News in Brief: A National Roundup

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Pizza Hut, Citing Danger, Refuses Delivery to School

A Pizza Hut restaurant has incurred the wrath of school officials in Kansas City, Mo., for refusing to deliver a takeout order to a high school in a neighborhood that the company considers too dangerous for its drivers.

Dorothy Shepherd, the principal of the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, complained to the school board after Pizza Hut last month spurned her attempt to order food for a student luncheon.

A spokesman for the Dallas-based chain said the decision was made locally not to deliver to the school because it is located in a high-crime area and is too far from the restaurant to assure timely service.

Some school board members charged the company with discriminating against the predominantly black neighborhood. In light of the controversy, a district spokesman said last week that lawyers were reviewing a contract that the board coincidentally signed with the chain last month to provide lunches in 24 schools.

Judge Orders Safety Plan

Citing mounting incidents of violence and property losses in district schools, a federal judge has ordered the Kansas City, Mo., district to draw up a comprehensive security plan.

U.S. District Court Judge Russell G. Clark, who is overseeing the 37,000-student district's desegregation case, ordered school officials to prepare a plan by Feb. 14 that establishes accountability for thefts and ensures student and teacher safety.

District officials credit better reporting for part of the apparent rise in crime.

Younger Girls Seek Equity

A Title IX lawsuit was filed last week on behalf of middle school girls in Oklahoma, moving the federal law against gender discrimination in education institutions into another realm.

Eighteen parents of students at Noble Public School in Noble filed suit in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, charging Independent School District 40 with offering unequal athletic opportunities.

Most Title IX suits have been filed at the college level, with some filtering down into high schools in the past few years.

Sam Schiller, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, noted the importance of developing girls' athletic abilities before they reach high school. Superintendent Troy Compston said he would not comment until he had examined the lawsuit.

Enrollment More Stable

College enrollment at public and private two-year and four-year institutions in most states appears to be stabilizing after four years of declines, the American Council on Education has found.

The Washington-based higher education group reported last month that five of the 11 states submitting complete data for last fall experienced drops in enrollment.

The declines in each of those states amounted to roughly 2 percent or less. At the same time, the ACE found, the enrollment increases reported by the remaining states were no higher than 2.2 percent.

The group compiled data from 22 states. It said the results could be taken as a general indicator of national trends.

Robbers Hit Bus Stops

Within a one-week period this month, 12 students from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolina were robbed at school bus stops. Among the items stolen were jewelry, clothing, sneakers, and lunch money.

Police suspect that juveniles committed the early-morning armed robberies.

Janyce Rucker, a spokeswoman for the district, said school officials have placed their own security personnel in some of the trouble spots, and parents have also organized bus stop watches.

Wyoming Band Plays On

A Wyoming high school band that was almost frozen out of the presidential inauguration got the go-ahead to strike up for this week's ceremonies after all.

After raising more than $100,000 for the trip, the 100-member Cody High School marching band found out last month that the inaugural committee had picked another band to represent Wyoming in Washington.

A Washington Post story detailing the town of Cody's disappointment led President Clinton to insist the school be invited. The Cody band was scheduled to play at a site along the parade route.

The other band, from Jackson Hole High School, was slated to march in the Jan. 20 parade.

The 30-member group was recommended by the head of the state's Democratic Party.

Bus Kills Georgia Girl

An 8-year-old Georgia girl was killed this month while trying to dislodge her book bag from the doors of a school bus.

Shante Disney, a 2nd grader at Valley Point Elementary School in Dalton, was killed getting off the bus near her home after school, according to Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood. Eyewitnesses told the sheriff that the bus driver inadvertently closed the doors on her book bag and drove off. As she ran alongside the vehicle trying to retrieve her bag, she fell, and the bus ran her over.

The driver was unaware that the accident had occurred until he finished the route that he had driven for 20 years, the sheriff said. No charges had been filed as of press time.

Former ETS Official Is Dead at 66

David J. Brodsky, a former executive vice president of the Educational Testing Service, died Jan. 12 in Princeton, N.J., of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 66.

Mr. Brodsky joined the ETS in 1955 as a planning officer. During his 38-year tenure, he rose through the organization to become executive vice president in 1982. His lengthy career paralleled the growth of the Princeton-based nonprofit organization responsible for writing and administering admissions tests such as the SAT.

When Mr. Brodsky came to the ETS, its annual income was $3 million; it had grown to more than $365 million by the time he retired in 1993.

Promoter of 'Sesame Street' Dies

Evelyn Payne Davis, a former vice president of the Children's Television Workshop, died Jan. 10 in New York City. She was 75.

As the head of the CTW's community education services, Ms. Davis helped popularize "Sesame Street" among inner city parents and children. She and her staff worked with local caregivers, teachers, and others in urban neighborhoods throughout the country to use the program to help educate young children.

Ms. Davis, who retired from the CTW in 1992, also helped found the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women.

College Freshmen Report Higher High School Grades

Last fall's crop of college freshmen received higher grades in high school and took more college preparatory courses than any other incoming class in the past 31 years, an annual survey of students entering U.S. colleges and universities shows.

"The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 1996" was conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, and sponsored by the Washington-based American Council on Education.

It shows that 31.5 percent of students reported earning an A average in high school. The survey also found that record numbers of students took at least three years of mathematics, two years of a foreign language, and two years of biological science in high school.

Linda J. Sax, one of the authors, said that because of increasing societal pressure to attend college, students are feeling the need to take more college-prep courses and high school teachers are feeling the need to be more lenient in their grading.

The survey also found that student interest in elementary and secondary teaching careers rose to its highest level in 23 years.

The study's authors surveyed nearly 355,000 students from the nation's public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities. The data were adjusted to be representative of the 1.5 million first-time, full-time students entering college last fall.

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