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Education Reporter

Education Briefs 
A new study found that the nation's first 12 voucher and tax-credit programs saved state and local budgets $444 million between 1990 and 2006. The Friedman Foundation report also found that instructional spending per student rose in all public school districts and states affected by the school choice reforms - contrary to the expectations of school choice opponents. Each of the 12 programs studied was at least fiscally neutral, while most resulted in significant budgetary savings. (www.friedmanfoundation.org)

A $1 million gift to establish a conservative speakers' forum at Florida's Stetson University is already enlivening the campus's political atmosphere. Mrs. Martha Apgar endowed the John N. Apgar Jr. Lecture Series in response to Stetson's College Republicans' frustration that so few conservative voices are heard on campus. William F. Buckley spoke at Stetson last fall as part of the first lecture series, and Robert George will speak there later this year as part of the second. (Washington Times, 5-14-07)

A substitute teacher at a Chicago school played the explicit, R-rated homosexual love story, Brokeback Mountain, for a class of 8th-graders. "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," said the sub before closing the door and showing the movie. One student and her family have filed suit against the teacher, the Chicago Board of Education, and the principal, who the suit alleges knew the movie would be shown. (Chicago Sun-Times, 5-13-07)

Middle schoolers in Manchester, NH took a field trip to Planned Parenthood. They visited the abortion clinic through a YMCA-operated program for at-risk students, as part of a field trip to several social services agencies. Parkside Middle School principal Dawn Michaud apparently knew about the trip. The local school board is investigating the matter. (Union Leader, 6-12-07)

A history teacher at Manhattan's public Beacon School took a dozen students on an illegal spring break field trip to Cuba in April. He also took students on the same trip in 2004 and 2005. The teacher, Nathan Turner, apparently decided to go ahead with the 2007 trip after his principal and the city Department of Education refused to approve it. A local left-wing community group organized the trip, and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson both issued letters endorsing it. Although the principal denies having approved the trip in 2007, the school's website was used to promote it; and the principal admits approving trips to Cuba in 2004 and 2005. The U.S. restricted travel to Cuba in 1962, and tightened restrictions in 2003, meaning that all three trips were illegal. Penalties on high school students traveling to Cuba may range from a warning to $65,000 in fines. (New York Post, 4-13-07)

The California "spanking bill" died in committee. Assemblywoman Sally Lieber's original bill would have criminalized the spanking of any child under age four. That legislation would have required first-time spankers to attend a parenting class; repeat offenders would have faced up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. The later version of her bill criminalized spanking children with an object such as a paddle or a shoe. It included examples of occasional spanking with such implements alongside true examples of child abuse. "This is a relief for the tens of thousands of parents and grandparents who called and e-mailed Sacramento to protest this home-invasion bill," said Campaign for Children and Families president Randy Thomasson. (www.savecalifornia.com)

July 2007 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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