Nine-year-old child genius to graduate university



Nine-year-old child genius to graduate university

Laurent Simons pictured here in 2018.

(CNN)child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of nine.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most nine-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

China: Children with low IQs get special attention from teachers with big hearts



Children with low IQs get special attention from teachers with big hearts

Shi Xiaojing came to school early on September 2, the first day of a new semester. She arrived before 7am to make sure that all preparations were done. Then she walked to the front gate of the school to greet the students.

Shi has been at the gate every school day since 2005 when she was appointed headmistress of Minhang Qizhi School, a special education facility for mentally handicapped students.

There are 202 students registered at the school, all of them are low-functioning, with IQs below 50. The average IQ of normal people varies from 85 to 115.

This year on opening day, she wore a red dress with a polka-dot shirt on top.

“I want to look bright to them,” she said.

About the same time, Binbin arrived at the school.

The bulky 20-year-old has worked as a librarian there for two years. His job on the first day was to prepare printed documents for teachers and take care of the delivery of new books for the library.

When the flag-raising ceremony began at 8 am, Binbin had just finished carrying the last box of books in. His blue shirt was soaked with sweat.

Shi walked over to Binbin.

“Look at you, all wet,” she said, patting his shoulder. “Go change into your other shirt. You know where I put it.”

Unlike other employees here, Binbin is graduate of Qizhi. He is autistic.

“He enrolled in the school the same year as I came when he was 5,” Shi said, recalling how he stumbled around as a boy. “I used to teach normal middle school kids. I had no clue nor even the self-confidence to deal with these special children.”

Children with low IQs get special attention from teachers with big hearts

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Shi Xiaojing, the headmistress of Minhang Qizhi School for mentally handicapped students, greets children in the classroom on September 2, the first day of a new semester.

When Shi first became the headmistress, she ran into a student in a shopping mall. The student yelled at her, and people around her stopped and stared. She maintained her cool and attempted to calm the student.

“Later I learned that the student’s mother was blind,” she said. “He was at the mall to help his mother with some banking business. At that moment, I told myself there is nothing to worry about. These are all just innocent souls.”

Each child has different symptoms. Many have nervous tics. Some are prone to violent fits. Most can be difficult to reach.

“There is no formula when communicating with them,” Shi said. “Each one of them is unique.”

When Shi came to Qizhi School, there were only five teachers with majors in special education; the rest were all amateurs like her. She spent all her spare time reading books and essays about special education.

Teachers at the school have felt their way through the curriculum. One of Binbin’s teachers, surnamed Wang, gradually noticed that drawing would calm the boy down during a fit of anger. So Binbin was encouraged to go to the blackboard to draw whatever he wanted whenever he became stressed.

Over time, Binbin started to understand the instructions from the teachers. More importantly, he learned to express himself in a way that could be understood by others.

“Despite their different symptoms and conditions, they share similar problems,” Shi said. “Delayed and deviant language development and poor athletic ability.”

Shi has evaluated each student individually to ascertain the best way to teach them to communicate. Throughout the years, she and her staff have published more than 350 papers on special education for the mentally handicapped.

Children with low IQs get special attention from teachers with big hearts

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Students from Minhang Qizhi School have their first class of a new semester on September 2.

The mental state of students wasn’t Shi’s only concern. She also had to worry about the mental state of teachers.

In 2006, she received a letter from a teacher.

“I think I’m going crazy,” the letter began.

The teacher’s class had eight students, five of them autistic. The young teacher just couldn’t cope.

“I immediately asked her to withdraw from the class and tried to offer her a new position,” Shi said. “But she left the school anyway, the only teacher to do so.”

Teachers face more than mental stress. Zhang Li, a physical education teacher at the school, was once bashed by a student.

“You think you are strong enough when you major in sports,” Zhang said. “But my chest ached for days.”

Such violent incidents are common at the school. Shi organized psychological counseling for all teachers and initiated lecture sessions for them on how to communicate with special students.

“Unlike many teachers in general education, who can proudly recall students who went on to become distinguished, special education teachers can never feel that level of satisfaction,” Shi said. “These students express their love and gratitude in other ways, and those ways can make you feel that all your efforts are worthwhile, frustrations notwithstanding.”

