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Nearly 40 percent of North Carolina's elementary school students have not mastered mathematics and reading sufficiently to advance to the next grade level, according to a new statewide test.

Results of the end-of-grade examinations, which were released this month, differ significantly from two other recently released tests that showed major gains in math and reading achievement among the state's schoolchildren.

Vanessa Jeter, a spokeswoman for the state department of public instruction, said the new examinations are more rigorous and meant to gauge higher-order learning.

"From the very beginning, our testing people had warned that the results were going to look unpleasant at first,'' she said.

No Television Credit: Utah school districts may not count the time students spend watching the Channel One classroom news show as part of the 990 hours of "active education'' required by the state annually, according to a memorandum sent by Superintendent of Public Instruction Scott W. Bean.

Mr. Bean advised districts last month that they had to adjust their schedules if they wanted to keep the 12-minute daily program.

The memo was based on an advisory opinion from the state attorney general's office, which said the advertising-supported show could not be substituted during class time for regular coursework for which credit is given and attendance required.

Punishment Pushups: Forcing students to do pushups is a form of corporal punishment, a state official in Arkansas has ruled.

Deputy Attorney General Elena Willis said this month that pushups are covered under the Little Rock school district's ban on corporal punishment.

The opinion was requested after parents at a junior high school objected to a teacher's practice of using pushups as a disciplinary measure. The school has agreed to abide by the decision.

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