Press Watch for February 2003

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Quality Counts 2003: If I Can’t Learn From You ...
Education Week

A review of federal data shows there were fewer qualified public school teachers in low-income than in moderate- and high-income areas. Teachers in high-poverty areas report more difficult working conditions, less satisfaction with their pay and less cooperation from parents. Recruitment efforts to find qualified teachers are lagging in low-income areas. Jan. 9.

GenStress: A landscape of pain
Hartford Courant

A growing number of child care professionals and educators fear that children are suffering from emotional and behavioral illnesses because of intense pressure in their lives and crumbling bonds in their families. Dec. 15.

Missing Foster Children
Detroit Free Press

An ongoing series examines how foster children go “missing” in the state system, how easily some of them can be found, and strategies for dealing with the problem, including locking up repeat runaways. Dec. 18.

Phone Fund for Schools, Libraries Riddled With Fraud
Center for Public Integrity

Officials from the Federal Communications Commission found numerous cases of fraud in the use of money collected from consumer telephone bills under the E-Rate program. The $2.25 billion program is supposed to provide schools and libraries with Internet access subsidies, but FCC reports and audits show large service providers including IBM and Verizon benefiting inappropriately. Jan. 9.

Acting on Faith: Missouri’s Unregulated Reform Schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Teens are sent to religious reform schools in Missouri from all over the nation, confined for months or years on at least a half-dozen remote, rural campuses. But no one knows exactly how many attend these schools, or how many dot the state’s woods and farmlands. This series of feature stories and columns examines the growing number of religious academies in Missouri, all unfettered by state education laws. Nov. 17-21.

Frightening Poem Tests Limits of Free Speech in School
Mercury News

A San Jose, Calif., teen, whose dark poem submitted for an assignment at school included the line, “I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill kids at school,” was expelled from school and sentenced to 100 days in juvenile hall under the state’s criminal threats statute. The punishment has touched off a debate about where the nation’s schools and institutions should draw the line between artistic freedom and threatening intent. Nov. 23. Fee.

In South Korea, It’s the Mouse That Roars
The Globe and Mail

Roh Moo-hyun’s election in December as president of South Korea holds potential lessons for American political candidates in reaching young people. Roh’s campaign contacted young people, heard back from them and pushed them to the polls by communicating through their computers and cell phones. Dec. 30.

Foster Care Makes Strides; State’s Reforms Seem to Have Eased Some Strain
The News Journal (Wilmington, Del.)

Delaware officials say reforms in the foster care system have lessened the strain it was under two years ago, when foster parents were quitting in frustration. Dec. 31.

A Head Start Is Eluding Many; Waiting Lists Are Often Long for the Preschool Program
Sacramento Bee

About 600,000 eligible poor children in the United States are not able to enroll in Head Start programs because there’s not enough money in the federal budget to accommodate them all. Despite the $6.5 billion the federal government is spending on Head Start this year, the program is providing seats for only 60 percent of the children who qualify. Jan. 3.

Compiled from news reports, the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families, and Connect for Kids.