Report Roundup

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Report Notes Decreases In Risky Teen Behaviors

Significant decreases occurred from 1991 to 2003 in the percentages of high school students who never or rarely wore seat belts, rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, drove after drinking alcohol, had been in a physical fight, or had made plans to commit suicide.

Those are among the many findings included in a recent report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta.

Despite the good news, the agency says that "too many high school students continue to engage in health risk behaviors."

—Darcia Harris Bowman

College Access

The demand for higher education in California by 2010 will increase by more than 700,000 students with roughly three-quarters of that growth occurring at community colleges, concludes a report released last week by a coalition of business, civic, and labor organizations.

The study, completed by the San Jose, Calif.-based National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education, also concludes that 1.8 million students in California will be turned away from public two- and four-year universities over the next decade if current economic and state-funding trends continue.

—Sean Cavanagh

Favorite Subjects

More high school students prefer math than any other subject, says a Gallup poll released last week.

For More Info
The "Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing" is available to subscribers from Gallup.

Nearly one-fourth of the 13- to 17-year- olds polled said mathematics is their favorite subject, significantly more than those who indicated a preference for English (13 percent) or science (12 percent). Virtually the same proportions of girls and boys—22 percent and 24 percent, respectively—favor math, and about 12 percent of each group prefers science. Preferences for English, however, varied significantly by gender, with 22 percent of girls and just 5 percent of boys citing that subject as their favorite.

—Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Smoking and Academics

Students in Canada indicate that smoking may contribute to poor academic performance, according to a recent health survey. Conducted by Statistics Canada, a federal Canadian agency, the survey included nearly 20,000 5th through 9th grade students attending public schools in the fall of 2002.

Although an analysis of the data, which was released this month, found that smoking among middle school students had declined more than 50 percent between 1994 and 2002, 28 percent of those who do smoke said they were doing poorly in school. Only six percent of their nonsmoking peers, by contrast, viewed their academic performance as below average.

—Marianne D. Hurst

W.Va. Frustrations

West Virginian high schoolers believe their schools could be improved if teachers stopped showing favoritism among students, insulting and verbally degrading students, and leaving the classroom for extended periods of time.

That’s at least what some students said in eight focus groups that were part of a study of student opinions about schools commissioned by the Education Alliance, a statewide education fund based in Charleston, W.Va.

African- American students—particularly in rural areas—reported having been discriminated against by school personnel and white students. Low-achieving white students expressed a perception that school counselors and teachers didn’t want to help them.

—Mary Ann Zehr

Inhalant Use

The abuse of household inhalants by middle school students has increased by nearly 44 percent over the past two years, concludes a survey released last week by the New York City-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

For More Info

The survey estimates that 26 percent of 8th graders and 26 percent of 6th graders surveyed abused inhalants in 2003. Of those, only 63 percent of 8th graders and 48 percent of 6th graders were aware that inhalants could kill them. The survey polled 7,250 students.

—Marianne D. Hurst

Vol. 23, Issue 41, Page 14

Published in Print: June 23, 2004, as Report Roundup
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