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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
Education Department proposes new single-sex education options. The Bush administration proposed regulations in March giving public school districts new freedom to create single-sex classes and schools, as long as "substantially equal" opportunities are also provided for the other sex in either a single-sex or a coed setting. Educators would no longer have to demonstrate they were acting to remedy past discrimination. There are currently 24 single-sex public schools across the country, and at least 91 of 19,000 public schools offer some form of single-sex education. A legal challenge to the guidelines, which represent a reinterpretation of Title IX, is anticipated.

One out of two sexually active youths can expect to contract an STD by age 25. A study by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, released in late February, found soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases. New cases rose from 15 million a year in 1996 to 18.9 million a year in 2000. Human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis and chlamydia accounted for 88% of new infections. The report states that the best ways to avoid infection are to abstain from sex or remain in a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

New York City plans to eliminate most middle schools. City officials want to recreate old-style K-8 grade schools and open new high schools for grades 6-12. About half the city's 218 middle schools have been designated by the federal government as "in need of improvement." Many other districts across the country have reinstituted K-8 grade schools. Junior high school grades are considered the most difficult years of schooling because of puberty and social pressures.

A video camera hangs in every classroom in Biloxi, MS schools. The same cameras used in Wal-Marts to catch thieves are now used to improve discipline, assess blame for fights, catch students cheating, and record infractions by custodians. Parents have not complained. About 950 new public schools opened across the country in 2002, and an estimated three-fourths of them were equipped with surveillance cameras, usually in common areas and parking lots. (nytimes.com, 9-24-03)

Preschoolers on Prozac? About 3 in every 1,000 American preschoolers were on antidepressants in 1995, according to a study by Dr. Joan Luby of the Washington University School of Medicine. Prozac, Paxil and other antidepressant drugs are prescribed for young children with selective mutism, a debilitating form of shyness that strikes children younger than 6. The United Kingdom has outlawed antidepressants other than Prozac for minors. In early February, an advisory board to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called for better warnings on the safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for children. Scientists have not extensively studied the effects of drugs on young children.

April 2004 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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