Report Roundup

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School-to-Work Efforts Fall Short, Report Says

School-to-work programs in California have shown ambiguous results at best in increasing the prospects for employment and college attendance among high school students in that state, a report released last week says. The report was commissioned by the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan research group that studies population trends, economic issues, and public finance. The study found that students who took part in technical-preparation programs in areas such as mechanical and industrial trades had a lower probability of college enrollment by 10 percentage points than students who did not participate in such programs. Some evidence, however, suggests that those technical programs did increase the likelihood that the students in them would find full-time work.

—Sean Cavanagh

Budget Cuts

A new online survey of public school teachers and students suggests that budget cuts have not had a major impact on the quality of education and extracurricular activities in their schools.

The survey, conducted by Educational Communications—the publisher of Who’s Who Among American High School Students and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers—gathered a nationally representative sample of opinions from 2,050 teachers and 600 high school students during a week in February.

Fifty-six percent of teachers responding said that school budget cuts had decreased the quality of students’ education "a little," "somewhat," or "not at all." Of the students in the survey, 64 percent said that the cuts their schools had made because of budget shortfalls had not affected them.

To obtain a free copy of the survey findings, send an e-mail to [email protected]

—Catherine A. Carroll

Behavioral Medications

For More Info

Spending on medications for behavioral disorders in children has for the first time outstripped the costs of antibiotics and asthma medications for youngsters, figures released last week show.

Although antibiotics and asthma and allergy medications still top the list of the most commonly used children’s drugs, spending on those prescriptions has increased more moderately over the past four years than the costs of behavioral medications, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the nation’s largest prescription- benefits management company.

Spending on behavioral medications in 2003 totaled $6.4 million, according to the Franklin Lakes, N.J., company. That compares with $6.1 million each on antibiotics and asthma medications.

Medications used primarily to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder showed one of the largest cost increases over the past several years, growing from $1.3 million in 2000 to $3.3 million last year.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Copyright Violations

Students understand that copyright law applies to software, computer games, online music, and other digital media. But that awareness doesn’t keep them from illegally sharing those products over online file-sharing networks, according to a Harris Interactive poll conducted for the Business Software Alliance, which represents software manufacturers.

A nationally representative poll of 1,183 youths, ages 8 to 18, found that most realize that digital media files are copyrighted, yet many admit to downloading such files without permission.

Just over half the respondents said they download music without permission, and a third admitted to downloading computer games. However, fewer youths admitted to downloading larger digital files, such as commercial software (22 percent) and movies (17 percent). The poll has a margin error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The survey also found that only 29 percent worry that downloading copyrighted material is wrong.

—Andrew Trotter

Vol. 23, Issue 38, Page 15

Published in Print: May 26, 2004, as Report Roundup
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