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News & Views
Sep 27, 2004
INCREASE IN USE OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
(May 27, 2004) The National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD released the results of a survey of 31,000 adults that found 36 percent of US adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). If CAM includes prayer specifically for health reasons, the total rises to 62 percent. Alternative approaches in the study included acupuncture, chiropractic, natural products such as herbs, special diets and megavitamin therapy. nccam.nih.gov
PRESIDENT BUSH PROPOSES MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING
(June 19, 2004) Several sources have asserted that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that President Bush will propose screening the entire US population, including children, for mental illness, so mentally ill patients can get the help they need.
(July 29, 2004) An ex-teacher from Wasatch Academy in Utah, who the school reported to authorities had had sex with students, is being bound over for trial on one rape charge and unlawful sexual activity with two female students at the school. More information can be found in the Deseret News at deseretnews.com and deseretnews.com.
STUDY: WHERE DO PUBLIC TEACHERS SCHOOL THEIR CHILDREN
(August 7, 2004) The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation conducted a study that showed how nationally, statistics indicate that public school teachers enroll their children in private schools at a higher rate than the general public, especially those teaching in urban public schools. The study assumes that no one knows the condition and quality of public schools better than teachers who work in them every day. If teachers were more likely than the general public to send their children to the public schools they teach in, it would show confidence in those schools. However, if they do not, then we may reasonably conclude that they do not have confidence in the public school systems they work in. www.edexcellence.net
TOUGHLOVE MARKS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
(August 11, 2004) TOUGHLOVE International Distribution Services, Doylestown, PA, 203-846-2811, founded in 1979, announced that the organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The organization is a “worldwide, self-help, non-profit organization for parents, children and communities.” Therapists Phyllis and David York founded the organization on the basis that families in crisis are often brought back to sanity and responsibility by friends, not experts or counselors. They claim that in the past 25 years, more than 1,600,000 families have participated in TOUGHLOVE.
ONLINE EDUCATION USE SKYROCKETING
(August 13, 2004) A CNN article reported that according to United States Distance Learning, 90 percent of four-year colleges offer some form of online education. Eduventures, a research firm, predicted the online learning market would grow more than 38 percent in 2004, taking in $5.1 billion in revenue. About 25 percent of K-12 public schools offer some online education for students and teachers, according to Education Week. Eduventures said the market for K-12 should grow 10 percent this year. Students take cyber classes to supplement or complement their education, and some programs allow students to earn their high school diploma entirely online. www.cnn.com
NUMBER OF SINGLE-SEX CLASSES GROWS
(August 25, 2004) A CNN article reported that Texas is experimenting with single sex schools. Advocates say separating the sexes can improve learning by easing the peer pressure that may lead to misbehaviors and low self-esteem among girls. They also expect the number of schools to increase now that the US Department of Education plans to change Title IX, the discrimination law, which bars sexual discrimination in schools. “Separating the sexes allows teachers and administrators to focus on the different ways boys and girls learn,” said Dr. Leonard Sax, a Maryland physician and psychologist who founded a non-profit group that advocates single-sex public education. www.cnn.com
MILLIONS IN FAILING SCHOOLS
(August 30, 2004) A Washington Times article reported that millions of children are in failing schools. State reports show that at least 24,000 public schools, one quarter of the 96,500 nationwide, failed to meet "adequate yearly progress" (AYP). Those schools predominantly served minority and economically disadvantaged students. www.washtimes.com
ENTITLED KIDS…THE RESULT OF PARENTS FORGETTING TO SAY "NO"
(September 2004) An article posted on MSN.com, stressed that kids who do not have limits imposed for them grow up to be adults who experience difficulty coping with life's disappointments and may have problems with success in the workplace and relationships. Psychologists say parents who overindulge their kids may have future problems with anxiety and depression. "The risk of overindulgence is self-centeredness and self-absorption, and that's a mental-health risk," said William Damon, director of the Stanford University Center on Adolescence. www.msnbc.msn.com
INCREASED CONCERNS OVER PUBLIC SCHOOL BOMB THREATS
(September 1, 2004) Education Week reported that there are increasing financial concerns about false bomb threats in public schools. The pranksters are most often students. For some schools, bomb threats have become routine, with each incident ringing up multi-thousand-dollar tabs for emergency manpower, special equipment, makeup instructional time and other costs. "You’ve got to respond as if it’s the real thing every time," said Ronald D. Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center. Many school districts are seeking criminal and civil action for the perpetrators involved in these incidents. www.edweek.org
CALIFORNIA CHARTER MANAGEMENT FIRM CLOSES
(September 1, 2004) Education Week reported on the closure of the California Charter Academy (CCA) that ran about 60 schools under four charters and enrolled some 10,000 students. It is one of the largest charter school failures since the nation’s first independent public school opened in 1991. Administrators in the CCA network said they experienced persistent problems with the company’s management. Those problems included denying requests for supplies, money for salaries, and paying bills late or not at all. www.edweek.org