Haohao is a fifth-grade student at Qizhi. His mother died when he was only three months old. When he was one, Haohao was diagnosed with autism. He was raised by his grandparents and had never called anyone mama.

“You can imagine how surprised we were when Haohao came home and told us things about his ‘mama’ headmistress,” said Wang Tongfen, Haohao’s grandmother. “Though he is autistic, the headmistress noticed his craving to perform and express himself.”.

Wang and her husband are both over 80, and they worry about what will happen to their grandson when they are gone.

“Unfortunately, most mentally handicapped children have to stay at home after they leave school,” Shi said. “What we have to do is to create a future where they can find their place in society.”

Children with low IQs get special attention from teachers with big hearts

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The students of Minhang Qizhi School gather on the playground to attend the flag-raising ceremony.

Since 1993, when Qizhi School first opened, more than 300 students have graduated. Only a small proportion of students managed to find stable jobs.

“Many of them had worsened conditions after they left, and there was no choice but for them to remain at home,” Shi told Shanghai Daily. “Even though my job has won me titles and awards, those things don’t matter as long as these children and their families are still struggling to make their way in life.”

The situation is improving. Of the 20 students who have graduated since 2017, about half have found jobs.

During the summer break, Shi said she visited the now online celebrity Menggongfang Café, where most of the staff are mentally handicapped. (Read Shanghai Daily’s story about the café on

“It is a good sign that the public is now paying more attention to the plight of the mentally handicapped,” Shi said. “Yet I keep thinking that we can do more than simply offering jobs to a handful of these young people.”

Shi envisions other workplaces where special students can work for a few months to learn useful skills and learn to blend in with society.

As she outlined these plans to a Shanghai Daily reporter, Binbin returned, with his shirt changed.

“Are you doing an interview?” he asked. “Please make sure mama headmistress looks pretty in the photos.”

Shi bent over in laughter, and Binbin laughed too.

Jordan’s State Teachers Hold Open Strike



Jordan’s State Teachers Hold Open Strike

Sunday, 8 September, 2019 – 09:00
Jordanian protesters hold Jordanian national flags as they chant slogans during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, after the Friday prayer in Amman, Jordan, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Amman – Mohammed Kheir Al Rawashda
Jordan’s public school teachers’ union called for a strike on Sunday in demand for a pay increase. This follows news of the government tying state teachers’ raises to career variables–performance gauges set by the ministry of education–which the union vehemently rejected.

The strike will continue to be held despite ongoing dialogue between the union and state, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, stressing that the union is in debate for a series of escalatory actions should their demands remain unmet.

Well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that union official Nasser Al Nawasra refused a government offer and maintained the union’s demands for an unconditioned pay increase to all state teachers.

“There was an agreement on this with the government, but the government backtracked on its commitment,” teachers’ union spokesman Noureddine Nadim said in a statement Thursday.

Nawasra told AFP that public school teachers were “the lowest-paid public officials.”

“I’ve been teaching for 24 years, and my salary doesn’t go above 760 dinars ($1,070)” per month, al-Nawasra said.

The teachers’ union was established in 2011 and includes about 140,000 members. Organizers of the demonstration in the capital, Amman, said the government has yet to deliver on a 50 percent wage increase agreed upon in 2014.

It is worth noting that the streets of Jordanian cities saw mass protests last year over spiking consumer prices.

The government said in a statement that it is committed to dialogue with the teachers but that classes should not be interrupted and performance must improve.

Early on, during the teachers’ sit-in, the government arrested 49 teachers who were later released on bail on Thursday.

Government circles accuse Islamist in Jordan of egging the union on for the strikes by several associates.

“We respect the teachers and we salute their role and their mission, but the 50% increase demanded by the union will add JOD 112 million ($158 million) to the state budget,” Ministry of Education spokesman Walid Jallad said in a statement.

China: New rules for middle schoolers



New rules for middle schoolers

Local middle school students have to complete 136 hours of social investigation and 80 hours of voluntary labor in their eight semesters, as well as 32 hours of vocational training and 24 hours of safety training in emergencies, according to new regulations released by the city’s education commission and two related authorities.

The regulations on social practice of middle schoolers in Shanghai will take effect from September.

