston, Texas emergency room doctor who had a gun pointed at his head and was tied up during a home invasion and robbery is looking to get even ... by paying for the education of his unknown attackers.

The only catch is that the perpetrators must turn themselves in and face the consequences of their actions.

“If you commit the crime you have to do the time, but once you get out, we’ll help you out,” said Victor Ho, 46. “Whether it’s a trade school, whether it’s higher education, I will support that all the way.”

While the attackers in the Oct. 17 incident wore masks, Ho believes they were in their late teens or early 20s.

“There was a young kid and I could tell he was nervous. He was shaking,” Ho said. “That’s the person I’m really targeting for this.”


Also In This Issue