Strange Stuff

“That’s it! I’m not buying you any more fourty dollar George Bush dolls if you’re gonna treat ’em like this! — And this BETTER be MUD!!”

Blood Money

State budgets are bleeding profusely and some concerned parents and teachers have decided to bleed with them. In Eugene, Ore. , parents sold blood plasma to raise money for a teacher’s salary. A math teacher at the school was retiring and staff and parents were told there was no money to fill the position.

When bake sale profits fell short of the $73,000 needed, parents marched down to the blood plasma center and rolled up their sleeves. Some parents went the maximum five times in three weeks to help the cause.

Third Time Is Not Charmed

City school superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy of Lawrence, Mass., has failed his state’s own standardized test (Communications and Literacy Skills Test) for the third time in a row.

Laboy, who recently placed 24 teachers on unpaid leave for failing the same test, calls his failing scores “frustrating” — attributing them to the fact that English is his second language. “What brought me down was the rules of grammar and punctuation,” he said in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune (8/3/03). “If you’re not an English teacher, you don’t look at the rules on a regular basis.”

In a letter sent to Laboy in August, State Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said although Laboy is a good superintendent, he will recommend dismissal if he doesn’t pass the test by Dec. 31.

It’s Not Standardized Testing…

After a group of New York City middle school students played hooky from school, administrators forced the students to take pregnancy and STD tests before they were allowed to return to classes.

In April, on behalf of two of the students, the ACLU sued the students’ school and the city Department of Education, saying the students’ constitutional rights had been violated. The students were told they couldn’t return to class unless they showed proof that they saw a physician, were not pregnant, or infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

Fast Food

School lunch periods, often the only time students can socialize with each other without fear of detention, are being short-changed. According to education research done at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, many American schoolchildren receive less time to eat than prison inmates. Professor Karen Stout, who conducted the research, feels that sharing leisurely meals can help students learn how to be responsible while relating to their peers.”The lunch period can be used as a community experience,” Dr. Stout said. “We should use this time to instill in schoolchildren some of our most cherished values.” For more information on the study, contact Joanne Anderson at

Blue Box Toys

G. I. George

One of the nation’s largest toy retailers, KB Toys, recently introduced a George W. Bush action figure to its shelves. The toy is called the “Elite Force Aviator” and is dressed in a flight suit, as Bush was when he made his aircraft carrier landing in May.

According to the KB Toys website, the poseable toy comes equipped with, “a realistic head sculpt, helmet with oxygen mask, survival vest, g-pants, and parachute harness.” It is touted as “a fitting addition to the collection of those interested in U. S. history, military memorabilia, and toy action figures.”

Edison CEO Gets Pay Raise

Despite the fact that privately managed Edison Schools Inc. just posted its first profit, CEO Christopher Whittle is getting a pay raise that will boost his salary to $345,000. Edison manages a large number of public and charter schools around the country.

The $345,000 does not include the $4.2 million for Edison shares and $1.65 million in bonuses Whittle will receive this year.

Rated X

Within the last year, high schools, libraries, and city councils censored more than 100 different books. Violence, profanity, and sexual content were cited as the reasons in most cases. But some, like the Board of Education in Snoqualmie, Washington, banned books for “hiding irresponsible political messages” for children.

Some of the titles were such classics as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Time Machine, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, and Catcher in the Rye.