According to the regulations, the social investigations organized by schools include students’ visits to patriotism education centers, revolutionary historical and memorial sites, bases of city’s major and important projects, bases of national defense, science and technology and agriculture, and natural reserves for exploration and research.

Voluntary labor refers to their participation in school or community activities like sanitation, greenery, civilization promotion, services to the disabled, the elderly and children.

For vocational training, schools should organize visits to vocational schools. Safety training includes escape drills in emergencies such as fires and earthquakes and from buses.

The regulations emphasize that each middle schooler should at least visit a patriotism education center once and do voluntary labor in three positions.

The students’ social practices will be recorded on an online platform and later be evaluated as part of their comprehensive quality.

Meanwhile, venues providing social practice opportunities for students should supply good education resources and develop courses and programs suitable for middle school students.

China: Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent



Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Chen Huizhi / SHINE

Foreign and Chinese students at the job fair in Shanghai

Job fair aims to make Shanghai home for global young talent

Chen Huizhi / SHINE

A student finds out about job opportunities at the fair.

Over 800 Chinese students studying at universities overseas and foreign students studying in Shanghai attended a job fair in the city on Wednesday.

The 11th “Shanghai Career Fair” held by the government in cooperation with universities in the United States, the UK and Canada, seeks to attract more young people to work in Shanghai under the banner of “Make Shanghai Your Home.”

The city’s human resources and social security bureau said that 12,700 Chinese who had studied overseas had obtained a Shanghai hukou, or residence, last year, 33 percent more than in 2017.

Students from Cambridge University, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Stanford University, UC Berkley, UCLA and Toronto University, met over 60 companies based in Shanghai at the job fair where over 1,000 jobs were on offer.

Rich Carruthers, deputy director of the careers service at Imperial College London, said Shanghai had become a hub for global talent to work and the college was honored to be a part of the talent exchange.

“People say that innovation happens in a right time and a right place, and I believe our students here are making a wise move in choosing Shanghai as their career destination,” he said. “Shanghai is opening its arms, welcoming them and making the city a hub gathering overseas talent.”

Carruthers said feedback from students who attended past events was all very positive.

Chen Yu’ang, a Ningbo native who’s doing a master’s degree in international health management in the UK and who has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the US, said he was looking at jobs mainly in the consulting industry.

“Shanghai has great cultural offerings and has a lot of career opportunities as the entire economic landscape of China is promising,” he said.

Zhu Di, from Hangzhou, a sophomore studying electronic engineering in the UK said Chinese companies are keen to attract Chinese graduates with an overseas background while Chinese students like her tended to return to China to work.

“Take the UK, finance might be more emphasized in its economy, but for students of technology, China is the future because the country is so much pushing for science and technology development,” she said.

Piao Song, recruitment director of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica of Chinese Academy of Sciences which had a stand at the fair, said Chinese students and professionals with an overseas background are welcomed for their international scope, and out of patriotic feelings they were willing to return to build their own country too.

“Shanghai has competitive talent policies and perhaps more and better career opportunities,” she said. “Our scientists as principal investigators who lead research groups that get generous support for their projects, which probably wouldn’t be available elsewhere.”

Also at the fair were foreign students studying in Shanghai. Elmira Safarova from Russia, a master’s student at East China Normal University.

Safarova, who has been living in China for five years and is fluent in Chinese, said she’s currently interning for a software developer in Shanghai on a mobile app targeting foreign students and helping them work towards higher levels in the HSK test for Chinese language proficiency in non-native speakers.

“There are many possibilities here, and for students with a language background it would be even better if we continue to study other subjects such as finance and business,” she said.

In previous fairs, over 5,000 students had met with employers, and a great number had found jobs in Shanghai, according to the human resources bureau.

Over 160,000 Chinese who had studied overseas have been working or starting businesses in Shanghai, it said. The number of companies they founded exceeded 5,200 with starting funds of over US$800 million.

The bureau said an even larger job fair will be held in November.

To help companies and students reach each other, the bureau said it planned to introduce a website called “Shanghai Overseas Talents.”

The bureau said it will continue to support returnees to settle in Shanghai and relax the requirements for overseas talents to obtain a residence permit for overseas talents, while expanding the scope of financial support for them.

