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Don't know much about history

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is exploring ways to use the public's strong patriotic response to the Sept. 11 attacks to promote the teaching of civics in American classrooms, an official announced last weekend. Since the Vietnam War, civics education has become increasingly replaced by government classes that do not deal with citizens' involvement and obligations.

The announcement comes a few days after a new history study, which found that 75 percent of school-age Americans lack proficiency in civic knowledge. The poor showing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, prompted educators to question whether schools are adequately teaching US history. The study also found that only 43 percent of 12th-graders had at least a basic understanding of US history, unchanged from 1994, the last time the test was given. Fourth- and eighth-graders showed slight improvement, with 67 percent and 64 percent respectively understanding the material for their grade level.

Tracking student visas

WASHINGTON – The government will keep better track of the estimated 1 million foreign students in the United States with a new Internet-based reporting system, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday. The current paper-based reporting doesn't efficiently verify if a student is studying at an educational institution, he said. The overhaul, which has been in the works for years but didn't receive significant funding until after the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings, will be in full operation in January. The tracking system will link every US consulate with every Immigration and Naturalization Service port of entry, and with all 74,000 educational institutions eligible to host foreign students.

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Connecticut passes antibullying bill

HARTFORD, CONN. – School districts across Connecticut would be required to develop a system for reporting bullying behavior under a bill given final legislative approval last week. The system would include a policy for students to anonymously report acts of bullying, and for parents to file written reports of suspected bullying. School officials would then have to review those reports. The bill now goes to the governor for approval.

100 words you should know

For a complete list of the "100 Words That All High School Graduates – and Their Parents – Should Know" (featured in the May 7 edition), go to www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/booksellers/ press_release/ahdcollege/

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