Weekend Roundup: Wounded Knee

School vioence. Army beats Ivy at rural recruitment. Missouri loses post office over small lease dispute.

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The land that was the site of the Wounded Knee Indian massacre is for sale. The non-Indian owner of the land wants $3.9 million for it, pointing out its historical and symbolic significance. The Oglala Sioux, who would like to purchase the land, say its market value is closer to $7,000. “That historical value means something to us, not him [the non-Indian owner],” Garfield Steele told the New York Times.  Steele is a member of the tribal council who represents Wounded Knee. “We see that greed around here all the time with non-Indians. To me, you can’t put a price on the lives that were taken there.”

Wounded Knee, S.D., was the last major confrontation in the American Indian Wars in 1890. About 300 men, women and children were killed by U.S. troops in the massacre. In 1973 the land was the setting for a takeover by the American Indian Movement.

School violence. The Rural School and Community Trust has published a study of more than 700 media accounts of school violence occurring since 1974.

Mass violence captures the headlines, the report says, but far more students have been hurt or killed in incidents that were not part of mass violence events. According to the report:

Far and away the most common school violence stories were also among the oldest of human stories: one person gets mad at another, picks up a weapon or throws a fist and in short order someone is dead.

One-on-one violence accounted for three-quarters of the deaths in the accounts that we compiled. It appears that kids’ impulses — rage, pride, jealousy, a real or perceived insult, a desire for self-assertion, revenge — were pretty much the same regardless of the weapon they used. And when students lashed out, people sometimes died.

Rural school technology fails to make the grade. Rural school leaders are worried about the move to have students use computers to take standardized tests like the Common Core State Standards. The Union Local School District in eastern Ohio, for example, has 1,000 students who will need to take the standardized test. They have only 100 computers capable of running the testing software. School leaders are also concerned about broadband access at school and at home.

The Ohio Department of Education has a unique take on the problem, according to reporter Ida Lieskovsky: 

“State officials acknowledge students in rural, poorer districts may not have as many opportunities to use computers, ‘but if you’re going to try to tell me that students don’t work on computers, they don’t have cell phones, they don’t have devices, I’m not going to really buy that,’ says John Charlton of the Ohio Department of Education.

We’d like to see someone from the state Department of Education take the Common Core test on a smart phone.

Army vs. Ivy. Ivy League schools can’t catch a break.

A New York Times op/ed  revisits research showing that schools like Harvard and Yale do a poor job of finding low-income, talented youth to apply. They limit their search to a few metropolitan areas.

Claire Vaye Watkins, an assistant professor of English at Bucknell, says the Army does a lot better job of recruiting the brightest and best rural kids because it values and needs the young people.

“If these colleges are truly committed to diversity, they have to start paying attention to the rural poor,” she writes. “Until then, is it any wonder that students in Pahrump and throughout rural America are more likely to end up in Afghanistan than at N.Y.U.?”

Yonder writers have covered this topic here and here.

For the cost of a stamp? The U.S. Postal Service has closed the post office in Freistatt, Missouri, because of a lease disagreement, according to Save the Post Office. The annual lease of the property was $3,900, and the owner said he was willing to come down. The Postal Service wasn’t interested in negotiating, he said. Save the Post Office speculated “the disagreement could not have been over a very large sum of money.  But when you’re looking at a $40 billion deficit, every penny counts.  And that’s probably how the Freistatt post office ended up closing — over a matter of pennies.”

The Postal Service declared an emergency closure and shuttered the office, giving customers two days’ notice. 

The post office has leased the building since 1980. 

With friends like these. Disabled coal miner Carl Shoupe says he’s disappointed with how political leaders are handling a bid by “Peabody Energy and its new company, Patriot Coal, to weasel out of paying health and pension benefits promised to thousands of retired UMWA miners.” In an op/ed appearing in the Lexington Herald-Leader, he says. “These politicians may be friends of coal, but they’re not friends of coal miners and their families.”

About 5,000 miners are expected to protest on Monday in Charleston, W.V., against Patriot’s bankruptcy plan. Miners say Peabody set up the Patriot company to fail to get out of paying health and pension costs.

 

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