10 Most Educated Countries



10 Most Educated Countries

For most countries, the average education level of the population can be an indicator of its financial stability and literacy rates. It can even contribute to how healthy the country is overall. With all of this in mind, do you know which countries rank as the most educated in the world? While you might be able to guess a few, there may be some countries on the list that surprise you. Here are the top 10 most educated countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.



Credit: querbeet/iStock

Luxembourg comes in as the smallest country to make the list. The country has only around 615,70 residents. Luxembourg is a landlocked country, surrounded by Germany, France, and Belgium. According to the OECD, 87% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed at least a secondary education (compared to the OECD average of 84%). Also, 54% of residents in this age group have completed at least some level of higher education. Maybe this has something to do with why Luxembourg comes in as the wealthiest country in the world.



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It probably comes as no surprise that Norway ranks among the most educated countries. The European nation consistently ranks high for various quality of life factors, including healthcare, environmental awareness, and overall happiness. Colleges in Norway are tuition-free, which gives citizens greater access to higher education. The rate of adults with higher education has been increasing in Norway, and the country saw a 5% jump from 2007 to 2017. In 2017, 48% of adults aged 25 to 34 had some level of tertiary education.



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Another country with free education, this Scandinavian nation ranks among the most educated in the world. It’s not just Finnish residents that can take advantage of the free education. Non-native residents can get free schooling, as well. The Finnish education system is a stark contrast to that in the United States. Some key differences are that Finnish children receive 75 minutes of recess every day (as opposed to 27 minutes in the U.S.), there is no mandated testing until the age of 16, and most teachers stick with the same group of students for at least five years. It’s no wonder Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for two years running.

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The land down under just barely misses the top five when it comes to the percentage of adults who have a higher education. An impressive 52% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed higher education courses. The country also ranks among the highest level of citizens who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is despite how Australia has some of the highest tuition rates in the world.

United States of America

United States of America

Credit: Sean Pavone/iStock

Public opinion on the state of the education system in the United States varies, depending on who you ask. The country is known to have an unbelievable amount of student debt, and tuition continues to be on the rise. On the other hand, the United States has some of the best universities in the world and is one of the world’s strongest powers. So it’s probably not surprising that the U.S. comes in smack dab in the middle of the top 10 most educated countries. The U.S. Census estimates that 59% of adults have completed some college.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

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One thing that sets the United Kingdom apart from other countries is its focus on early education. The country sees high enrollment levels for young children. Education is a top priority for citizens as reports have shown a direct correlation between education level and pay. In fact, one study found that residents with upper education earned on average 48% more than their peers without upper education. The United Kingdom is home to two of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

South Korea

South Korea

Credit: GoranQ/iStock

South Korea places high demands on its students. Consequently, the country has a high number of adults with upper education. When it comes to students graduating from secondary school, Korea ranks number one. 98% of citizens graduate from secondary education. South Korea also ranks number one for attaining tertiary education, with nearly 70% of its residents completing some higher education.



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The education system in Israel is different from those in most of the world, but it still ranks as one of the best. In Israel, most schools are divided by the student’s faith. It is also not uncommon for schools to include weapon training. Because of its strong focus on education, the country has more university degrees per capita than any other country in the world. According to the OECD, nearly 25% of all residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.



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It may be hard to believe, but Japan does not come in at the top spot when it comes to education. Though the country is world-renowned for its education levels, it falls just short of number one. The amount of tertiary schooling comes in at a staggering 60% for adults between the age of 25 and 34. While the country has one of the highest percentages of adults expected to complete a bachelor’s degree, it has one of the lowest levels for doctorate degrees. Just 1% of its citizens are expected to attain a doctorate.



Credit: DenisTangneyJr/iStock

Canada just barely edges out Japan when it comes to adults who will complete some amount of college. A whopping 60.9% of Canadians between the age of 25 and 34 have completed some level of college, whereas that number is 60.4% in Japan. There seems to be some level of correlation between education level and happiness because Norway, Finland, and Canada all ranked among the happiest countries in the world.

