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New view

It all began when 5th grader Kimberly Carpenter came home from school one day and told her father she wanted to see the world from a boy's perspective.

Under a 50-year-old tradition at her 270-student K-8 school in San Pasqual Valley, Calif., girls always sit on the right side of the bus, boys on the left. But Kimberly said she had sat in all of the seats, looked out all of the windows, and wanted a change of scenery. Her father, Harold Carpenter, then decided to question the policy, taking the matter to the school board.The school's superintendent and principal, Gordon Christensen, said the challenge to the policy took him by surprise.

"This is a long-standing practice and one that doesn't seem to bother anyone except maybe Mr. Carpenter," Mr. Christensen said in an interview. "Most parents feel the issue of safety is more important than choice."

Keeping the sexes separate but equal makes the daily bus ride safer because boys and girls are less rambunctious when they're kept apart, the superintendent argued. And, he added, Kimberly sees one side of the scenery on her morning ride, and a wholly different view in the afternoon.

But the policy is not set in stone, and school officials are considering integrating the sexes on a trial basis.

"This is not something we're going to go to the mat for," Mr. Christensen said.

Old world

The quest to find the oldest world wall map in a U.S. school has come to an end. Rand McNally has found a winner in Johnston Elementary School in Appleton, Wis.

Last fall, the Skokie, Ill., maker of maps and other geographic-information products sponsored the contest to help strengthen the teaching of geography. ("Take Note," Oct. 9, 1996.)

Johnston Elementary had in its possession a British-made map, dated between 1886 and 1893. The map identified Hawaii as the Sandwich Islands and South Africa as Cape Colony, and it recognized Formosa, which was given to Japan in 1895, as a Chinese territory, all of which helped Rand McNally pinpoint its approximate age.

The company will give the Appleton school district $10,000 worth of maps, globes, and atlases.


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