Current Events: Roundup
A Delaware Superior Court judge has ordered the Indian River school board to take another vote on whether to dismiss Adele Jones, the mathematics teacher whose firing last year attracted national media attention. [See "The High Price Of Failure,'' October 1993.] Judge T. Henley Graves ruled that the board had erred in voting to dismiss Jones without fully reviewing all the exhibits in her case. He also ruled that a board member whose children had fared poorly in Jones' class had a conflict of interest and should not have voted. The teacher, who taught algebra at Sussex Central High School in George- town, was fired because she had a record of giving many of her students D's and F's. The official charges against her were incompetence and insubordination. Jones argued that she had high stan- dards, requiring students to keep notebooks, to pay attention in class, and to do their homework. Those who did so, she said, generally passed. At press time, no date had been set for a new vote.
Kids Killing Kids
Homicide has become the nation's third-leading cause of death for elementary and middle school children, according to a report released in January by the Children's Defense Fund. The advocacy group found that a "classroomful'' of children die in gun-related incidents every two days. "After years of family disintegration, the crisis of children having children has been eclipsed by the greater crisis of children killing children,'' said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the CDF. Between 1979 and 1991, nearly 50,000 children under age 19 were killed by guns, roughly the same number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. What's more, the number of juveniles arrested for murder and manslaughter climbed 93 percent from 1982 to 1991, while the number of adults arrested for the same crimes rose only 11 percent. "It is adults who have manufactured and profited from the guns that have turned our schools into war zones, and it is adults who must give our children a stake in the future,'' Edelman said. Copies of the report, "State of America's Children Yearbook 1994,'' are available for $16.95 each from the CDF, 25 E St., N.W., Washington, DC 20001.
A Free Lesson
Film director Steven Spielberg is helping underwrite a program that will give thousands of California high school students a chance to attend free screenings of Schindler's List, his new movie about the Holocaust. Spielberg and Sidney Sheinberg, the movie's producer, have made a deal with theater owners to allow 10th and 11th grade students to watch the film, which tells the story of the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who risked his fortune to save more than 1,100 Jewish workers during World War II. The program was launched in February in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego and may be expanded to 30 or 40 theaters across the state for as long as the film runs. Spielberg's production company, Amblin Entertainment, is also distributing teachers' guides.
Exposure to sex education curricula does not lead teenagers to engage in sexual activity at a younger age than they otherwise would nor does it increase the frequency of sexual intercourse or the number of sexual partners, according to a new study. The report was released in January at a conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Author Doug Kirby, director of research for ETR Associates, a health education publishing company, reached his conclusions after examining 23 studies of school-based sex education programs. Copies of his report are available from ETR Associates, P.O. Box 1830, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1830.