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 Posted April 15, 2003 

(2002) Jay Greene, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, in an essay titled "The GED Myth" asserts that in reality a GED is not the equivalent of a high school diploma. "Almost three-quarters of GED recipients who enroll in community college fail to complete their program compared to a 44% failure rate among regular high school graduates. In a four-year college the prospects for GEDs are much worse; 95% of GED recipients who enroll in a four-year college fail to finish compared to 25% of regular high school graduates. The GED gives students a chance at a post-secondary education but most GED recipients have difficulty succeeding at the next level." The author also asserts that although statistics show an increase to 86% completing high school, by taking out "equivalent" degrees such as GEDs from the calculation, only 77% of the students graduate from high school, a figure that is decreasing. The author also posits that the easily available GED encourages students to drop out. [More...]

(January 2003) The Hoover Digest article, "Smaller Is Better," by Hanna Skandera and Richard Sousa reviews 103 studies, concluding, "comprehensive research shows that small schools are superior to large schools on most measures and equal to them on the rest." The strength of small schools includes higher academic achievement, as well as a lower percentage of behavior problems, higher participation in extracurricular activities, better attendance patterns, lower dropout rates, and better teacher-student relationships. And, considering the number of students who actually graduate, cost-effectiveness can be better in small schools. The authors point out that research and results contradict the 1950s assertion that "consolidation meant economies of scale: more efficiency and more effectiveness." The leading proponents of consolidation came from Franklin Keller's 1955 book, The Comprehensive High School and James Conant's 1959 book, The American High School, which both stated: "the small high school was the number-one problem in education and that its elimination should be a top priority."

(March 2003) Pure Facts, the Feingold Association of the United States’ Newsletter (Vol. 27, No. 2) reports a 6.2 percent increase in the number of children and adolescents taking psychiatric drugs, both stimulants such as Ritalin, as well as anti-psychotics. They summarized articles by Julie Magno Zito and her research team that were published in the January 2003 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association in February of 2000, which tracked up to 1.5 percent of preschoolers ages 2 to 4 were being treated with stimulants, antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs. An earlier study by Marsha Rappley of Michigan State University found that Prozac, Clonidiine, Ritalin and dextroamphetamine were being given to children as young as one year old. (See Pure Facts, September 2000 and 1998.) Pure Facts also reported that teens are abusing over-the-counter cough suppressant/decongestants which contain the chemical dextrometherphan. Called the “poor man’s LSD”, it provides a powerful high when taken in large quantities and has killed some of the children who have abused it. “Coricidin Cough & Cold also contain a second potentially harmful chemical: chlorpheniramine maleate.”

(March 2003) Journal Watch, Vol 9, No. 3, which has the same publishers as the New England Journal of Medicine, reported a study showing a relation between aggression and sleep problems. “Disordered breathing and restless-legs symptoms were significantly associated with aggressive behaviors, even after adjustment for hyperactivity symptoms and use of stimulant medications.” Reviewers of the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2003, Feb; 42:201-8 say the “findings warrant further clinical attention and research.”

(March 2003) A research study by the University of California, Los Angeles, appearing in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 2003; 60:253-258, shows half or more of the children of depressed women experience depressive disorder, concluding that a brief major depression or prolonged mild depression by their mother puts a child at greatest risk of depression. Researchers also say exposure to maternal depression at any time during the first 10 years of life equally predicts youth depression, even if the mother was only depressed once. [More...]

(March 25, 2003) Recently, Joshua Finer, President of Finer Technologies, Inc. and an expert on Internet safety, circulated information about his website,, “the nation's largest source of information and software tools regarding Internet Safety.” Citing recent news that a 14-year-old Michigan girl was found safe after being lured on the Internet to meet with a convicted murderer, he states: “1 out of 5 kids has been sexually solicited online, and 1 out of 4 kids has been sent a picture of naked people or people having sex online. Titles and web links to articles written by Mr. Finer include: “Real Dangers to Kids Online and How to Avoid Them: Top 5 Internet Safety Tips”, and “Choosing Internet Safety Software...for YOUR Family.”

(March 11, 2003) An Associated Press story, carried in the Spokesman-Review, reports “both boys and girls who watch a lot of violence on television have a heightened risk of aggressive adult behavior, including spouse abuse and criminal offenses…” The study by psychologists L. Rowel Huesmann and colleagues at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, appeared in the March issue of the journal, Developmental Psychology. The study involved 329 adults initially surveyed as children in the late 1970s, then later interviewed as adults, along with their spouses or friends; crime records were also checked. “Huesmann said televised violence suggests to young children that aggression is appropriate in some situations, especially when it is used by charismatic heroes. It also erodes a natural aversion to violence.”

