"It's basically like a drug addiction. Kids come into class completely catatonic. They look like zombies."
—Gene Brunak, a teacher at Mission San Jose High School in Freemont, California, on students' reliance on caffeine—from coffee, pills, and soda—to get them through the day.
"Our 'culture'—or what passes for it—is being transformed by a semiliterate underclass that demonstrates little or no interest in or aptitude for higher learning."
—Ken Ward, education columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, writing in May about the effect he claims the growth of the Latino population is having on his county's school system. Nearly 100 people picketed the newspaper's offices to protest the column.
"The contingency plan may be as simple as hiring another educational service provider to immediately take over Edison's responsibilities."
—Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Tom Watkins, suggesting in a June memo that Michigan charter schools with Edison contracts consider what they would do if the national for-profit school-management company went out of business. Edison's stock plummeted earlier this year.
"We don't think that teachers should come to work in halter tops ... or that they should come to work in short shorts."
—Edd Poore, a school district official in St. Petersburg, Florida, on what constitutes appropriate dress for the area's teachers. Poore broached the subject during labor negotiations in July because the superintendent's office had received at least 20 complaints about educators' exceedingly informal attire in the past year.
Vol. 14, Issue 1, Page 11Published in Print: August 1, 2002, as Overheard