What does brain research say about the effects of Rush Limbaugh's voice on infants? Probably nothing.
But just because some studies suggest that exposing babies to music is beneficial to their development, that doesn't mean the government should get into the recording industry, a few Georgia legislators say.
During his budget address last month, Gov. Zell Miller, a Democrat, proposed spending $105,000 to produce and distribute free classical-music cassettes or compact discs to the parents of newborns in the state. He said he got the idea after listening to child-development experts discuss ways to boost learning during the early years.
As a tongue-in-cheek response, three Republican senators introduced a bill stating that for every hour of music, the recordings must also include 30 minutes of material from the nationally syndicated conservative radio broadcaster.
"The major gist of this is that it really isn't government's place to decide what is most conducive to learning," said Sen. Charles C. "Chuck" Clay of Marietta, Ga.
Felons in the Classroom
Last week, six weeks after Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan ordered state education and law-enforcement agencies to share more information about convicted felons, lawmakers began debating a bill that would make it easier to revoke the teaching certificates of educators convicted of felonies.
The Democratic governor's action followed newspaper accounts of Kansas City, Mo., teachers who received little discipline despite being involved in misconduct with students.
The House education committee began hearings last week on the measure introduced by Democratic Reps. Steve McLuckie and Randall H. Relford. It would allow the state to strip teachers of certification if they had "pleaded to or been found guilty of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude," whether or not they served a sentence.
Currently, educators might not face losing certification if they plead guilty to a felony and receive a suspended sentence, or if under a plea bargain they admit to a less serious charge.
--LINDA JACOBSON & JEFF ARCHER