News Briefs

May 01, 2002 1 min read

Divided Opinion

In a move that’s making some Milwaukee principals nervous, the local teachers’ union has asked members to assess their school leaders with comments that will be posted online by May, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The survey is part of an effort to better inform educators seeking jobs in the area. But the state principals’ union fears the feedback could lead to tense relations. “We see it as an activity which is not constructive to a wholesome partnership in the building,” says union director John Weigelt.

Dream Team

Upholstered armchairs. Plush carpeting. Adjustable desk lamps. The trappings of a comfortable home office? No, they’re elements kids would include in their “dream” classroom, according to the Indianapolis Star. In March, the newspaper convened a focus group of 66 area 8th graders to discuss school design. Suggestions for improving facilities included creating cafeterias similar to shopping mall food courts and installing high-tech lockers that would open with the swipe of a student ID.

Just Say Yikes

While overall illegal drug use by U.S. teenagers remains stable, adolescent consumption of Ecstasy is rising, according to a recent study from the New York City-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Teen use of the pill, which accelerates the release of serotonin in the brain, has jumped by 71 percent since 1999, the group reports.

Feeding Frenzy

In March, grossed-out parents forced Kansas teacher Matthew Patton to scrap his plan to feed three unwanted puppies to snakes in a biology class, the Associated Press reports. Although Dale Harper, principal of Bluestem High School, acceded to the parents’ demands, he defended Patton’s aborted lesson in boa constrictor cuisine, noting that “very few people have a problem with seeing a rat” being devoured. Harper was trying to find homes for the dogs, who had been slated to be destroyed at an animal shelter.

A Whale of a Lesson

Apparently, learning is bred in the bone at an alternative school in Ilwaco, Washington. This spring, its students helped clean and rebuild the remains of a gray whale that died on the beach a few years back. Later this summer, the skeleton will be installed as an educational exhibit on the state’s Long Beach peninsula.