10 U.S. Colleges With the Most Students



10 U.S. Colleges With the Most Students

Which U.S. colleges have the highest number of undergraduate students? Using data from the 2017 enrollment of ranked schools, U.S. News and World Report compiled a list of the colleges with the highest undergraduate enrollment. Read on to discover which 10 schools made the list.

Michigan State University

Credit: EQRoy/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,996

Located in East Lansing, Michigan, Michigan State University is home to the Spartans. Part of the Big Ten Conference, one of the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conferences in the country, MSU is renowned for its top sports teams. One of the biggest games of the year is its annual match-up against The University of Michigan, in which the two schools duke it out for possession of the coveted Paul Bunyan Trophy.

The University of Texas at Austin

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,492

The University of Texas at Austin is an impressive school in both size and stature. Its urban campus is comprised of 437 acres and it offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees for its large population of students. It’s also a selective admission process, with only 40% of applicants gaining entrance to the school. Known for its popular Greek system and diverse student body, this top Southern school also has seven museums and seventeen libraries spread across the campus.

Broward College (FL)

Credit: Holly Guerrio/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,754

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Broward College is a regional college with highly affordable tuition. Not only was it named one of the Top Ten Community Colleges in 2018 by the Aspen Institute, but it was also named one the most affordable colleges in Florida. According to U.S. News, in-state tuition costs $3,537 for the 2018-2019 academic year, which makes it a great option for Florida residents.

Pennsylvania State University — University Park

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,835

Known to most as “Penn State,” Pennsylvania State University — University Park has a top reputation for academics and athletics. The school boasts over 70 fraternities and sororities and 1,000 clubs and organizations for students to enjoy in their free time.

Arizona State University — Tempe

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 42,427

Although Arizona State University — Tempe has a long-held reputation as a “party school,” this stereotype is not set in stone. For example, ASU notably did not make Princeton Review’s Top 20 List of Party Schools, which took into account use of alcohol, hours spent outside of the classroom and the popularity of each school’s Greek system. Regardless of its party school status, ASU does have some of the most undergraduates in the country on its large Tempe campus.

Liberty University (VA)

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 45,754

Liberty University, a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded by Baptist minister and televangelist Jerry Falwell in 1971. Boasting a campus of more than 7,000 acres, the school offers on-campus and online degrees, with over 280 online programs available to its large population of students.

The Ohio State University — Columbus

Credit: aceshot1/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 45,946

Outside of academics, sports are a huge part of campus life at The Ohio State University — Columbus. Home to the Ohio State Buckeyes, the school’s football team is also part of the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference. The university’s football stadium, affectionately called “The Shoe” has been likened to the Coliseum of Rome. Costing over $1 million dollars to build in 1922, the Shoe seats 100,000 football fans during a home game.

Florida International University

Credit: Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 47,586

Founded in 1971, Florida International University offers a unique college experience for its diverse set of students. This urban university is divided between two campuses, Modesto A. Maidique Campus in West Miami-Dade County and the Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami. It was also ranked #100 in the U.S. News Ranking of Top Public Schools, a notable accomplishment for such a young university.

Texas A&M University — College Station

Credit: Tricia Daniel/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 53,065

Founded in 1876 as an all men’s agricultural and mechanical college, Texas A&M is now a co-ed, public institution. Students at A&M are nicknamed “Aggies” and with over 50,000 of them in undergraduate programs, it’s clear that everything is bigger in Texas. The university also has a campus located in Doha, Qatar, where 500 Aggies are enrolled, according to U.S. News.

University of Central Florida

Credit: Jillian Cain Photography/Shutterstock

Undergraduate Enrollment: 56,972

Although the University of Central Florida is based in Orlando, this massive university has 10 regional campuses across the state. And according to an Aviation Week Workforce Study, UCF has produced the highest number of graduates to be hired by aerospace and defense companies. But with such a large amount of undergraduates studying engineering and computer science at UCF, it should come as no surprise that many of these students go on to do well in their fields.

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation



Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence.
By Tim Stelloh

A sixth-grader in Florida was arrested after his refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into a confrontation with police and school officials, authorities said.

The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

A local news outlet, Bay News 9, reported that the confrontation began after the student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, near Tampa, called the flag racist and described the national anthem as offensive.

