Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 40

Mary Kay Letourneau Says First Kiss with Her Student-Turned-Husband 'Seemed Very Right'

By Steve Helling

Notorious former school teacher and sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau is speaking out — and she knows that her relationship with husband Vili Fualaau is still every bit as controversial as it was in 1996, when she was 34 and he was her 12-year-old sixth-grade student.

“[It] sounds young, I get it,” Letourneau, now 56, said on Tuesday night’s Autobiography, on A&E. “He was young, I get it. Am I sorry that he’s the father of my children? No I’m not.”

Both Letourneau and Fualaau cooperated for the show after years living in relative seclusion in Washington. As they spoke about their relationship, Fualaau, now 34, said that he made the first move and asked his teacher if he could kiss her.

“She said, ‘Only a coward would ask,’ ” he recalled.

“Twenty years later, people ask how it turned into romance,” Letourneau said. “Back in the day, I accepted the kiss, you know. I did. He wasn’t my student when that happened. For some reason, the kiss, it seemed very right.”

Their relationship first turned physical right after the end of the school year.

Fualaau said on A&E that, “after the kiss, we kind of made it official that we are kind of a thing now.”

That “thing” ended up landing Letourneau in prison for seven years.

Full story at People (May 2018)

‘I’d give it a D’: English teacher picks apart White House letter for 'bad grammar'

U.S. President Donald Trump signing an order © Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

After receiving a letter signed by US President Donald Trump, a retired English teacher checked its grammar and posted her corrections online, earning both praise as "a hero" and scorn for being "sanctimonious and self-serving."

Yvonne Mason, an English teacher of 17 years who retired last year, has landed in the spotlight after she posted a picture of the Trump-signed letter she received in March. It was a response to her earlier letter calling on Trump to personally meet with the relatives of the Parkland shooting that left 17 people dead in February. Far from being elated that someone in the Trump administration took the trouble to respond, Mason scrutinized the letter for mistakes, finding as many as 11. That is discounting stylistic choices and the excessive use of the pronoun "I."

"It's stylistically appalling," Mason said, speaking to Greenville News.

At the center of Mason’s grievances, however, were the cases of what she believed to be instances of improper capitalization of words such as “state,”“nation,” “federal” and “president.” In her corrections written in the letter’s margins, she noted that words relating to the government are only capitalized when they are part of proper nouns.

Some commenters were quick to point out that the supposed "mistakes" in capitalization are actually in line with an actual style manual used by government officials.

“What you don’t seem to realize, Ms. Mason, is that President Trump’s letter written following guidelines set by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual, which is available for purchase online,” Patricia Pedigo-Dunn wrote.

Trump, meanwhile, is known to take liberties with capitalization, often using it for emphasis in his tweets.

Full story at RT News (May 2018)

Young people really ARE getting more stupid: IQs have started to fall by seven points per generation in 'pretty worrying' trend, scientists discover

• IQs had risen every decade since World War II but have now begun to fall again

• Scientists say the trend, started by those born after 1975, is 'pretty worrying'

• Study comes after earlier research showed eating fish increases IQ levels

By Isabella Fish

Young people's IQ scores have started to deteriorate after climbing steadily since Wold War Two, a new study has found.

The fall, which equates to about seven points per generation, is believed to have begun with those born in 1975, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.

The drop in scores marks the end of a trend – known as the Flynn effect – which has seen average IQs rise for the past 60 to 70 years by roughly three points a decade.

Dunces? Young people's IQs are falling by 7 points per generation in 'pretty worrying' trend

Scientists have described the results as 'impressive' but 'pretty worrying', according to the Times.

The decline is do with a difference in technique in the way languages and maths are taught in schools, scientists have suggested.

However, it could also be down to people spending more time on technological devices instead of reading books.

Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh who did not take part in the research, told the newspaper: 'This is the most convincing evidence yet of a reversal of the Flynn Effect.

'If you assume their model is correct, the results are impressive, and pretty worrying.'

Full story at Mail Online (June 2018)

How China’s Communist Party maintains control over international students

A paramilitary policeman keeps watch underneath the portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, China June 4, 2018. Source: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

By Louisa Kendal

CHINA’S Communist Party has been accused of using international students and universities as political tools to spread its influence around the world.

