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School district's social media coordinator fired for mocking student's tweet

A Maryland school employee is looking for a new job after her bosses fired her for mocking a student's social media post.

A student asked Frederick County Public Schools to "close school tammarow PLEASE" on the district's Twitter page, WHAG reported.

Katie Nash, the FCPS social media coordinator, was accused of responding to the student on the district's Twitter account, "But then how would you learn to spell 'tomorrow' :)".

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Nash met with supervisors for what she said was four minutes, then received a letter telling her that her probationary period as a web experience coordinator would end effective Jan. 13.

Nash said that the district was trying to be more interactive with students via social media.

She was hired in November to run the district's social media accounts, the Frederick News Post reported.

Despite the tweet going viral and receiving positive feedback, Nash was asked to delete the tweet while a FCPS supervisor called the student at the center of the spelling/tweet controversy to apologize.

The student wrote that he wasn't bothered by Nash's tweet and didn't take it personally.

Nash said she hopes the district learns from this experience how to use social media to reach out to the community.

94-year-old woman graduates college with honors

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

A 94-year-old woman got a big surprise after earning her bachelor's degree online with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

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Amy Craton, of Honolulu, has been keeping herself busy by taking online classes at Southern New Hampshire University.

Now, Craton is one of the oldest graduates to earn a bachelor's degree in the world.

"I couldn't see just sitting there watching Netflix all the time," she told WPVI.

Craton, who is a great grandmother, first enrolled in college in 1962. She didn't initially finish her collegiate career because she put her education on hold while she worked to raise and support her family. 

Although Craton wasn't able to attend the recent graduation ceremony in person in New Hampshire, SNHU's president, Paul LeBlanc, hand-delivered Craton's Creative Writing and English degree on a special trip to Hawaii. LeBlanc even surprised her with a party.

"Amy is an extraordinary student. At the age of 94, she earned a degree that was 54 years in the making and with a 4.0 GPA no less," LeBlanc said. "Amy is the epitome of a lifelong learner, and my hope is that her story will remind others that it's never too late to follow their dreams or learn something new. The entire SNHU community could not be more proud of her accomplishment."

"It feels good to graduate, but in many ways I feel I am still on the road," Craton said. "I have more to learn."

Craton said she plans to get her Master's degree next.

"I'm trying to live my life to the fullest," she told WPVI. "You have to live. You have to learn as long as you can. Go to college, go to college. Don't be afraid of it."

School social media director fired after correcting student's misspelled tweet

A woman who served as a social media coordinator for a Maryland public school system said she was fired on Friday after sending a tweet that corrected a student’s spelling, the Frederick News-Post reported.

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Katie Nash was managing the Twitter feed for the Frederick County Public Schools. On Jan. 5, one student tweeted to the school’s account, @FCPSMaryland, asking to close schools “tammarow.”

Nash responded through @FCPSMaryland, “But then how would you learn how to spell ‘tomorrow?’ :)”

The tweet drew more than 1,000 retweets and likes and even earned a hashtag, #KatiefromFCPS, according to the News-Post. 

Nash and the student exchanged other tweets and the student insisted that he didn’t mind the lighthearted spelling correction. Nash told the News-Post that she was initially told not to tweet anymore, but still had access to the Twitter account. She added that she continued to tweet out school updates, but at the end of the school day Friday she was told she had been fired. She began working as the school district’s web experience coordinator in November, the News-Post reported. 

The tweets have since been deleted. 

Michael Doerrer, a district spokesman, told the News-Post that Nash was no longer employed with the school system, but he couldn’t comment on the circumstances.

 “As a new employee, I think I sort of would have expected that there would have been some counseling or some suggestions on how to improve,” Nash told the News-Post. She added that she had not received any direction about the tone of the account.

“Any social media manager is looking for increasing engagement, and that’s sort of the expected parameter,” she said. “I think a conversation about how we engage with students would have been completely appropriate and I would have welcomed that.”