Citing a statement provided to the Polk School District by the boy’s substitute teacher, the station reported that the teacher asked him, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”

“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.

After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” she called the school’s office “because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the station reported.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a school spokesman told the Ledger, a local newspaper, that students are not required to participate in the pledge.

The spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, told the newspaper that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy and would no longer work with the district.

The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school’s claims, telling NBC News that her son “is not a disrespectful kid.”

“What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasonings,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist.”

After the confrontation began, the school’s dean of students tried unsuccessfully to calm the student down, asking him to leave the class 20 times, police said.

“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”

The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom.”

Talbot denied that her son made any threats and said the school “didn’t handle it the way they should have handled it.”

She told NBC News her son was overwhelmed with the situation, and she transferred him to another school.

“I want my son to know, I don’t care what any other parent say or any other parents do, that I’m going to stand up for him,” Talbot said.

How to get a world-class education for free on the internet



How to get a world-class education for free on the internet

As crucial as a university degree has become for working in the modern economy, it is not the only route forward into a wildly lucrative and satisfying career—just ask famous dropouts Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg.

In the future, a single bachelor’s degree in a particular subject will no longer suffice for many of us anyway. As robots and automation sweep the global workforce, hundreds of millions of people—the majority of whom do not have the time or money to go pick up a brand-new four-year degree—will have to “re-skill” in order to land new jobs. The question that employees and employers alike face is how to get that done quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly to many, cheaply.

The internet, luckily, is already a booming resource. Whether you find yourself seeking new employment mid-career, curious about alternatives to a college education, or simply are interested in learning for learning’s sake, Quartz At Work has compiled some of the most dependable, high-quality materials you can access to learn anything on the internet.

For a free liberal arts education:

The first name in online course catalogs is Coursera, a juggernaut because of its pioneering of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Started in 2012, Coursera now has over 28 million users and over 2,000 courses—which can either be taken for free or for a small fee to earn an official certificate—from leading institutions like Harvard and Stanford.

In recent years, the catalog has expanded far beyond traditional subjects like history and mathematics. “There’s been a lot of interest in courses that are more about personal and professional development—you’ll see courses on how to learn, how to reason, how to find happiness and fulfillment, as well as courses that are more skills-oriented,” Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller told Quartz in 2016.

The platform’s most popular classes include:

There are several other MOOC providers, including Udacity and edX. Udacity tends to be a better resource for professionals looking to develop certain vocational skills, and edX—created by MIT and Harvard—is more of a zany academic platform with a special focus on science, but both have large, comprehensive catalogs and easily searchable databases.

For specific professional skills, there’s also Alison, another online course provider, which works with big publishers like Google and Macmillan to provide training in areas like customer service, project management, and human resources.

If your aim is purely to soak in all the knowledge under the sun, you might also give Khan Academy a try. The site is lauded for its streamlined, expert-driven content in the form of short YouTube videos that are quick to absorb and do not necessarily comprise an entire course.

And if you’re interested in learning from professors at a specific institution, run a search for whether the school has an open learning program. Harvard Extension’s Open Learning Initiative, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Open Yale Courses are all examples—and there are more coming out every year—of elite universities publicizing their most popular classes. (Quartz has a list of some of the newest.)

For learning a new language:

Many smartphone users are already familiar with Duolingo, which has emerged in recent years as a major language-learning program, beating out the likes of Rosetta Stone and other established companies for sheer efficiency. And, of course, cheapness.

Duolingo, which has about 200 million registered users around the world, currently offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 more courses in development. It operates a “freemium” model (think Spotify) which allows users to access the bulk of the app for free, and pay for certain additional features. Its genius lies primarily in its design, which has been praised as revolutionary and intuitive: Lessons integrate text translation, visuals, speaking, and sound into a comprehensive learning environment.

For the euphoria of fiction:

Reading, the most wonderful of leisurely pursuits, need not be costly at all. Start at Project Gutenberg, which offers over 56,000 free e-books. Open Library, a project of Internet Archive that is trying to catalog every book in existence, also offers plenty of free books.

Join your local public library—or any public library—that offers OverDrive, an app that lets users borrow from a comprehensive catalog of free ebooks and audiobooks. Libby is another app that offers the same functionality with a better interface.

