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The Fox Family Channel plans to debut two new cable networks in 1999 - the Boyz Channel and the Girlz Channel. CEO Rich Cronin said it's "legitimate and positive" to celebrate the differences between boys and girls, and to recognize their different programming preferences. Critics fear the separate channels will reinforce gender stereotypes. They claim the boys' channel will feature "karate, lasers and insults, while the girls' channel will be filled with sweet fare about babysitting and best friends."

Poor grammar and misspelled words forced the recall of 2,000 full-color booklets describing the mayor's youth programs in Houston, TX. The Houston Chronicle reported that the 14-page booklet contained at least one error on nearly every page, including the cover, which had a punctuation error in the mayor's title and misspelled the word "millennium." The booklets cost in excess of $5,000 to print.

Vice President Gore announced in November that up to 47,000 schools and libraries would receive $2 billion under the E-rate program for Internet hookup by the end of January. Created under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the E-rate program places an added tax on long- distance telephone bills, and has been dubbed "the Gore phone tax." The Clinton Administration plans to ultimately connect 30 million school children to the Internet through this initiative.

According to a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles, charter schools have problems measuring students' academic performance and improvement. Researchers found that charter schools rarely provide clear outlines of their goals and how performance will be measured, and that they rely heavily on private resources. The study focused on 17 charter schools in 10 districts over a two-year period. More than 1,100 charter schools are operating in 26 states.

inside this issue . . .

Who Really Benefits
from 'Gender Gap'?
In 1992, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) released its report "How Schools Shortchange Girls." The "findings" - that teachers were focusing their attention on boys and neglecting girls, that schools were discouraging girls from taking important math and science courses, which would hinder their ability to compete in the future - were widely publicized. The report triggered a spate of programs, books and articles to remedy the "problem."

In late 1998, the U.S. Department of Education released a report on high school transcripts that refutes the AAUW findings. This new report shows that:

  • In both 1990 and 1994 (the latest figures), female high school graduates had higher enrollments than boys in first- and second-year algebra and geometry.

  • Among 1994 graduates, there were no differences between the sexes in enrollment in pre-calculus, trigonometry, statistics, and advanced placement calculus.

  • Female graduates in both 1990 and 1994 had higher enrollments than boys in biology and chemistry.

  • Figures show that 43% of female graduates in 1994 were taking a rigorous college-preparatory program, compared with 35% of boys.

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Study Shows Special Ed Discrepancy

WASHINGTON, DC - A study by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights shows disproportionate referrals of black and Hispanic students in special education classes in New York City's public schools.

The analysis found that a third of the city's school districts sent unusually high numbers of children with limited English proficiency into special education. In nine districts, black students were more than twice as likely as white students to be referred to special education programs.

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