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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
Students who smoke marijuana in high school have lower math scores, and are likely to be lower wage earners. According to economist Rosalie Pacula of the public policy RAND Corporation, high school students who smoked marijuana had 15% lower math scores than non-smokers. Such sharp differences could result in 2% lower salaries later in life. The study evaluated 6, 000 standardized tests of students who used marijuana after 10th grade in 1990 and those who used marijuana in 12th grade in 1992. "It makes a lot of sense that it [marijuana] would affect certain types of cognitive functioning, particularly things that are hard to grasp like math," Pacula said. The results showed no difference in literacy between potheads and non-users, an indication of the state of literacy in America today.

A Tennessee school district study shows an increase in students' disruptive behavior that is negatively impacting teacher morale. Fifty percent of teachers who responded to the survey said disruptive behavior, profanity, and repeat offenders have increased over the past five years. Sixty percent of respondents said programs designed to isolate troublemakers within the schools are ineffective. Britt Pound, a five-year discipline coordinator, stated that student referrals to the district's discipline office for zero-tolerance offenses and other extreme disruptive behavior have declined slightly from 1,160 to 1,065 last school year. A Napier Elementary School teacher said that "the kidding, laughing, spitting, and aggravating others gets in the way of academics. I know we spend a lot of our time not teaching but begging children to pay attention."

The Vitae Caring Foundation announces a pro-life website for teens. This site www.gravityteen.com is an important new venue for reaching teens with a positive, moral message that encourages self respect as well as respect for unborn life. Gravityteen.com offers a welcome alternative to the explicit and degrading messages of Planned Parenthood's Teenwire and the websites of Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, and the Coalition for Positive Sexuality. These sites suggest that teens cannot possibly exercise self-control or practice abstinence, and that "safe sex" - and abortion when "safe" sex fails - are their only alternatives.

An audit of the Washington, D.C public schools found one-quarter of the system's $6.3 million credit-card expenses unaccounted for. The total of improper employee-issued credit charges amounted to $1.6 million in 2001. Auditors found that the system lacked proper documentation to support credit-card payments of about $1,669,246. The audit disclosed $96,832 in unauthorized purchases, including food, DVDs, laptop computers, and personal services. Additionally, the audit revealed that $7,125 in acquired assets was never recorded in the school system's inventory. School finance officials approved credit-card trans-actions without proper documentation and paid $112,415 in late fees. In response, the school district vowed to set up better financial controls by training cardholders, suspending privileges to those who do not comply, and holding cardholders liable for unauthorized spending.

A new report shows that half of English, science, math, history and foreign language classes are taught by teachers who majored in other subjects. U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige announced on July 15 the results of "The Secretary's Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality." Paige warned that teacher colleges must align their programs with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates "highly qualified" teachers in all classrooms by 2006. Only 54% of teachers were found to be so qualified in 1999. (Washington Times 7-16-03)

April 2003 Education Reporter
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Education Reporter is published monthly by Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund with editorial offices at 7800 Bonhomme Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105, (314) 721-1213. The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the persons quoted and should not be attributed to Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund. Annual subscription $25. Back issues available at $2.
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