| NEWS of the Day - July 9, 2012
|on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...
We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
From Google News
Manhunt under way for Taliban who shot woman in public execution amid cheers
by the CNN Wire Staff (Video on site)
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the arrest Monday of the Taliban who participated in the public execution of a woman accused of adultery.
Shock and outrage have mounted since an amateur video surfaced of a burqa-clad woman sitting on the ground while a man standing a few feet away shoots her nine times before a cheering mob.
The execution raises questions about what the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan will mean for women, who regained basic rights of education and voting after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
Karzai condemned the killing and ordered security officials to arrest and punish those involved, according to a statement released by the president's press office.
Officials in Afghanistan, where the amateur video was taken, believe the woman was executed because two Taliban commanders had a dispute over her, according to the governor of the province where the killing took place.
Both apparently had some kind of relationship with the woman, Parwan province Gov. Abdul Basir Salangi said.
To save face, they accused her of adultery, Salangi told CNN on Sunday. Then they "faked a court to decide about the fate of this woman and in one hour, they executed the woman," he added.
Both Taliban commanders were subsequently killed by a third Taliban commander, Salangi said.
"We went there to investigate, and we are still looking for people who were involved in this brutal act," he said Sunday.
U.S. Army Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, said he was encouraged by reports that provincial police were "investigating the circumstances surrounding this atrocity."
He also offered the assistance of NATO troops to track down those responsible for the killing, according to a statement released by the U.S.-lead International Security Assistance Force.
The killing took place in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district, just north of the capital of Kabul.
Karzai described those involved in the shooting death as "cowards," saying "such crimes are unforgivable both in Islam and under our country's laws," the statement from his press office said.
The United States condemned the killing "in the strongest possible terms," calling it a "cold-blooded murder."
"The protection of women's rights is critical around the world, but especially in Afghanistan, where such rights were ignored, attacked and eroded under Taliban rule," the American Embassy said in a statement Sunday.
The public execution is the latest and among the most shocking examples of violence against women in Afghanistan, but it is far from an isolated case.
Hundreds of students and teachers at girls' schools in the country have been hospitalized with suspected poisoning this year alone. Girls were forbidden to go to school when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.
Nearly nine out of 10 women suffer physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage at least once in their lifetimes, Human Rights Watch said in its 2012 annual report.
More of nation's public schools decide to split up boys and girls
by JESSIE L. BONNER and HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH
MIDDLETON, Idaho — Robin Gilbert didn't set out to confront gender stereotypes when she split up the boys and girls at her elementary school in rural southwestern Idaho.
But that's exactly what happened, with her Middleton Heights Elementary now among dozens of public schools nationwide being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in a bitter struggle over whether single-sex learning should be continued. Under pressure, single-sex programs have been dropped at schools from Missouri to Louisiana.
“It doesn't frustrate me,” Gilbert said of the criticism, “but it makes the work harder.”
While Gilbert's school is believed to be the only one in Idaho offering single-sex classes, the movement is widespread in states like South Carolina, which has more than 100 schools that offer some form of a single-gender program.
Single-sex classes began proliferating after the U.S. Education Department relaxed restrictions in 2006. With research showing boys, particularly minority boys, are graduating at lower rates than girls and faring worse on tests, plenty of schools were paying attention.
In 2002, only about a dozen schools were separating the sexes, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, an advocacy group. Now, an estimated 500 public schools across the country offer some all-boy and all-girl classrooms.
Activists debate issue
Proponents argue the separation allows for a tailored instruction and cuts down on gender-driven distractions among boys and girls, such as flirting. But critics decry the movement as promoting harmful gender stereotypes and depriving kids of equal educational opportunities. The ACLU claims many schools offer the classes in a way that conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal law banning sex discrimination in education. Researchers also have weighed in.
Diane F. Halpern, a former president of the American Psychological Association, co-authored a review of studies last fall in the journal Science that found research doesn't support the benefits of single-sex education. Additionally, there are lots of problems whenever you segregate people into groups, Halpern said.
“Stereotyping increases so we really do have lots of data that says it's just not supported,” she said.
However, proponents have put out their own studies, showing the benefits of separating students. Middleton Heights Elementary cited the research when it first piloted single-sex classes in a few grades. The goal was to address the struggles boys were having in reading.
The idea proved so popular that single-sex classes have expanded throughout the school. Parents can opt out, a choice required by law, if they want their kids in a traditional classroom.
On a recent tour, Gilbert peeked into a classroom of boys, who had decorated their walls with a camping theme, complete with construction paper campfires and a sign that read “fishing for books.”
Next door, the girls opted for an “under the sea” motif. When they spotted Gilbert in their classroom doorway, a few of the girls jumped from their seats and ran to give her a quick embrace.
They students still learn the same curriculum, and still lunch and play at recess together.
These environments are driven by student interests and what they're learning at the time, Gilbert said.
Dr. Leonard Sax, the founder of the Pennsylvania-based National Association for Single Sex Public Education, contends the movement is about breaking down gender stereotypes, not promoting them.
“We want more girls engaged in robotics and computer programming and physics and engineering,” Sax said in a telephone interview. “We want more boys engaged in poetry and creative writing and Spanish language.”
The ACLU launched a national campaign, Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes, in May and sent cease-and-desist letters to school districts in Maine, West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia. The group also asked state officials to investigate single-sex programs in Florida, while sending public record requests to schools in another five states, including to Gilbert's school in Idaho.
Doug Bonney is legal director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, where he successfully challenged single sex classes in Missouri's Adrian R-III School District. He argues there's no proof single-sex classrooms work while there's plenty of evidence they enhance gender stereotypes and lead to sexism.
“This isn't the right step to address higher dropout rates by boys,” Bonney said. “They promote false stereotypes about sex-based differences that don't exist. Promoting sex stereotypes can harm both girls and boys.”