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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
A homeschooler won the 2003 National Geography Bee, the second straight year a home-educated student has taken top honors and the first prize of a $25,000 college scholarship. James Williams, a 14-year-old from Vancouver, WA, correctly answered "Portugal" to the deciding question: "Goa, a state in southwestern India, belonged to which country until 1961?" James' parents said they decided to homeschool their children before they were born because they wanted to "make learning a lifestyle rather than something you have to do." A 13-year-old magnet school student from Nashville, TN, placed second in the bee and won a $15,000 scholarship, and a private-school student from Hubertus, WI, took third place and a $10,000 scholarship.

An Indiana principal sets a double standard for absenteeism. Principal Ed Mendoza of Westfield Middle School refused to excuse 8th-grader Brianna Tull's absence last month when she sang with the Indianapolis Children's Choir during an appearance by President Bush. The Mexican-born school chief sang a different tune 18 months ago, however, when he excused Hispanic students to attend an Indiana University event where he was the keynote speaker. "We need to have opportunities for Hispanic students to see people and leaders who have been through the process and can show them a college education is a possibility," he was quoted as saying at the time. Some parents and citizens are irate over the incident and are calling for an investigation.

Fingerprinting for food? Students in the Akron, OH, public school district will be identified in school lunch lines by placing their fingers on a scanner. After the board voted to spend $700,000 on the scanning system, one angry school board member told an Akron newspaper that many parents were furious that their children would be fingerprinted before they could "buy a cookie or a carton of milk." Children whose parents oppose the fingerprinting will reportedly be issued identification cards instead.

Preschool Prestige: Wealthy parents hire consultants to place their toddlers in 'Baby Ivy' preschools. Consultant Amanda Uhry told the New York Times (5-28-03) she earns a seven-figure salary plotting strategy to enroll the children of well-heeled working parents into New York City's top nursery schools, which can cost up to $17,000 per year. These schools have hundreds of children on waiting lists and preschool directors who, when the time comes, write 12-page recommendations to help their charges obtain slots in the most sought-after kindergartens. Ms. Uhry described ambitious parents who insist that their tykes attend only preschools on the most prestigious "short list," and when they can't get them in, ask, "What did I do wrong?" or "Why is my kid a loser?"

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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