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Students' privacy rights to be ruled on

Washington - The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide if colleges can be sued for giving out information about students, like allegations of sexual assault. The case pits Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., against a graduate, Ru Paster, who claims he was denied a teaching job because the college revealed private information about him to the Washington State educational system, a potential employer. School officials suspected that Mr. Paster had assaulted and stalked a female classmate, but the student never filed charges. Justices will also review a case this year that questions whether letting one student grade another's paper in class violates federal privacy law.

Afghan schools in need of funding ...

kandahar, afghanistan - Without textbooks, pens, or even desks, Afghans are flooding back to school, eager to be instructed by teachers who volunteer their services without pay. Kandahar's newly appointed director of education, Mahmoud Daoud Barak, reports that in just the past three weeks 120,000 pupils have been admitted to 89 schools. That compares with 189 schools in the region in 1978, but only seven of those managed to keep going under Taliban rule. Mr. Barak, who also works for free, estimates that it costs $5,000 to educate one child for one year.

... as a US university offers aid

bristol, r.i. - The new president of the Bristol, R.I.-based Roger Williams University last week announced that he will offer a free education to an Afghan woman. The full scholarship, to be offered next fall and worth $125,000 over four years, is open for any area of study. President Roy Nirschel also said he will mail letters to 4,500 universities, urging them to follow his lead.

Examining the impact of early learning

Durham, n.c. - Early proficiency in reading and math can have a profound impact on a student's educational career. Efforts in the Durham (N.C.) Public Schools (covered in the Monitor's Dec. 18 story "Achievement gap narrows as attitudes change") will be examined in a federally funded, four-year study of the connection between early reading and math education and student achievement, suspensions, and dropout rates.

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