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The Smartboard Briefs

10/11/2013, 3:56 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president explains minister’s job

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe says that his new Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education is tasked with reviving practical subjects in schools to equip pupils with "life skills.’" Mugabe said non-academic subjects - ranging from farming to vehicle mechanics, carpentry and electronics - had slipped from school curriculums in recent years and "must be brought back," the state Herald newspaper reported Tuesday. In the newspaper, an official mouthpiece, Mugabe described the need to promote what he called psychomotor skills that would help procure jobs for less academically-gifted students. Hungwe would work alongside the main ministries of education and science and technology, he said.

Boston school bus drivers go on strike

BOSTON - A Boston public schools spokesman says about 600 school bus drivers have gone on strike, leaving thousands of children without a way of getting to school. The school system says the strike Tuesday by the United Steelworkers Local 8751 is illegal. The drivers are not school employees, but work for the city’s bus contractor. The spokesman says the strike was prompted by the union’s opposition to changes that ensure driver safety, improve on-time performance, and a web tool that allows parents to track buses in real time. Most of the district’s 33,000 students are affected. Schools will be open, but students will not be marked late and absences will be excused.

OKC schools weighs safe rooms on all campus

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma’s largest public school district is considering a policy that would require the construction of safe rooms to protect children from violent weather. The Oklahoma City School Board on Monday rejected bids for a new gym at Nichols Hills Elementary and asked that new proposals include costs for both a gym and a safe room. Interest in school safety grew after seven children died in Moore when their elementary school was hit by a tornado May 20. Oklahoma City has 45,000 students in 84 schools. The school board is considering having safe rooms built along with new gyms at 25 elementary schools, including Nichols Hills. School officials say building a gym with a safe room attached can boost construction costs by 20 percent to 30 percent.

Hattiesburg to launch career academies

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Hattiesburg Public School District is taking steps to ensure its students are prepared for college and careers by planning for two career academies at Hattiesburg High in 2016-17. The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/17mk3ZK) the district has received a $45,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Education to train its teachers, administrators and counselors to run the career academies. John Simpson, the district’s executive director of career and technology education, says the career academy is a learning community within a school, consisting of a smaller group of students whose academic and elective courses are focused on a specific career-technical subject.

(Source: Associated Press)