Column One: Students

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Noting that even mild hearing problems can impair students academically, school officials in an Ohio district this week will begin testing whether a simple solution--amplification--can help improve performance.

"What we're finding is that 50 percent to 80 percent of kids in grades K-5 suffer mild hearing loss on any given day," from colds or ear infections or other common causes, said Cheryl Buie, speech and language pathologist for the Cuyohoga Falls public schools. "Although it's 'mild' medically, it's very significant educationally."

Working with researchers from the University of Akron, Ms. Buie and other school officials will track pupils from 12 K-1 classrooms in three schools in the district. Half of the classrooms will be equipped with amplified microphones; the other half will be control groups.

Using a variety of academic and hearing measures, the researchers will examine whether those in the amplified classrooms do better than those who cannot hear as well. Previous studies, according to Ms. Buie, suggest that amplification works.

"Preliminary studies found significant gains, equal to or better than, those who were pulled for special tutoring," she said.


Special 900-number services must contain special messages for children under 18, under a rule adopted by the Federal Communications Commission.

The rule, which has not yet been published in final form, requires providers of the services that charge more than $2 per call to deliver a "preamble," or message, disclosing the price and the provider.

It also requires "special warnings" for programs aimed at, or likely to be of interest to, children under 18. Although an agency spokesman declined to say what such messages should be, he noted that a preliminary rule would have required a statement urging children to hang up unless they have parental permission.


Bowing to popular demand, the makers of Crayola crayons have agreed to bring back-briefly--eight colors that were eliminated a year ago.

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of RUMPS (the Raw Umber and Maize Preservation Society), among others, the eight colors--raw umber, lemon yellow, blue-gray, green-blue, maize, orange-red, orange-yellow, and violet-blue--will return next month in a special commemorative box of crayons. The special package will retire at the end of the year.

The eight colors were removed to make room for more fluorescent colors, such as royal purple and vivid tangerine, that are more fashionable in the 1990's. --R.R.

Vol. 11, Issue 07, Page 6

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