‘Political branches’ on university campuses outside China, censorship of course content and using students to investigate academic research are raising alarm bells regarding academic and individual freedom.

Chinese students make up the largest international student market, meaning their cultural influence on the academic community could change the global education environment.

‘Political branches’ or cells are reportedly being used in universities to prevent students from being influenced by ‘bad ideas’ that contradict the party’s ideology and to keep tabs on what they are doing, saying and even thinking, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

The groups have meetings and discussions to encourage Chinese students to remain patriotic to China and stay informed about President Xi Jinping’s ideology and policies.

Last year, seven Chinese students at the University of Science and Technology in Dalian set up a Communist Party branch which held discussion meetings around the theme “combating various kinds of negative influences on our thinking while overseas”, reported RFA.

This photo taken on June 4, 2018 shows a high school student waving the national flag as he takes part in a rally for relieving stress, two days ahead of the upcoming annual “Gaokao” or college entrance examinations in China, in Haikou in China’s southern Hainan province. Source: AFP

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as campuses in Ohio, New York, Connecticut, North Dakota and West Virginia also have political branches.

“When you leave [China], the environment is different, and one will inevitably come into contact with all manner of bad ideas,” Shao Shunling, business school lecturer and secretary of Yiwu College’s temporary party branch in New Zealand, said on the college’s website.

“After we went back to China, we had one-on-one meetings with our teachers. We talked about ourselves and others’ performance abroad,” an international student told Foreign Policy. “We had to talk about whether other students had some anti-party thought.”

Full story at Asian Correspondent (June 2018)

Taiwanese international school denies racist job ad reflects hiring policy

By Keoni Everington

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A day after a teacher from Kang Chiao International School (康橋國際學校) posted a job ad on a Facebook group on June 11 alleging that it would not hire English teachers who were "black or dark skinned," the company issued an official statement denying that it engages in such discriminatory hiring practices and said that it was a misunderstanding on the part of the teacher.

In an official statement released yesterday (June 13) at 1:17 p.m. on its Facebook page, the company said that it hires its teachers based on their qualifications and experience and it "does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation." In response to the backlash over the job ad posted on Facebook, the company said "we are strongly opposed to discriminatory employment practices."

As to the origin of the post, the school explained that it had not created the ad, but rather it was written by a teacher who was trying to help recruit substitute teachers, reported Apple Daily. However, she misunderstood some of the school's regulations, the post was incorrect, and it was not based on the schools recruitment requirements, according to the report.

The school stressed that the teacher took the initiative to post the advertisement herself and after school officials were informed of the text of the ad, she was asked to take it down immediately.

The New Taipei City Education Bureau said that it will send officials to the school this afternoon to investigate the matter and to verify that its recruitment practices are in keeping with the Statute for Preschool Educators (教保服務人員條例). The bureau stated that any violations of the the Statute for Preschool Educators and the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法) would be punished in accordance with the law.

A teacher from Kang Chiao, who spoke to Taiwan News on the condition of anonymity, said that students, faculty and staff were all shocked by the post. The teacher insisted that school employs a diverse range of nationalities and ethnicities:

"We have a lot of foreign teachers at our campus including Chinese, Caucasian (American, Canadian, South African, British, Australian, etc.), African-American, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. The teaching staff is truly nationally and ethnically diverse and there is no discrimination against anyone. In fact, we currently have quite a few non-caucasian foreign staff occupying coordinator positions."

Full story at Taiwan News (June 2018)

Boy donates eight months' savings to Tabung Harapan

Instead of buying the drum set of his dreams, Ervin Devadason (second from right) chose to donate his savings over the past eight months to Tabung Harapan Malaysia. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

By Keoni Everington

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Ervin Devadason had been saving his pocket money over the past eight months to buy the drum set of his dreams.

But the primary school student chose to donate all eight months' worth of his savings today to Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM).

“During and after the elections, I followed the news closely and saw that Malaysia needed help, so I decided to donate whatever I have as my part to contribute.

“I have been saving up about eight months and I was planning to buy a drum set with the money,” said Devadason, who just turned 12 years old last Thursday.

At the symbolic event at the DAP Segambut parliamentary office here, Devadason was given the honour of handing over his coin bank to DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang.

The amount, however, was not disclosed, as Devadason had yet to calculate the total sum collected.

Full story at Malay Mail (June 2018)