REFUGE OF GRACE ACADEMY FORMED IN MISSOURI
(September 1, 2004) An article in the Ozarks Newsstand reported that the Refuge of Grace Academy in Stockton, MO, operated by Bud Martin, currently educates six girls between the ages of 13 and 17 who stay for one year or until graduation. The girls receive a Christian-oriented education during their stay at the academy, and Bud said, “For some of the girls, this is their last opportunity to get an education. Basically, it is our goal to provide them with a good education in a Christian atmosphere." www.zwire.com
VALID EDUCATION RESEARCH SCARCE
(September 8, 2004) An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that classroom teachers are not getting the high-quality research they need to evaluate what does and does not work. The importance of this research has prompted the US Department of Education to provide a screening service called “What Works Clearinghouse Website, www.whatworks.ed.gov.” The belief is that the Clearinghouse will encourage better research and provide teachers with the educational research necessary to offer good advice on which materials and methods are best for classroom use. According to the article, there is currently poor methodology in most educational research. www.signonsandiego.com
CRIME RATE REMAINS STEADY AT 30-YEAR LOW
(September 13, 2004) A Washington Post article reported that a recent study by the US Department of Justice showed that last year’s national crime rate was the lowest it had been in the past 30 years. The study revealed a decade-long trend in which violent crime has fallen by 55 percent and property crime by 49 percent, including a 14 percent drop in violent crime between the years 2000-2001 and 2002-2003. www.washingtonpost.com
JUVENILES AT RISK IN MARYLAND DETENTION FACILITY
(September 14, 2004) A Washington Post story reported that an independent inspection of a Baltimore juvenile detention center uncovered “threats to the life, health and safety,” of the 160 children housed in the facility. During the inspection, the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor revealed the building had never had enough staff to maintain the safety and control for even half the number of current residents. The story said the situation was so volatile that public defenders and "various ministerial and volunteer groups stopped visiting the facility for fear of their own safety." www.washingtonpost.com
US ED DEPT. ACCEPTS 9.8 MILLION SETTLMENT FROM ONLINE UNIVERSITY
(September 14, 2004) The Dallas Morning News reported that the University of Phoenix, a for-profit online university, violated a rule that bans paying incentives to recruiters. The rule forbids all schools who receive federal financial aid from paying finders’ fees to recruiters because of the possibility that enrollment of unqualified students may increase the numbers of student loan defaults and cost taxpayers millions. The Apollo Group, the university's parent company, agreed to pay $9.8 million to the US Education Department to settle the matter without admitting any liability or wrongdoing. www.dallasnews.com
WHAT HAPPENS TO INCREASING NUMBERS OF EXPELLED STUDENTS?
(September 14, 2004) An article in the Christian Science Monitor reported that more students are expelled from school than ever before for a wider variety of infractions. The “zero tolerance” policy is a major cause in the number of students expelled for offenses that in the past often resulted in less severe consequences. While some students might find ways to move on with their education, some experts worry the expulsions could leave an increased number of students behind educationally.
US EDUCATION RANKS 10TH BEHIND OTHER COUNTRIES
(September 14, 2004) An Associated Press story in the Detroit News said the United States is falling behind other countries for having a high school-educated public. While 87 percent of US adults age 25 to 34 finished high school, the country ranks 10th behind Korea, Norway, the Czech Republic and Japan. Among older Americans, the United States ranks number one for those who completed high school. Currently, 38 percent of the population in the United States has at least a four-year college degree, placing it right below Canada, but other nations are gaining fast. “The one area you remain ahead is how much you spend,” said McGaw, director of education for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which compiled the study. www.detnews.com
STUDENT DIES IN RESTROOM FIGHT
(September 14, 2004) In an Associated Press article on FoxNews.com, the police are investigating the death of a 14-year-old student at Westside High School in Memphis, TN. The student died during a fight in the restroom, and police are looking into whether or not the fight was gang related. Police spokesman Sgt. Vince Higgins said authorities have not yet determined how many students were involved in the fight. When school personnel broke up the melee, the boy was injured and unresponsive. Authorities found no weapons and no other students were injured in the fight. www.foxnews.com
PARENTS FOR RESIDENTIAL REFORM LIST SERVES
(September 14, 2004) Andrea Watson, founder of Parents for Residential Reform (PFRR), Boston, MA, 800-672-7084, www.pfrr.org, announced two new 'list serves' on the net for parents who are seeking information, want to exchange experiences and provide mutual support. Access to these are available on PFRR’s site. PFRR is a grassroots parent’s organization to help children in residential placement which includes a Gift Fund and recommendation of reforms to improve residential programs, funded in part by the Massachusetts Department of Education and associated with the Federation for Children with Special Needs.
PANEL RECOMMENDS WARNING ON CHILD ANTIDEPRESSANTS
(September 15, 2004) A Washington Post story cautioned that children taking antidepressant medications may be at a higher risk for suicidal behaviors and thinking. An expert panel concluded that the Food and Drug Administration should require a prominent "black box" warning label on the medications and that families and doctors must be aware of these risks. The "black box" warning is the most serious caution the FDA requires. www.washingtonpost.com