A Hillsborough, NC student who scored 1600 on the SAT says his success was due to learning how to read before he entered school. Orange High School senior Michael Shiver said the fact that his parents taught him to read so early gave him an advantage throughout his academic career.
Intel Corp. chief says the U.S. helps educate the world but fails at home. In a recent speech, CEO Craig Barrett said that the bulk of his company's research and development is done here, but this is changing due to the lack of trained personnel. Barrett lamented that U.S. students rank near the bottom of the industrialized world in math and science competency by the time they reach 12th grade. "We fire football coaches after the first year of a losing record," he stated, "but we continue to let the public school system take children and basically degrade them on a relative basis to their international counterparts."
New fad gives teachers microphones rather than help with discipline. About 4,000 schools now have classroom microphone systems so that teachers can be heard above students' noise. These techy new mikes use infrared technology to prevent interference, and cost between $1,000 and $1,500 per classroom to install.
Thousands of Wisconsin students were taken on "field trips" in November to see Harry Potter at the invitation of local theaters. Some principals and teachers claimed the outing provided an opportunity to push reading, but not all parents or educators agreed. Some criticized what they viewed as a "family outing" during the school day. "A field trip should have educational value, but this was purely entertainment," said Leah Vukmir, president of Parents Raising Education Standards in Schools.
The Ithaca (NY) City School District mandates "tolerance" grades for elementary school children. Students in the 1st and 2nd grades are evaluated on how well they "respect
others of varying cultures, genders, experiences, and abilities." Tolerance is the first thing now noted on progress reports under "Lifelong Learning Skills," ahead of reading, writing, science, and social studies.
The mayor of Philadelphia agreed in December to a state takeover of the city's public schools. The move places the troubled 220,000-student school system, 10th largest in the nation, in the hands of a five-person panel controlled by the state. The New York Times reported (12-22-01) that Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker "took the lead in executing the takeover," which "is believed to be the largest such action of its kind." The state is expected to hire the private company, Edison Schools, as a consultant for the district and to manage 60 of Philadelphia's worst schools.
More citizens are crusading to protect children from porn in public libraries. After witnessing teens accessing porn on library computer terminals in Upper Arlington, Ohio last year, local Christian Coalition Chairman, Charles Reed, spoke out before the library board and the city council on the need for filters. He then contacted local radio and television stations and convinced them to air his story. In 1998, Seattle-area librarian Heidi Borton resigned her position after failing to persuade her local library board to protect children from internet porn. She now travels around the country speaking on behalf of filters for public computers used by children.