Private Schools Column
What's in a name?
Administrators at the nation's largest non-Orthodox Jewish high school were pondering just that question at the start of the school year, after accepting a $5 million gift from the Milken Family Foundation and renaming the school after the philanthropists--one of whom is a convicted felon.
Michael Milken pleaded guilty in 1990 to several felony charges, including securities fraud. He paid $900 million in fines and served 22 months in prison.
Officials of the 440-student school in Sepulveda Pass, Calif., now called Milken Community High School of Stephen Wise Temple, said it is named after the entire Milken family.
And most students seemed to overcome any concerns about the link to Mr. Milken fairly quickly. A spokesman for the school said some were joking whether they should change the school's nickname from the Wildcats to Cookies, as in "Milken Cookies," or to Honey, as in "Milken Honey."
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based foundation has made donations to various public and private educational institutions in the Los Angeles area. It also gives $25,000 National Educator Awards to 150 teachers each year.
Republican budget-cutters are taking aim at the U.S. military's three preparatory schools, which they say cost too much and graduate only about half the students they admit.
Anticipating congressional cuts, the armed services sent some students to privately run military academies this year, instead of to the three supported by the government: the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I.; and the United States Military Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth, N.J.
The schools cost the government $40,000 to $60,000 a year per student--about four times as much as most private military academies. Slightly fewer than 1,000 students attend the three schools, which prepare students for armed-service academies.
Supporters of the government-run academies say they help keep the armed services racially integrated. "They're worth twice what they spend on them," said Charles Moskos, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University who has studied integration in the military.
Half the black cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point come from the prep school in Fort Monmouth.
Mr. Moskos said only a portion of students graduate because the schools try to weed out all but the best students. Private military academies that are dependent on tuition would not hold students to the same high standards, he said.