One group has organized an online petition to urge the school district to give Nash her job back.

@FCPSMaryland's new celebrity: #KatiefromFCPS and her infamous tweet https://t.co/26b1kNPouV via @jbeowulf pic.twitter.com/uQ7QvFr4ju— Frederick News-Post (@frednewspost) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I applaud #katiefromFCPS for knowing her audience. @FCPSMaryland board, don't be on social media unless you want to be social.— Colleen Murphy (@ColleenMurphDog) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//<oembedblock id="ULxXNwpO8Ha9eyB" oembed="platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"/>" charset="utf-8"></script</center></p> <p><center><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">As a parent/coach it is imperative to find engaging ways to comm. and connect. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/katiefromFCPS?src=hash">#katiefromFCPS</a> nailed it and <a href="https://twitter.com/FCPSMaryland">@FCPSMaryland</a> dropped the ball.</p>— Chris Meinberg (@MeinBender) <a href="https://twitter.com/MeinBender/status/818825212951220224">January 10, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//<oembedblock id="UXsrUan9PNxB5sO" oembed="platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"/>" charset="utf-8"></script>

. @FCPSMaryland is more than a single person. TY to all who have expressed love this week. It isn't about #katiefromFCPS or #FreeKatie ...— Katie Nash (@katienash) January 13, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

High school math homework contains inappropriate questions

Officials at a Pennsylvania high school have apologized after students received sexually inappropriate questions for a homework assignment, including subjects about sexual assault and prostitution.

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KYW reported that a math equation given to students at Pennridge High School in Perkasie follows up with a multiple choice statement: "Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ___ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing." 

After doing the math, the answer choices were boyfriend, brother or father, KYW reported. 

The next question also references Angelou, with the statement that "Trying to work as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and ___."

Students then had to work out the equation and fill in the blank either with bookie, drug dealer or nightclub dancer, KYW reported. 

Pennridge School District officials said in a statement that the assignment was “downloaded from a website that allows teachers around the world to share educational resources.

"It is not part of our approved curriculum."

The district apologized for the question and said they have taken steps to make sure that never happens again, KYW reported.

Really? @PennridgeSD has good staff but some are terrible. This is what some low-grade staff thinks is ok to put on a test @PennridgeHS pic.twitter.com/LPkOHLITxe— Pennridge Reform (@PennridgeReform) January 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Report: Average college degree pays off by age 34

Students receiving their college degrees face many challenges as they enter the workforce, but one of the biggest hurdles is financial. If you take out a loan, it has to be paid back. For those wondering if the cost was worth it, rest assured that it was. It might just take a few years to realize that value, CNN reported.

It takes an average of 12 years to recoup the cost of getting your bachelor's degree, according to a new report from The College Board. In other words, you will have earned enough money to repay the cost of your degree and make up for your time out of the workforce by the age of 34.

College graduates with full-time jobs earned a median of 67 percent more than high school grads in 2016, CNN reported. And the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds who hold a bachelor's degree was 2.6 percent in 2016. That’s more than 5 percent below the rate for workers who only had a high school education.

College grads are also more likely to exercise, vote, and less likely to smoke, according to the College Board report.

The report assumes that students graduated in four years, paid an interest rate of 4.3 percent on the student loan and paid off the debt in 10 years, CNN reported. That’s not always the case.

The median income for 30- to 34-year-olds is $40,944 for those with a bachelor's degree and $31,807 for those with no higher than a high school diploma, according to the report.

Poet criticizes Texas state test after not being able to answer questions on poems she wrote

A woman has taken issue with a state standardized test that uses one of her poems after she found herself incapable of correctly answering questions on poems that she herself had written.

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Poet Sara Holbrook says in a contributed Huffington Post piece that some of her poems was used in the the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, a standardized test across grades three through eight that covers various subjects.

