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Jonathan Wilson, a 12-year incumbent on the Des Moines, IA school board, lost his bid for reelection after supporting the controversial "Proposal for Infusion of Sexual Orientation Issues in the Multicultural Nonsexist Education Plan." (See Education Reporter, February 1995) Eight candidates competed for two spots, with Wilson finishing fourth amid record voter turnout for a school board contest. Wilson spent $50,000 in his reelection bid, dwarfing the next highest amount of $6,700.
The Seattle school district has hired a military man as superintendent. Major General John H. Stanford (U.S. Army, Ret.) has ordered the school board to start meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, employees to work extra hours, to keep school grounds spotless, to answer phones by the third ring and, to dress professionally. He has also launched a reading initiative and stepped up exit tests to ensure that students do not pass to the next grade unprepared. There is talk of a uniform requirement for all 45,000 students.
An odd political alliance of more than 140 Republicans and Democrats -- from Edward M. Kennedy and Barbara Boxer to Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond -- is supporting a petition that seeks to loosen the rules governing the prescription drug methlyphenidate, better known as Ritalin. The petition says this most widely used drug to treat Attention Deficit Disorder is "a beneficial and relatively benign medication which assists millions of children daily" and is "not dangerous and addictive." More than two million youngsters now take the drug.