December 27, 2004 1 min read

“At least the timing was good.”

—Allan Bossard, principal of Little Egg Harbor Township Intermediate School, after an Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet accidentally strafed it about 9:30 p.m. one evening this past fall. Twenty-five two-inch shells from the plane’s gun struck the playground and perforated the roof of the New Jersey school, which is less than four miles from a military gunnery range. A janitor was the only person on the grounds at the time, and she wasn’t injured.

“The biggest difference is, there aren’t any boys. That’s good because ... you get to talk about girl stuff. It’s bad because I don’t get to play football.”

—Shalia Hyman, one of 22 5th graders of the inaugural class of the Sisters Academy of Baltimore, about the ways her new, all-girl Roman Catholic middle school in Baltimore, Maryland, differs from the public school she had attended.

“My record on schools [is that] I was flaky.”

—Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, blaming himself for the city’s recurrent school problems. Despite generous per-student spending, standardized test scores in the district are consistently at the bottom of national rankings, violent crime in schools is ongoing, high truancy rates are the norm, and the superintendent’s office has had four occupants in the past year.

“I’m a whole different person when I’m the music teacher and when I’m the cook.”

—Angie Ripp, who recently expanded her music-class duties to include shopping, cooking, and balancing the books for, as well as cleaning up after, breakfast and lunch service at Gates Public School, near Broken Bow, Nebraska. Ripp doesn’t have a teaching degree, and she didn’t have any prior experience preparing institutional food, but the 17-student, K-8 school needed to fill both jobs in a hurry.