"When I realized I couldn’t answer the questions posed about two of my own poems on the Texas state assessment tests (STAAR Test), I had a flash of panic – oh, no! Not smart enough," Holbrook wrote about her stressful experience with Texas’ infamous standardized test.

In the Wednesday post, Holbrook makes a case against placing too much importance on the results of standardized tests.

"Kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the so-called correct answer to made-up questions," she said.

Holbrook, who was emailed questions on her poems by an eighth-grade English teacher in Texas, includes the specific test questions she has difficulty answering and writes that, "any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the author is a big baloney sandwich."

In a follow-up Facebook post about the Huffington Post piece, Holbrook said she was paid $175 for each poem used. 

Holbrook  wrote that the solution is for parents to reject the system of standardized tests: "The only way to stop this nonsense is for parents to stand up and say, 'No more.'"

 What did you do on your holiday break? I wrote this. Backstory: the outrage had been building in me since visiting...Posted by Sara Holbrook on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Art teacher changed a student’s grade for $50; now he’s being fined

Two years ago, a student at Don Estridge High Tech Middle School found a quick, easy way to fix a failing grade in art class: the student’s parent donated $50 for classroom art supplies.

In exchange for the donation, state officials say, art teacher Torrey Green changed the student’s class grade from an F to a B.

The Palm Beach County School District did not fire Green – records show he’s still teaching at Don Estridge Middle, a public school in Boca Raton.

>> Read more trending stories 

But now the state’s Education Practices Commission has ruled that Green’s actions violated Florida’s teacher conduct rules, and they’ve handed down a punishment.

Green, 40, will be fined $750 and will have to spend three years on probation, which requires paying an additional $150 a year to cover the administrative costs of his probation.

He will also have to take and pass a college-level class in education ethics.

The state commission weighed the case in October sent a letter to Green on Dec. 1.

“By your actions, you have lessened the reputation of all who practice our profession,” wrote Christina Basso, a Miami-Dade County teacher who is the commission’s presiding officer. “The profession cannot condone your actions, nor can the public who employ us.”

It’s not clear what – if any – punishment Green received from the school district. The district’s offices were closed this week for the winter break, and a spokeswoman said no information about the case was immediately available.

Green, who has worked at the school for more than a decade, blamed the incident on a lapse in judgment that stemmed from his yearslong battle with chronic kidney problems.

“A month prior to this incident, I had been in a coma for two weeks,” he said in a written statement. “I returned to school before I was ready because I felt an obligation to the students, and I had a lapse in judgment as a result of going to work before I was mentally and physically well enough.”

In 2014, Green was featured in news stories as the school and students’ families raised thousands of dollars for him to fly to New York for a life-saving kidney operation, thanks to a New Jersey woman who saw a story about his predicament on TV and offered to donate one of her kidneys.

The surgery was a success, according to a report by New York TV station PIX 11.

Arizona now requires cursive be taught in schools

Arizona has made some big decisions regarding state public school education standards as they relate to the federal guidelines of Common Core.

It's being called Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards.

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Among the headline changes are that the state will require public schools to teach students cursive. Students will have to learn print and cursive. For the latter, students will be taught cursive through fifth grade. By third grade, students must be able to read and write cursive in upper and lower case, according to KPHO.

Overall, nearly half of Common Core standards have been revised in K-12  math and language arts. Forty percent of math and 48 percent of language arts Common Core standards have been revised at the state level.

Here is a rundown of some of the changes:

The Arizona standards remove requirements that 70 percent of high school reading material be "informational," while 30 percent is "literary." A staff summary of the changes called those requirements "arbitrary" and "inappropriate" and said the revision will give local school boards more flexibility when choosing reading material. Arizona classrooms are expected to teach cursive handwriting through fifth grade. By third grade, students will be expected to read and write cursive letters in both upper and lower case. Second-graders are expected memorize the sums of two one-digit numbers. Third-graders are expected to memorize multiplication and division tables through 10 x 10.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas got her job in no small part by vowing to replace the Common Core standards.

