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The Company One Keeps

President Bush, unable to accept an invitation to speak before the National Education Association at its Washington meeting this past summer, did manage to address the Family Motor Coach Association meeting at the Virginia State Fairgrounds. The New York Times reports that the President was preceded at the podium by a man juggling rubber chickens—an act called "Poultry in Motion." Many attendees had come from seminars with titles such as "Let's Talk Diesel" and "Hair Styles on The Road," and seemed surprised when the President stepped up to the microphone to make a speech about the environment.

Say It Again, Lauro

Bush's Secretary of Education, Lauro Cavazos, in a recent speech, cited five statistics to "quantitate the education deficit." One statistic: "28 percent of our students drop out of high school." The next one: "The national high school graduation rate is 71.5 percent."

Chalk It Up

Ever wonder why AN-DU-SEPTIC chalk, which claims to be dustless, still leaves your fingers white? According to Binney & Smith, which makes 30,000 sticks of it daily, the chalk does produce dust, but the dust particles are weighted to fall to the ground instead of hovering in the air at face level (as it does in our cover photo this month). Binney & Smith patented its product in 1902, winning a gold medal for product excellence at the St. Louis Exposition, as well as the praise of countless teachers who no longer sneezed every time they wrote on the blackboard.

Picky, Picky, And Less Picky

Before substantially increasing teacher salaries and introducing site-based management, Dade County, Fla., typically had only two applicants to choose from for every teacher opening. Now they have an average of nine teachers contending for each available slot. That still makes them less picky than Minneapolis—which has an applicant-to-opening ratio of 10 to 1—but well ahead of most cities. Los Angeles has a 4-to-1 ratio; Washington, D.C., gets three teachers applying per opening; and in New York City, fewer than two teachers vie for every position.

From The Circular File

Those years of trying to quiet boisterous students finally paid off for retired teacher Margaret Halverson of Lake City, Iowa. She won $150 and first place in the 15th annual Jackpot Hollerin' Contest in Jackpot, Nev., according to an Associated Press report. The trophy will go on her shelf next to the one she won some 20 years ago for first place in the Iowa State Hog-Calling Contest.

Strange Bedfellows?

Teachers touring the exhibit hall at the National Education Association's summer meeting did a double take when they saw the Sugar Association and the President's Council on Physical Fitness sharing a booth. The Sugar Association is supporting the council's fitness program for children, called "On Your Mark." It also picked up the tab for the booth.

Worth Repeating

Overheard at the American Federation of Teachers' QuEST conference this past summer: "If a doctor prescribes pills for a patient who fails to take them and dies, no one blames the doctor. Why then are teachers blamed for pupil failures when students refuse to do their assignments?"

On Getting No Respect

According to The New York Times, in 1776 The Maryland Journal carried a story about a ship arriving in Baltimore carrying "various Irish commodities, among which are beef, pork, potatoes, and schoolmasters."

Vol. 01, Issue 01, Page 116

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