Polling The Public:
A majority of Americans support a vast overhaul of the education system, and nearly three-quarters believe teachers, rather than legislatures or school boards, should enact the reforms, according to a poll commissioned by Scholastic Inc. and conducted by Louis Harris & Associates. Another poll, this one by the National Education Association, asked the public to grade President Bush's effort to be "education president.'' Less than a quarter of those polled gave him an A or B; a full 25 percent gave him a D or F.
A Hot Line:
A group of parents and students has sued the Dade County, Fla., school system, claiming the district is promoting homosexuality and drug use by giving out information about a telephone hot line. Filed by a conservative legal foundation on behalf of five minors and their mothers, the suit targets "The Link,'' a toll-free service for teens that offers more than 70 taped messages on such subjects as religion, sexuality, and drugs. The suit asks the court to bar schools from distributing The Link's number.
High school athletes hoping to continue their playing days as freshmen at four-year colleges and universities will have to earn a grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in 13 core courses, under new rules adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The current standard calls for a GPA of 2.0 in 11 core courses. The tougher requirements go into effect in the 1995-96 school year.
A Loose Cannon?:
A federal judge has refused to hear a lawsuit brought by John Peloza, an Orange County, Calif., biology teacher who claimed the Capistrano Unified School District violated his constitutional rights by preventing him from teaching creationism and forcing him to teach evolution. "Simply put,'' the judge wrote, "the issue I must decide is whether Peloza had a constitutional right to conduct himself as a loose cannon in his classroom . . .and teach theories of his own choosing. I conclude that he has not.''
Teach For America, the privately organized teacher corps that places recent college graduates in rural and inner-city classrooms, has received a three-year, $3 million "challenge'' grant from Philip Morris Inc. The grant, which is contingent on matching grants from other donors, is the largest the nonprofit group has received and the largest Philip Morris has awarded to a single education organization. TFA will use the money to recruit teachers on more than 200 college campuses and train them.
More than 60 percent of runaway and homeless teenagers in shelters and transitional living facilities were physically or sexually abused by their parents, according to a survey by the National Association of Social Workers. Twentynine percent reported having parents who had problems with alcohol, and 24 percent said their parents were drug abusers.
A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the state department of public instruction does not have the authority to censor a school's nickname or symbol. An Indian woman, angered by Milton High School's "Redman'' sobriquet, had asked the education department to determine whether the name was discriminatory. But Milton school officials took the matter to court, arguing that the state had no authority in the matter. Rock County Circuit Court Judge John Lussow agreed.
Although teenagers spend a lot of time in the sun, few wear the sunscreen they need to avoid developing skin cancer as adults. This is the conclusion of a new study published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. Of the 220 adolescents studied, only 9 percent said they always use a sunscreen, and 33 percent said they never do. More than 80 percent said they spend most weekends outside in the sun.