(March 23, 2003) Robert R. Butterworth, Director of International Trauma Associates, Los Angeles, 213-477-2340, warns that TV coverage of the "Shock and Awe" of a war can be interpreted into fearful "Run and Hide" feelings in children. Butterworth advises that children are becoming increasingly frightened by images of war on TV, but by some simple techniques that can easily be changed to anger, "an emotion that's easier for children to control." He also suggests parents practice conducting a "Child's War Briefing", honestly explaining what it all means, since "children who do not know the real facts about the war will fantasize their own version of reality, which could cause more psychological trauma than would occur by a clear and understandable explanation of the actual events."

(March 27, 2003) Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, reports some alcohol outlets and convenience stores in California and mini-marts at gas stations in the Bay Area, Seattle, Milwaukee, WI and St. Petersburg, FL, and other states are offering prepackaged kits for smoking crack cocaine. Purportedly, the novelty roses and automobile air fresheners – are each packaged in small, glass tubes that are used to make pipes -- and Chore Boys scrubbing pads are used to make a crude screen for holding the crack rock in place. Also being sold are tiny plastic baggies activists say are being used as crack packages.

(March 27, 2003) An effort to spark teen voices on the war in Iraq,, an online initiative of Save the Children, has created Caught in the Crossfire, which seeks to find a common ground among teenagers, regardless of their opinions on the war. The centerpiece of Caught in the Crossfire is a message-writing campaign, where teens can write messages of support to Iraqi children and U.S. children whose parents are fighting in Iraq. The messages will be sent directly to internally displaced/refugee Iraqi children and to U.S. children of military families, respectively. © Copyright 2003 United Press International. All rights reserved.

(April 2, 2003) The Education Economy, published by Eduventures, Inc. No. 141 reports, “Education Budget Cuts Cannot Be Avoided.” Despite national prioritization of education, twenty states have cut some K-12 funding for fiscal year 2003; some forced to make mid-year 2002 cuts. Eduventures recommends that to be viable, K-12-focused companies must legitimately tie their products and services to improving student achievement, reporting student progress, and other directives of the "No Child Left Behind Act," or prove that their offerings will save schools money in the long run. Companies should also work with schools to help identify and access other funding sources, such as the federal E-rate program or grants from private organizations. Firms that will thrive will be those that can demonstrate to schools the value of their offerings and help to ensure that schools will be able to pay for them.

(April 4, 2003) Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, reports the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County (MD) is distributing tens of thousands of cocktail napkins at bars and restaurants imprinted with the message: "Who Else is Watching Your Drink?" Inside the napkin says in red letters, "Watch out for date-rape drugs!" The napkin is folded nearly in half with the words "do not open" printed down its side, and inside there is a 24-hour hot line number and an e-mail address for the crisis service. The messages are a reminder that anyone can tamper with an unattended drink, tainting it with rohypnol or GHB (the depressant gamma-hydroxybutyrate), so-called club drugs that leave the unwary victim confused, vulnerable and unconscious. The Carroll County Community Foundation and a state grant paid the $1,700 tab. 51,000 napkins are being distributed to restaurants that are willing to use them throughout next month, which is National Rape Awareness Month.

(April 10, 2003) Condition Yellow, Condition Orange, Condition Red…Ok, the Department of Homeland Security has evaluated all the intelligence and issued the proper Alert Code, now what?? Keys To Safer Schools has developed a document which can be added to a school’s existing Crisis Plan to explain actions to be taken at each level of Alert, with a matrix to clarify the steps to take. The FREE handout, "What school should do under the Homeland Security System - Severe Level," can be downloaded from HERE.

(April 9, 2003) The owners of Redcliff Ascent, in partnership with Steve Nadauld 800-898-1244 or 801-368-1338 and Brent Hall, have acquired Discovery Academy in Provo Utah. Steve Nadauld will continue his role at RedCliff but will also participate in business development with Discovery Academy. Brent Hall, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has been with Discovery Academy for the last three years, and now will become their Executive Director. This purchase coincides with the retirement of Dr. Eugene and Carol Thorne from their many years of service as owners and directors of Discovery Academy. [More...]

(April 8, 2003) The U.S. Justice Department just released a report stating an estimated 12 percent of African-American men ages 20 to 34 are in jail or prison. This is the highest rate ever measured, said Allen J. Beck, the chief prison demographer for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the statistical arm of the Justice Department. By comparison, 1.6 percent of white men in the same age group are incarcerated. The report found that the number of people in United States jails and prisons exceeded 2 million for the first time last year, rising to 2,019,234, representing an increase of 0.3 percent in the number of people behind bars. It was at least in part attributed to Congress having increased the number of federal offenses, including many drug crimes and gun possession cases. The report found a 5.4 percent increase in the number of people confined in local and county jails, with the number rising to 665,475, the largest growth in the jail population in five years. Mr. Beck said that the 12 percent of black men in their 20's and early 30's in jail or prison was "a very dramatic number, very significant," and was just the rate on a given day; over the course of a lifetime, the rates are much higher. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has calculated that 28 percent of black men will be sent to jail or prison in their lifetime.  [More...]
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