"We now have new standards that have been worked on by Arizona teachers, parents and been vetted by anti-Common Core experts," Douglas told KPHO. "This is a proud day for Arizona. Has everything changed? No. Should everything have changed? No."

The standards are supposed go into effect by fall 2018.

Douglas said the changes make the state curriculum more rigorous than the federal standards.

"I would not accept [the new standards) if they were lower than federal standards. This is all about improving the rigor and making them better for our children. Making them more understandable for our teachers and parents," Douglas said.

The Associated Press reported that other new education standards include that money and time management is taught in earlier grades. Students in kindergarten through third grade will also be required to learn how to spell words most often used under a "foundational writing skills strand."

Math teacher's word problem upsets parent

A teacher in Cleveland, Ohio, will continue teaching even after he gave a lesson that was at best in bad taste and at worst wildly inappropriate. 

WJW reported that it was contacted by an upset father who has two 14-year-old children at Middleburg Heights Junior High School.

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Daniel Rapp, a math teacher at the school, had students solve a word problem that read "Tony can send 5 texts and 3 nudes in 19 minutes. He could also send 3 texts and 1 nude in 9 minutes. How long would it take him to send one text and one nude?"

Superintendent Michael Sheppard told WJW that the district "addressed the teacher and kind of clarified exactly what happened, and in this case provided what (administrators) thought was the appropriate consequence, which was clarification that that was inappropriate." He also said that Rapp was issued a written reprimand but noted that "he’s a good teacher and in this case just used the inappropriate word."

"You have to look to see if it is out of character or not, and in this case, it was something that happened that was just obviously not acceptable from the school district's perspective and that's why we took it, looked at it very seriously and provided the appropriate consequence," Sheppard said.

Rapp will remain in the classroom, and WJW reported that while it was not immediately able to access Rapp’s personnel file, it did learn that he has incurred a similar reprimand before.

The upset father told WJW he thinks the reprimand was too lenient.  He has since taken his children out of Rapp's class.

Read more at WJW.

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Parents, community members protest Satanic after-school club

Demonstrators prayed to a chorus of bagpipes and chants, saying the Catholic rosary outside Point Defiance school.

The group from the organization Tradition, Family and Property traveled to Tacoma from Hanover, Pennsylvania, to protest a meeting of the After School Satan Club on school grounds.

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“It’s not appropriate for the Satanist movement to come into the school and promote their ideas to 5-year-old children,” said spokesman John Ritchie.

The Seattle Satanic Temple announced plans to start After School Satan clubs at several elementary schools in August, saying they were a counter to Good News Clubs. The organization Child Evangelism Fellowship uses public school property after school hours to hold meetings nationally.

Temple leaders chose Point Defiance elementary over schools in Monroe and Puyallup, saying it was closer to their Seattle headquarters.

Since public schools are paid for by tax dollars, school districts are required to allow their use by organizations once classes are over for the day.

John Purkey came to confront the protesters, but says he doesn't support the Satanists either.

“I don’t believe in any religion,” said Purkey. “Any label like that is completely useless.”

By the time the Satanists arrived Wednesday afternoon, the protesters were long gone.

Members of the temple were flanked by a crew from National Geographic working on a documentary about them.

Temple member Erin Botello says the meetings aren't about teaching Satanism but a protest of the Good News Clubs.

“If the Good News Club is here then we should be allowed to be here as well,” Botello said. “As should Hindus, and Jewish folks, Muslims. All religions should be welcome if the Good News Club is here.”

Tacoma schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said as of Wednesday, no students or parents had shown interest in attending the After School Satan Club’s first open house.

Leidy Martinez has a child attending Point Defiance and said she doesn't want her child going to the meetings.

“Personally I don’t agree with the club. That’s why my daughter is not attending,” Martinez said.

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