Washington Prep High School in Los Angeles dubbed "out of control." Teachers filed a written complaint with their union in November charging that some students at Washington are regularly robbed and beaten while others pack weapons, use drugs, and have sex in hallways and restrooms. At least seven gangs reportedly operate in the immediate area of the school, which is located in one of Los Angeles's poorest areas between Watts and Inglewood's Hollywood Park. Some teachers, parents and students blame second-year Principal James Noble for failing to discipline marauding students who operate in packs. Although Noble has improved test scores, Washington Prep remains one of the lowest-performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Some parents blame the neighborhood, trouble-making students' parents, and disruption inside the school by "outsiders" for the chaos and mayhem. In response to the teachers' complaint, school district officials vowed to beef up security while increasing administrative assistance and the number of parent volunteers. (latimes.com 11-21-02)
School superintendents' pay is soaring. According to the Chicago Tribune (11-23-02), 26 superintendents in Illinois earned more than $200,000 last year, an increase of 27% over the last five years. School districts in the state shelled out a whopping $97.5 million in superintendents' salaries for the 2001/02 school year. According to a report by the New York Education Department, superintendent salaries in the Empire State rose 5% in 2002 compared to 2001, ranging from $71,000 to $225,000. School superintendent wages are increasing nationwide, reportedly due to a shrinking pool of educators willing to take on school districts' top jobs.
Nashville, Tennessee's Metro School System unplugs Channel One. The school district announced in November that it was canceling its 10-year agreement with Primedia, Channel One's parent company, to show 12 minutes of news broadcasting each day, including two minutes of commercials. Over the years, many parents and teachers had objected to the requirement that school children watch the commercials. The Metro district is replacing Channel One's television monitors with new 27-inch monitors so that teachers can show educational videos without the advertising.
The San Diego County Board of Education backed down from its threats to homeschoolers. After charging area homeschooling parents last August with operating illegally unless credentialed by the state, the board reversed itself in October, declaring that "Contrary to our prior advice, the County Board of Education strongly recommends that home school parents file a private school affidavit with the California Department of Educa- tion . . ." For 20 years, homeschooling parents in California have complied with compulsory education laws by establishing private schools in their homes.
Teen girls in Arizona demand more modest clothing from retailers. Weary of finding nothing but tight hip-hugger jeans and bare-midriff tops at the mall, 18-year-old Amanda Smith and her friends collected 1,500 signatures petitioning Dillard's department store in Mesa to stock more modest fashions. Dillard's responded by having fashion designer Jody Berman redesign some popular styles to be less revealing, and the new clothing will soon be on its way to the store. Berman called the modest fashion seekers "a fabulous untapped market," and Dillard's has invited Miss Smith and her friends to act as fashion consultants.
College programs to aid minorities produce racial segregation. Ironically, during the turmoil over former Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott's remark that seemed to endorse segregation , the New York Civil Rights Coalition released a study documenting that race-based campus programs aimed at assisting minority students are actually "a form of racism, and are leading to segregation at many universities nationwide." The Washington Times reported (12-16-02) that the Coalition's survey of 50 public and private colleges and universities found that "ethnicity-themed dorms, multi-cultural offices and centers, minority-specific orientation programs, and courses and departments with a politically correct slant are 'apartheid policies' that do nothing more than encourage separatist thinking among minority students." The survey report, "The Stigma of Inclusion: Racial Paternalism/Separatism in Higher Education," found special administrative positions and offices which encourage separatist organizations, separate events and programs organized for minority students, remedial services geared toward them, and special-interest housing for minorities.
Public schools nationwide are becoming 'no-Christmas zones.' According to the Washington Times (12-20-02), the word Christmas is banned in some classrooms, and teachers are limiting decorations to generic holiday messages. Some New York City schools banned Nativity scenes but allowed Jewish menorahs and the Islamic star and crescent. At least one lawsuit has been filed.