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Merit Pay Sought For Denver Teachers

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The Denver school board plans to adopt a pilot merit-pay program for teachers if voters approve a proposed property-tax increase in November.

The pay program is one of several education reforms the board would implement with the $30 million from the levy. The board adopted the reform plan this month.

The plan earmarks $1 million in levy revenues to pilot the merit-pay program. It would use other funds to lengthen the school day, set up new magnet and charter schools, and hire more social workers and security guards.

Fatal Gang Fight

Three high school students have been charged with murder in a gang-related stabbing death at a California high school.

Carlos Vaca, a 14-year-old sophomore at Gilroy High School, was stabbed in the abdomen Oct. 3. Members of two local gangs were fighting in the restroom when one of the youths allegedly pulled a knife, according to police officials.

Gang-related tensions at the San Jose-area school have escalated over the past two years, according to officials in the 8,000-student district.

Student Walkout

About 90 students in Jewett City, Conn., walked out of classes last month and marched to City Hall to protest a new law that allows police to ticket young people for loitering.

The students from Griswold Junior-Senior High School said the ordinance, enacted in September, violates their First Amendment right to freedom of assembly. They asked the city to provide a place for youths to gather.

The law allows the police to issue $100 citations to teens loitering on Main Street. Young people who use abusive language or fail to cooperate with police could also face 10 days in jail. Twelve students have been ticketed since late September.

"What the kids have done is very positive. They made a peaceful petition to their government, and they organized themselves," said Joe Grabarz, the executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union.

The CCLU has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against the students.

Schoolhouse Rock

Teachers had a lesson from musicians earlier this month at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

The museum of rock history, which opened in September, held a sold-out seminar, in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College.

About 190 teachers signed up for the seminar to hear famous musicians talk about rock music's influence on their desire to learn.

Robert Santelli, the director of education for the museum, said that rock music can play an important role in teaching children about history, censorship, and a range of other issues.

"You have to do your homework," he said. "This is a great opportunity connect with your kids."

Notes to a Neighbor

A Largo, Fla., teacher faces a 10-day suspension without pay for asking students to write letters to a neighbor with whom she was having a dispute.

The assignment stemmed from a tiff between the neighbors late last month. Dale Davis, a language-arts teacher at Largo Middle School, received a note from a neighbor who was angry with Ms. Davis for allowing her dog to defecate in the neighbor's yard.

Ms. Davis read the note aloud to her 8th-grade class, according to school officials, and asked each of them to write a letter in response.

Ms. Davis, who declined to comment, has requested a hearing before the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

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