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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
13 years of public schooling cost $100,000 per student on average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. During the 2003-04 school year, the national cost per-pupil for one year of public education averaged $8,310, ranging from $13,338 in New Jersey to $4,991 in Utah. Spending on all elementary and secondary education topped more than $500 billion in 1003-04, or 4.7% of the entire economy as measured by GDP.

New Jersey students can receive an excused absence on any one of 76 religious holidays listed by the state board of education. New York's state legislature passed a bill requiring schools to consider religious holidays when scheduling mandatory tests. The board of education in Hillsborough County, Florida, tried removing all religious holidays from the calendar, but after receiving 3,500 emails restored the original calendar with days off for Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Yom Kippur. According to Kathryn Lohre of Harvard University's Pluralism Project, "'Choose your own holiday' has become more popular. It takes pressure off the school boards."

Parental choice fizzled in NCLB. The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools that get federal poverty aid and fall short of their yearly progress goals for two straight years must offer transfers to students; and after three years of failure, schools must offer parents a choice of tutors. Of more than 2.2 million children eligible for tutoring, only 19% got it in 2004-05, and only 2% of those eligible transferred to another school.

The price of one year at a public university increased more than 500% from 1981 to 2003, while all other consumer costs rose by only 140%. Newt Gingrich said on Aug. 28 that when he was a college professor 25 years ago, the average cost of a public university was $1,600 a year and $3,600 at a private college. Today, the averages are $12,000 at a public university and $29,000 at a private college.

The Philadelphia School District declared October as "Gay and Lesbian History Month" on its 2006-07 school calendars, printed 200,000 of the calendars, and sent them to parents and others who have ties to the district. This touched off a wave of protests. Cecelia Cummings defended the district, saying, "When you deal with diversity, there are some hot-button issues that emerge."

November 2006 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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