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Education Reporter
Number 136 EDUCATION REPORTER May 1997


Home-educated Chad Sommers, 12, won the 10th annual New Orleans spelling bee March 22. Chad, who credits his mother with teaching him to spell, clinched victory by correctly spelling "surreptitious" and "excelsior." The champion won an all-expense paid trip to Washington for the national spelling bee, a $500 savings bond, an encyclopedia CD-ROM, and a copy machine.

The number of school-based health clinics in the U.S. has increased 50% in two years. In a 1996 survey of all 50 states conducted by Making the Grade, pollsters counted 913 clinics as compared to 600 in 1994. New York leads the nation with 149, and Florida takes second with 66 sites. Last year, 34 states allocated $42 million in state and federal money to such centers.

Participate in school lunch programs at your own risk. Officials blamed an outbreak of hepatitis A infection among Michigan school children and teachers on strawberries imported from Mexico. The strawberries were served as part of the school lunch program conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those children at risk of infection are advised to receive gamma globulin shots to prevent the viral liver ailment.

Will procreation without a state license become illegal in Minnesota? A bill introduced in the Minnesota state legislature would require prospective parents to apply for parental licenses. To qualify, both parents must be at least 21-years-old, be legally married, provide proof of economic well-being and lack of a mental disorder, and submit to a search of police records. The bill would require physicians to report any unlicensed pregnancies to the local child protection agency.

The re-election of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox is a good omen for supporters of school choice. Wilcox, who has a record of supporting school choice, will be on the bench when Gov. Tommy Thompson's proposal for expanding Milwaukee's voucher program to include religious schools is tried in the state's Supreme Court. Wilcox defeated an NEA-backed candidate described by Charles J. Sykes as the "most left-wing candidate ever to run for statewide office."

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