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Full-day kindergarten strikes a chord

DENVER - Full-day kindergarten is increasingly popular among parents and education policymakers. US Census Bureau figures show student enrollment in full-day kindergarten has increased from 25 percent in 1979 to 60 percent in 2000. And in the past three years, more than 20 states have introduced legislation related to increasing funding for and access to full-day kindergarten.

"Full-day kindergarten is popular among parents because it reduces the number of transitions a child must make during a day, and because it meets the needs of working parents," says Kristie Kauerz, early-learning program director of the Education Commission of the States.

"In the current climate of student achievement and school accountability, research shows that full-day programs better prepare children for success in the early school years," she says.

Nelson Mandela wants his MTV

JOHANNESBURG - He overcame nearly three decades of imprisonment and almost a lifetime of racial discrimination to forge South Africa's peaceful post-apartheid democracy, so Nelson Mandela's advice is worth listening to.

As part of celebrations to mark his 85th birthday this month, Mr. Mandela plans to extend some of that wisdom to an audience of two billion young people via television broadcast on July 18.

The former South African president and Nobel peace laureate will commandeer an hour on MTV, the international music television channel, to discuss three subjects close to his heart: HIV/AIDS, the struggle for democracy, and reconciliation.

Suit challenges locker room videos

NASHVILLE - A Tennessee school allowed security cameras to film children undressing in locker rooms and then stored the images on a computer accessible through the Internet, according to a lawsuit filed by a group of parents.

The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Nashville, seeks $4.2 million in damages. Parents contend the school violated students' rights by putting hidden cameras in boys' and girls' locker rooms at Livingston Middle School.

Web Smarts

http://www.weeklyreader.com

WHAT: This site is the online version of the "Weekly Reader" magazine for kids.

BEST POINTS: There are separate entryways for teachers, parents, teens, and younger kids, and each grade has its own pages.

While the website does not provide content from the print edition, there are updates on articles from previous issues, a "This Week in History" feature, games and puzzles, as well as suggested classroom activities.

Weekly Reader Kid school-aged correspondents write about "field trips" - from attending the NBA basketball championships to visiting zoos and interviewing South Carolina's first lady. Children can also print out and color pictures of Buddy the Bear, Banana the Monkey, and Zip the Dog.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The site's content will be updated when the school year starts up again in the fall. For now, not all the links work.

Parents looking to shield their kids from marketing be forewarned: This is a site with commercial influence. For instance, a quiz on allergies is sponsored by Kleenex brand tissues.

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