Subs To Go
Kelly Services, the Troy, Michigan-based temporary staffing agency, recently announced it will provide substitute teachers to school districts through its 1,200 offices across the country. Though it's not the first private company to get into the business of supplying subs to schools, it is the first to do so on a national scale. The trend worries substitute teacher activists, who contend that it blunts efforts to improve working conditions for subs and raise their status.
Teachers and administrators at Central Park East 1 Elementary School in East Harlem, New York, are upset at how they come across in the recent movie Music of the Heart. The movie portrays Roberta Guaspari, who taught violin at the school from 1980 to last year, as the lone champion for music education at the school and characterizes the rest of the staff as uncaring and lazy. Some scenes, including a drive-by shooting, were fabricated, school officials say. Elizabeth Clark, a senior vice president for Miramax Films, the company that produced Music, says that the school it depicted was fictional and, in hindsight, should have been renamed.
An educational child-care program, started during infancy, can have lasting benefits for poor children, according to new results from a long-running study known as the Abecedarian Project. Beginning in 1972, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set out to track the long-term development of more than 100 low-income children enrolled in a five-year preschool with games to improve language skills. The participants, now young adults, demonstrated that they were more likely to perform well on tests of intelligence, pursue higher education, and delay parenting than children who did not experience such intensive preschool.
Bang For Your Buck
In December, Hobgood Academy, a private K-12 school in Hobgood, North Carolina, raffled off shotguns and hunting rifles to raise money for the school's Future Farmers of America chapter. The headmaster noted that firearms are common in Hobgood, and many in the community saw the event as a reasonable way to collect extra money for the school. Critics worried that the fund-raiser would send a message to children that guns in school are acceptable.
Somer Chipman Hurston and Chasity Glass, two teenage mothers who claimed the Grant County, Kentucky, school district had denied their National Honor Society applications because of their out-of-wedlock pregnancies, have settled the lawsuit they filed against school officials in 1998. [See "Honorable Discharge," January 1999.] The district awarded them each permanent membership in the NHS and $999. Both women are now enrolled in college, and Hurston has married.
The New York City-based United Federation of Teachers, the nation's largest local union affiliate, is cutting the rate of dues for its 140,000 members. "One of the points we'll be making in our upcoming contract negotiations is that our hard-working members deserve more money in their pockets," says UFT President Randi Weingarten. "So...we want to hold the line on this."
A new program in the St. Paul, Minnesota, schools requires students from kindergarten through 12th grade to read at least 25 books this school year to advance to the next grade or graduate. The program, dubbed "St. Paul Reads," invites parents and all school and city employees to read 25 books, too.
Phillips Academy, the private boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, that former President Bush and his two sons attended, has announced that it will allow faculty members who are in committed relationships with same-sex partners to share quarters with them while serving as house counselors in the dormitories. At least three other residential high schools in New England have similar policies, academy officials say.
Vol. 11, Issue 4, Pages 10-11