The Republican Party Platform endorses abstinence education: "We renew our call for replacing 'family planning' programs for teens with increased funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100% effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion."
Classroom computers have no impact on reading achievement. The Heritage Foundation released survey results in June that show no difference in reading ability among students who use computers and those who don't. Policy analyst Kirk Johnson studied data from the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test and found that students who use computers in the classroom at least once a week perform no better than those with less frequent or no access to computers.
Homeschooled students outperformed public and private school students on the 1999-2000 ACT college placement test. Seniors at public and private high schools had an average composite score of 21 on the scale of 36, while home-schooled students averaged 22.8. This is the third straight year homeschoolers have outperformed their peers. Of the more than one million students taking this year's test, nearly 4,600 were home-schooled, a 43% increase over last year. Research shows that high achievement on the ACT is a reliable indicator that students will succeed in college.
Illinois homeschoolers can participate in public school activities. The Illinois High School Association has a new rule that allows homeschooled students more flexibility in joining extracurricular activities at their local schools, especially sports. Students must still enroll in 20 credit hours of approved public school course work, which may now be taught at home.
The Jacksonville public library has stopped issuing Certificates of Witchcraft to young readers who complete the Harry Potter series of books. The new policy was adopted following the library’s receipt of a letter from Orlando-based Liberty Counsel charging that the certificate endorses a particular religion (witchcraft) in violation of the First Amendment. The letter demanded that the library immediately cease issuing the certificates in order to avoid a federal lawsuit.