The National Spelling Bee champ for 2001 was homeschooled until he enrolled in a private school last September. Thirteen-year-old 8th grader Seth Conley of Anoka, Minnesota, accurately spelled "succedaneum," meaning "substitute," to take first place and the $10,000 prize in the annual Scripps-Howard competition on May 31 in Washington, DC. More than 10% of the 248 students in this year's contest are homeschooled. Last year, the top three finalists were all homeschooled, and the 1st-place winner also finished second in the National Geography Bee. National academic competitions have become showcases for home-schooled students, who make up only 2% of the school-age population in the U.S.
A private school in New York City declined to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day this year. The new policy at Rodeph Sholom Day School in Manhattan is intended to "protect" children in non-traditional families, including those headed by same-sex couples. A note sent home with students explained: "We are a school with many different family makeups, and we need to recognize the emotional wellbeing of all the children in our school." One outraged mother told the New York Post (5-8-01): "There are ways of showing sensitivity to the needs of children in unusual situations that don't require undermining traditional family structures."
Students surveyed by a Rutgers University professor say many teachers ignore cheating. Of the 4,500 high school students queried nationwide, 47% believe their teachers prefer not to confront known academic cheaters. More than one fourth of these students feel that teachers avoid taking the time to report dishonesty. Experts say many teachers close their eyes to student cheating out of fear of parental retaliation, including lawsuits.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation is promoting a "Youth Manifesto," which endorses abortion for children "of all ages," in the halls of the United Nations and in dozens of developing countries.