Education

Reading, Writing and Roundup Ready

The agribusiness giant Monsanto will donate $50,000 to the Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Consortium. AITC is a "grassroots program coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture," designed "to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture ... so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies," according to AITC's website.

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Be Careful What You Draw

A 15-year-old boy in Prosser, Washington has been interrogated by the U.S. Secret Service about anti-war drawings he turned in to his art teacher. One drawing depicted President Bush's head on a stick. Another depicted Bush as a devil launching a missile, with a caption reading "End the war - on terrorism." Kevin Cravens, a friend of the boy's family, criticized the Secret Service investigation. "If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984,'" Cravens said.

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Attack on Academic Freedom

With little fanfare and almost no media coverage, Congress recently passed House Resolution 3077, which threatens academic freedom by imposing rules on what professors can and can't teach. HR 3077 focuses in particular on "area studies" (university programs that study international culture and politics in specific regions of the world).

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Right Wing Collegians

The student editor of the California Patriot, a right-wing student newspaper at the University of California-Berkeley, claims that conservatives are the true heirs to the university's free speech movement of the 1960s. "The conservatives on Berkeley's campus have employed various strategies in order to insert their views -- whether they're wanted or not -- into campus debates," writes Michael Gaworecki.

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Mega PR Firm Plays Role In School Reform

"Civic Progress, a St. Louis-based group made up of the heads of the region's largest corporations, is paying Jay Lawrence, who is co-chairman of Fleishman-Hillard's corporate reputation management unit, to play a behind-the-scenes role in the city school reform effort," O'Dwyer's PR reports.

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PTA Goes Better With Coke

The venerable Parent-Teachers Association has begun seeking corporate funding partnerships with companies including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Disney Interactive and Microsoft. "I know the PTA may need money, but when they accept money from whomever, it loses its independence," says parent Loretta Pleasant-Jones. "How can a PTA now turn and say, 'We want the Coke machines out of our schools?' "

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Thought Crime in New Mexico

Several high school teachers in New Mexico have been suspended or fired after refusing to enforce pro-war views in their classrooms. Geoff Barrett, a teacher at Albuquerque's Highland High School, was suspended after refusing to remove student-made artwork expressing views on the recent U.S. war against Iraq.

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Campus Ink Tanks

At the Jesse Helms Center in North Carolina, more than a dozen earnest college students gathered for training in how to start their own conservative newspapers and opinion journals and how to pick fights with lefty bogeymen on the faculty and in student government. "By the end of the day, the student journalists were fired up for battle," writes John Johnson, "determined not only to change the tenor of notoriously liberal campus dialogues, but also, in the long run, to alter the basic makeup of the nation's professional news outlets. ...

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Censorship Becomes Publicity for Emma Goldman Project

Front page attention in the New York Times is priceless publicity. Heavy-handed censorship at UC Berkeley has backfired, landing a fundraising appeal by the school's Emma Goldman Papers Project on the Times front page. "Goldman died in 1940, more than two decades after being
deported to Russia with other anarchists in the United
States who opposed World War I. Now her words are the
source of deep consternation once again, this time at the
University of California, which has housed Goldman's papers

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