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Evolution stickers held unconstitutional. A federal district judge ruled in January that the Cobb County, GA school district's use of stickers labeling evolution "a theory, not a fact" violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Clarence Cooper, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, found that the textbook stickers would be interpreted by a reasonable observer as an endorsement of religion since they had been requested by religiously motivated individuals. The school board voted in late January to appeal the decision. (See Education Reporter, Dec. 2004 for details on the suit.)

Red ink loses favor for hurting students' self-esteem. More teachers are using purple pens for grading papers instead of the traditional red, which they say can be intimidating or stressful. The pen company Paper Mate has boosted its production of purple pens by at least 10%, and retailers such as OfficeMax are stocking up on all-purple packs. "This is a kinder, more gentler [sic] education system," a Paper Mate spokesman said, "and the connotation of red is that it is not as constructive as purple." (signonsandiego.com, 10-4-04) Critics such as Michael Barone grumble that the push for purple illustrates a trend of teachers going soft on students. (foxnews.com, 9-7-04)

Television, computers blamed for rise in myopia. Children and young adults are facing an epidemic of nearsightedness in several countries because they spend so much time looking at television and playing computer games, Australian scientist Ian Morgan warns in New Scientist magazine. Increased time focusing on close objects, combined with stress, is enough to cause long-term changes to the eyes.

Ritalin use by children may cause depression later, new research on rats suggests. Researchers at Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital and the University of Texas-Southwestern in recent months have separately reported depressive symptoms in adult rats exposed to Ritalin early in life. The findings raise concerns that Ritalin and other stimulants used to treat attention deficit disorder in young children — often at the urging of school officials — may permanently alter the brain and lead to depression in adulthood. The criteria used for diagnosing the disorder are notoriously subjective and overdiagnosis is believed to be widespread. (Wall Street Journal, 1-25-05)

February 2005 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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