Archive for Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Bell: Report says girls read better than boys; feds pay for teachers-administration mediator; Langston Hughes School signs on to memorial effort for soldiers

December 8, 2010


Girls read better than boys — in most any language.

That’s among the conclusions reached through international testing of students for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The organization’s report, released Tuesday, includes results from two-hour tests administered to 500,000 students spanning 65 countries and more than 70 economies from all points of the globe: from Albania to Singapore to Finland and the United States and beyond.

Overall, in every country tested, girls scored higher on reading than boys did — a difference, on average, that would be “equivalent to one year of schooling,” organization officials said. “The gender gap has not improved in any country since 2000, and (has) widened in France, Israel, Korea, Portugal and Sweden.”

The gap isn’t quite so wide in the United States, according to the report: Only Colombia, Chile, Peru, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands had smaller scoring gaps between boys and girls in reading. Among countries hitting the average were Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Germany and Shanghai-China; the biggest gaps between boys and girls were recorded in Albania, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

In case anyone’s keeping score: On average, boys outperform girls in math, according to the report, but the scoring gap is less than one-third of the distance between the sexes in reading.


Teachers and administrators are busy renegotiating certain terms of this year’s work agreement in the Lawrence school district, and a federal mediator has been called in to help.

In case you’re wondering, Peggy McNieve, the mediator, is on the federal payroll.

“She is employed by the federal government,” said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer and lead negotiator. “We don’t pay anything, including travel. We call her, set up a time that she’s available, and it’s all taken care of.”

McNieve’s work is set to resume at 5 p.m. today at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.


Langston Hughes School is the first school in Kansas to sign up for the “I Gave 50 Cents” campaign, an effort to raise money for a private memorial to honor soldiers who have died in the line of duty in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, an organizer said.

Tonya Evans, parent of two Langston Hughes students and executive director of the U.S. Fallen Heroes Foundation, announced the school's involvement Tuesday. She may be reached at

— Are you aware of something special happening in or coming to area schools? Let me know, at


USFHF 3 years, 4 months ago

USFHF offer full diclousure regarding the past acts of the former chairman. The foundation has been reorganized and give authorization by the Texas AG to move forward and fullfill our mission. Please visit: for confirmation of legality and understanding, We are very excited about the recent happenings in several states around the country coming forward in way of Corp sponsors, schools, churches and individuals who want to honor our fallen. "WE WILL NEVER FORGET" Please feel free to contact us directly at with any further questions or need of documentation. Thank you!


redhollyhocks 3 years, 4 months ago

This finally showed up online - not sure where it was before when I was turning the web edition inside and out!


redhollyhocks 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes, and why does this KEEP happening! You'd think the admins could figure out a way to work with the staff and get these contracts sorted out without having to call in the "grownups" year after year. Aren't they administrators because they know how to administer?


newmedia 3 years, 4 months ago

“We don’t pay anything, including travel. We call her, set up a time that she’s available, and it’s all taken care of.” Apparently Mr. Harwood pays no federal income tax.


redhollyhocks 3 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Fagan, What remains to be resolved with the teaching contracts? I have an 8th grader expecting to go to high school next year - will THIS impact THAT??? Please cover the news!!!


Hadley_says 3 years, 4 months ago

The founder of United States Fallen Heroes Foundation was recently sentenced to jail in Texas.

What changes to the organization have occurred since then? If they are soliciting donations, why don't they have a web site describing their objectives and organization?

Is it still their objective to purchase 15 acres of land to construct the monument in Kennedale Texas? Why on earth in Kennedale?

Were embezzled monies from the founder repaid? Is this organization on file with the Kansas Secretary of State as a charitable organization?

Do our school officials know any of this?


redhollyhocks 3 years, 4 months ago

Run that by me again..... Federal mediator?? What the hell is going on!!


Hadley_says 3 years, 4 months ago

(This recent news article out of Dallas links to the same website provided by the Journal World brief)

by BYRON HARRIS WFAA Updated Thursday, Jul 29 at 9:34 PM NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

KENNEDALE — Just two days after a News 8 investigation was broadcast, the organizer of the United States Fallen Heroes Foundation has resigned.

The foundation has no idea how much money may be missing, but it still hopes to build a monument in Kennedale to servicemen and women who have died in combat since 9/11.

Walter Coleman said the United States Fallen Heroes Foundation was a non-profit agency — but it wasn't.

Coleman used two names, and he represented himself as a veteran when he is not.

"I think it's sick that someone would essentially try to fraudulently raise money in the name of men and women who have given their lives for their country," said State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Kennedale).

The Fallen Heroes Memorial would have been located in Turner's district. He said the organization will have to change to move forward.

"There would have to be utter transparency, and they would have to comply with the best practices of non-profits," Turner said.

As of Wednesday night, Larry Summers is the foundation's new chairman. A former Marine, he pledges changes in the Fallen Heroes board and practices.

"The foundation will be restructured as it should have been day one," Summers said. "This is how it's going."

One of the first tasks will be to revamp the foundation's Web site, which is still asking for money sent to Walter Coleman's home.

Talks must be held with sponsors, such as Schlotzsky's, which have collected money for the memorial.

Walter Coleman told some people he collected millions of dollars; he told others that just thousands came in.

The Texas attorney general is investigating.

"I hope the attorney general is able to determine how much money was raised from how many people, and maybe we can get a true account of what has taken place," Turner said.

The Fallen Heroes Foundation has a contract for about 15 acres of land to construct the monument. City Manager Bob Hart will put the matter before the Kennedale City Council next month so they can decide whether to continue the contract or possibly revoke it.

The City of Kennedale already has a modest monument to its own fallen heroes. It's now up to the attorney general, the new organizers and the City Council whether the Fallen Heroes Foundation will fly again.


Hadley_says 3 years, 4 months ago

I very much appreciate the efforts of our military men and women, and our veterans, but am I the only one who scratches his head about the number of organizations who creatively hatch schemes for money to "honor" them?

I mean, isn't it especially a little cynical to ask our toddlers to front for such a charitable organization, especially when it is the "executive director" mom asking the other kids to pony up?

At least when President Roosevelt did it, it was for a dime (as in March of Dimes). And it wasn't to "honor" someone, but to solve child illness.

Those Poppies we would receive from the VFW ladies on "poppy day" were nice.... But other than it had something to do about remembering the soldiers from WWI, I had no idea where or what or where Flanders Field was nor did I understand the first thing of what WWI was about. Many of my adult friends still don't. What do children really understand about the politics, costs, or implications of war, unless it affects their own family?

I think that this foundation should stick to asking grown ups for their money to construct edifices.


Timothy Eugene 3 years, 4 months ago

Will someone please post this story in all the Muslim countries newspapers!


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