Eagle Forum

Education Reporter
Education Briefs 
The NEA and three Ohio affiliates agree to accommodate members' religious objections. Teachers who object to the union's spending of their dues money for political causes with which they disagree will now have to register their objections only once rather than annually, and will be allowed to donate that portion of their dues to the charities of their choice. This agreement resulted from a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by the National Right to Work Foundation on behalf of Ohio teacher Dennis Robey, who petitioned the union for years to stop using his dues for objectionable political purposes and to cease the yearly interrogations about his religious beliefs. The EEOC agreed, and ordered the NEA to stop subjecting teachers to "a burdensome and invasive process before respecting their religious objections to union affiliation."

The amount of government education funds spent for instruction declines. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, this amount fell from 55.5% of all education spending in 1980 to 52.8% in 1998. Education finance experts say America's school districts are spending more money than ever on administration, technology, special education, and testing.

Foreign students were found cheating on American universities' graduate admissions tests. The Graduate Record Examinations were given electronically in China, Taiwan and South Korea as often as six days per week, and test questions were routinely re-used. This gave rise to websites in the Chinese and Korean languages disclosing previously used test questions. Education Testing Service officials launched an investigation at the behest of American college deans, who noticed that the test results of students from these three countries did not match their fluency in English. The tests will now be given only two days a year and on paper. The Examinations Board asserts that "we are now monitoring the web very aggressively." (New York Times, 8-8-02)

School officials in Ames, Iowa used school district equipment to urge parents to vote on a tax increase. Computer emails, phone messages, posters, signs, and fact sheets were among the means used to urge citizens to "Remember to vote Oct. 8: Local-option sales tax for schools." Although officials did not advocate a position, some parents complained that the reminders were intended to influence voters to approve the tax.

A federal appeals court ruled that a New Jersey school district cannot bar students from wearing shirts with the word "redneck." Thomas Sypniewski sued the Warren Hills School District when he was a high school senior in 2001, after he was suspended for three days for wearing a T-shirt displaying comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s humor, including the word "redneck." A district court ruled that the shirt violated the school district’s racial harassment policy. But the appeals court declared that "redneck cannot be equated with racial harassment."

December 2002 Education Reporter 
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