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New assessment of Edison Schools Inc.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A study released last week found that schools run by Edison Schools Inc. - a private company that takes over failing schools - perform similar to other schools in their host district, but don't make the educational leaps that Edison officials claim.

Edison schools show improvement each year in tests that measure gains in student knowledge over time, according to the study by two Western Michigan University researchers. These tests include the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Metropolitan Achievement Test. But on tests that measure how well students meet prescribed state standards, Edison students' gains or losses mirror those of students in surrounding public school districts.

Many of Edison's claims about positive trends in student performance at the schools, says Gary Miron, an author of the study, are based on a relatively small number of students.

Socially responsible sweatshirts

urbana, ill. - The University of Illinois plans to join an anti-sweatshop group, the Fair Labor Association. The school would become part of a growing number of colleges that make sure that apparel bearing their logos is not made in foreign sweatshops.

The FLA, which has 151 university members, has cracked down on the Kukdong International factory in Mexico. The plant makes Nike and Reebok apparel, including Illinois sweatshirts. The FLA addressed a series of problems there, including charges that riot police attacked workers trying to unionize. University officials said Nike and Reebok were working to correct the problems.

National Geographic for Kids to debut

washington - National Geographic for Kids, a 24-page magazine aimed at children in Grades 3 to 6, will debut this fall, said National Geographic officials last week. The magazine will be sold directly to schools at an annual rate of $1 per child for six issues, but schools must purchase at least 200 subscriptions to receive that rate. The magazine, which will have simple text and many graphics, will be free of advertisements and come with a teacher's guide and lesson plans.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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