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"If our young people can't find places on a map and lack awareness of current events, how can they understand the world's cultural, economic, and natural resource issues?"

John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society, bemoaning the results of a November study in which young Americans identified, on average, only seven out of 16 countries on a world map.

"It's just as important for me to be a role model for white kids as for black kids. And the majority culture needs to see competent minorities doing a job well."

Josha Talison, an African American assistant principal at Hart Middle School in Rochester, Michigan, on why he took a job at the majority white school last year. The state's suburban districts are making a concerted effort to hire more people of color as administrators and teachers.

"They're so afraid that some other squeaky wheel is going to outparent them."

Linda Shapiro, president of the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling, on parents who meddle in their kids' attempts to get into top colleges. Officials say more parents are inserting themselves into the process in troublesome ways, making phone calls and even threats.

"I agree I shouldn't have thrown anything, at the desk or at him. But it was a small, little item. It couldn't have hurt a fly, really."

Geraldine S. Bell, a former teacher at Kimball Elementary School in Washington, D.C., who was fired this past fall for hurling a package of paper clips at a student. Since the academic year began, the school system has dismissed 13 educators for disciplining students in a violent manner.

Vol. 14, Issue 6, Page 13

Published in Print: March 1, 2003, as Overheard
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