Google Books has abandoned its once-lofty plans to digitize the world’s books, but it has a “free ebooks” feature you can toggle and is a useful site for academic texts or some more modern titles.

Quartz has a complete guide to finding specific titles online. (If you’re a book novice, unsure of where to start, you might also take a look at Quartz’s guide to enjoying classic literature.)

For the nitty-gritty of coding:

Coding is one of the best skills to learn online—the work itself takes place entirely on a computer—but the quality of free teaching available ranges from expert-level to deeply flawed. Programmers tend to agree, though, that Codecademy, Free Code Camp, and HackerRank are all consistently well-designed and useful resources.

Codecademy gently coaches novice coders through the basics of HTML and CSS, and into JavaScript and more complicated languages; Free Code Camp does the same with an added emphasis on building real-world projects for nonprofits. HackerRank offers code “challenges”—mini puzzles that are attention-engaging and educational without being explicitly instructive, providing a “learn by doing” approach that is ideal for people who prefer projects to lectures. If none of these three appeal, try this list of 49 vetted resources.

For a jumpstart on the hard-to-grasp:

Onerous is the idea of trying to learn more about the physical world without a good starting-off point. The following free resources, some of which live on a few of the open platforms mentioned above, offer a mix of interactive materials, quizzes, and videos, and are excellent inspiration for anyone interested in working in—or simply learning about—the sciences.

For a hefty dose of motivation:

TED Talks are hardly a secret resource; you can easily find talks from stars in every industry from technology to agriculture. Another source of inspiration is MasterClass, which is not free—the current rate is $180/year—but hosts a number of well-made videos led by celebrities. Judd Apatow can teach you comedy, Gordon Ramsay offers wisdom on cooking, and Diane von Furstenberg will share her tips for building a fashion brand.

With these kinds of classes, the delivery platform is not as important so much as the idea of being inspired continually, by idols, icons, experts, or anyone that you feel can lead you to where you want to go, so that you maintain your energy and stay enthusiastic about the world around you.

MasterClass CEO David Rogier says, “Schools teach you the underlying skills of what to learn, but now in the changing world it’s the default to change ourselves and continue to learn.” Thanks to the internet, that’s easier than ever.


Jordan Constitution Concerning Tribal Justice System

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

By JT – Sep 01,2016 – Last updated at Sep 01,2016

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft law amending the 2016 Crime Prevention Law, which targeted provisions governing controversial tribal customs like Jalwa (forced relocation), Diyeh (blood money) and administrative governors’ authorities related to these affairs.

The law will be sent to the next Lower House, which will convene after the September 20 elections, for endorsement as stipulated in the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“Jalwa”, a term first coined by tribes, entails the forced relocation of a clan if one of its members murders someone or commits other serious crimes like rape, in a bid to avoid friction between the two tribes, both of the victim’s and the murderer’s, if they were living in the same area.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad has recently held several meetings with tribal and religious leaders, along with jurists, from across the Kingdom.

The figures reached an understanding that regulates tribal customs and norms and limits tribal cases that fall under the Crime Prevention Law to homicide, honor and cases when members of the tribes involved in the dispute do not honour pledges made on their behalf by mediators.

Under the amending law, jalwa should be limited to the murderer, his father and sons, and for a period not exceeding one year, with the possibility of renewing it if deemed necessary by the concerned administrative governor. The proposed version of the law also stipulates that jalwa should be made from one district to another within the same governorate.

The law also tasks the chief Islamic justice with deciding the value of diyeh in murder cases that end with reconciliation, and levies on those parties in tribal disputes who dishonor pledges made by mediators to pay mediators, or guarantors of the deals made, a fine of no less than JD50,000 in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation.

The administrative governor, according to the amendments, has the power to oversee all the tribal procedures included in this law, Petra added.

The amendments aim at regulating tribal customs and norms related to conflicts and cases of jalwa, atwah (a tribal agreement that functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until the civic law decides on the case) and diyeh, according to Petra.

The law is meant to avoid exaggerated practices that may cause social problems as a result of relocating families away from their places of residence, which normally results in damage to innocent families’ members, who might lose their jobs, education opportunities or businesses.

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