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Report on school satisfaction

WASHINGTON - A third of the families in Cleveland and Oakland, Calif., are dissatisfied with their public elementary schools, and one-fifth of them are so dissatisfied they want to move, reports a new survey by the Educational Testing Service. The survey, which looks at 55 of America's largest cities, also points to Chicago, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia as cities with high levels of dissatisfaction. Overall, only six cities had more than 90 percent of households report satisfaction with their neighborhood schools. In those cities least satisfied with public education, children were more likely to attend private schools. Some observers say the report suggests there is a market for vouchers that give parents public funds to send their children to private schools.

Denying Asians minority status

BOSTON - The College Board's recent decision to separate Asian Americans from other minorities has many worried about cuts in educational aid. In a recent study on academic achievement, the board placed whites in one category, Asians in another, and designated blacks, Latinos, and native Americans as minorities. They based the decision on their finding that Asians outperform other minorities. But lumping all Asians together could have devastating effects on some Asian subcultures, says Peter Kiang, professor of education and Asian American studies at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Programs and scholarships that help them might be diverted to other minorities, he contends.

No Bible stories in school

PHILADELPHIA - A New Jersey school did nothing wrong in refusing to let a first-grader read a Bible story out loud in class, an appeals court ruled last week. In the 1996 incident, teacher Grace Oliva told six-year-old Zachary Hood that reading a story about Jacob and Esau from "The Beginner's Bible" was inappropriate because of its religious content. She allowed him to read it to her in private, but not in front of the class. Zachary's parents sought an apology and later sued the school district. But appeals court Judge Walter Stapleton ruled that Ms. Oliva acted correctly, saying students might have believed that the boy's religious beliefs were sanctioned by the school.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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