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tough standards met with poor results in Virginia

RICHMOND,VA - Virginia's new benchmarks for what students should know in English, mathematics, history, and science have produced staggering results. In the first round of testing to determine if the Standards of Learning are met, more than 97 percent of Virginia schools flunked. By 2004, high school students who fail the test will not get a diploma. And by 2007, schools must have 70 percent of their students achieve a passing grade to avoid losing state accreditation. The American Federation of Teachers found in a survey last year 47 states have, or plan to have, tests in sync with tougher academic standards, up from 33 in 1995.

Minnesota Gophers not so golden

SEATTLE - The University of Minnesota is investigating a report that a former employee wrote papers, did take-home exams, and other course work for 20 current and former basketball players over the past five years.

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura denounced the St. Paul Pioneer Press for running the story that resulted in the suspension of four players prior to the team's 75-63 loss to Gonzaga in Seattle last week in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Jan Gangelhoff, a former office manager in the academic counseling unit, provided the Pioneer Press with computer files containing more than 225 examples of course work she did for the athletes and supplied copies of five papers. Some of the papers had grades and instructor's comments written on them. Ms. Gangelhoff said she was taken on two of the team's road trips, and considered it compensation for the work. She estimated that from 1993 to 1998 she did more than 400 pieces of coursework for players.

Give me a slice of that pi

FARGO, N.D. - Most people round off pi, which equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter, at 3.14. But not Jake Enget. The junior at Fargo South High School, recited 1,001 digits of pi and won the school's "pi memorization" contest. Enget said it took about 10 hours to memorize the digits. The second place finisher reached 331 digits; third place remembered 243.


Interested in writing for us?

We are always on the look out for 600-word columns written by kindergarten teachers on up to college professors. To submit a "Class Act" column, e-mail Amelia Newcomb at: newcomba@csps.com or write to The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115.

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