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In N.C., there are some recent changes in the law regarding third grade students. In the fall of 2013, third-grade students were given a beginning-of-grade standardized test to see how they are reading. At the end of third grade, students will take end-of-grade tests in reading and in mathematics. These tests tell the parents, teacher and principal if the child has learned the basic skills that he or she needs to be successful in fourth grade.

North Carolina state law (Read to Achieve) now requires that third graders who are not reading at a proficient level on the end-of-grade test be given additional support. If your child is not proficient on the end-of-grade test in reading at the end of third grade:

The child will be given the opportunity to retest.


The controversy of making a mountain out of an Indian mound just won't go away. The place name “Nikwasi Mound” is a combination of Cherokee and English words denoting an earthwork, that is believed to have been made by a third group of people who predate us all, known as the Mississippian Culture. There is no evidence indicating that any of their direct descendants are living among us today, but the squabble continues over squatters rights concerning the Mound. Patterns of world history hold true on a local level. Waves of different groups of people, from the Mississippians to the Floridians have and will continue to occupy the land. Yes, the Cherokee utilized the Mound when they came into our area, including erecting a council house on top. It's unknown if they used force to gain access to what is now modern-day Macon County. White people did use force to secure land and have also utilized the Mound, most recently, as a experimental herbicidal laboratory.


These days, it is far too easy to rattle off the outrageous examples of zero tolerance policy run amok in our nation’s schools. A 14-year-old student arrested for texting in class. Three middle school aged boys in Florida thrown to the ground by police officers wielding rifles, who then arrested them for goofing off on the roof of the school. A 9-year-old boy suspended for allegedly pointing a toy at a classmate and saying “bang, bang.” Two 6-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops and robbers. A 17-year-old charged with a felony for keeping his tackle box in his car parked on school property, potentially derailing his chances of entering the Air Force.

Thus, it’s tempting, when hearing about the 7-year-old suspended for chewing his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun to chalk it up to an isolated example of school officials lacking in common sense. However, these incidents are far from isolated. They are part of a concerted, top-down approach to creating a generation of obedient worker-bees content to be directed, distracted and kept in line.


The Naval Shipyard shooting has reignited the controversy over guns in society. Once again, people are pondering over what went wrong. Many have asked why the behavior of this shooter and others has failed to raise red flags that might have alerted authorities and prevented the tragedies.

The shooting incidents should indeed raise red flags but not from troubled individuals but over America in general. Something is terribly wrong with a nation which produces these crazed people who so wantonly take innocent life. Something needs to be done.

But to put all the responsibility on the authorities doesn’t make sense. The sad reality is that there are far too many Americans with mental problems that no authority can possibly keep tabs on them. Even if the red flags went up before such incidents, it is unclear what steps could be taken. Most of these individuals had not broken the law prior to their outbursts and cannot be arrested. They still manage to function in society so they cannot be committed to asylums. Many times the future shooters are off the social radar all together. They are out in society, schools and public places like ticking time bombs waiting to go off.


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