A spacecraft orbiting Mars is lost due to a mathematical error. The $125 million
Mars Climate Orbiter apparently crashed on the far side of the planet due to human
(in this case mathematical) error. Two teams of engineers plotted the crafts
course, one using English measurements -- the standard for spacecraft building --
the other using the metric system. The probe was to have furnished the most
detailed information ever about Mars climate and atmospheric conditions. The
mishap is under investigation.
Class size reduction is a failure. A major state-sponsored study in California
shows that the $4 billion the state has spent since 1996 to shrink class sizes
from 30 to 20 students in grades K-3 has resulted in at best "marginal gains."
Conducted by the Class Size Reduction Research Consortium, the study also found
that the corresponding increase in teacher hiring resulted in "a disturbing overall
decline in teacher qualifications."
Parents are suing a guidance counselor for his role in their daughters abortion. The couple filed a federal lawsuit against the counselor and the Hatboro-Horsham
School District in Pennsylvania for advising the girl to get an abortion without
their knowledge and in violation of state law, which requires the consent of a
parent or guardian for a minor to have an abortion. The counselor purportedly
cashed checks from the students boyfriend to pay for the procedure, and even drew
the girl a map to a New Jersey abortion clinic.
Chicago-area parents protest the use of vulgar novel in freshman English class.
Spokesparent Douglas Carr says the Downers Grove South High School is in violation
of its own handbook, which mandates disciplinary action against students or
teachers who use profanity on school premises or on the schools computers. Carr
says the novel, Blue Star Rapture, contains obscenities, references to suicide,
and criticism of "the Religious Right." He noted that obscene materials forced on
minors is "violative of the law."