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AMA criticizes 'party schools' ranking

CHICAGO - The American Medical Association has asked the Princeton Review to stop publishing its annual ranking of top "party schools," saying it ignores the risks of heavy drinking and offers a skewed view of college life. The Review, a college admissions and test-preparation company, will release its "Best Colleges" guide today, based on a survey of tens of thousands of college students. The "party" designation is based on consumption of alcohol and marijuana and other criteria.

Richard Yoast, director of the AMA's Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, said the ranking is a careless exercise that legitimizes student drinking. "Students who are looking for little more than a good time may be influenced by this ranking, and the 'party school' designation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy," he said. Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, disputed the criticism and said the rankings would continue.

Principals can't require Ritalin use

ALBANY, N.Y. - Prompted by reports of students banned from class unless they took Ritalin, New York State will instruct districts that only doctors, not principals, can recommend the drug. Ritalin is often used to reduce symptoms doctors associate with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

State education officials wrote a letter to schools acknowledging that educators sometimes pressure parents to administer Ritalin to students who are misbehaving, but reminding them that decisions have to be made by medical personnel, said spokesman Alan Ray of the state Education Department. Schools can still remove disruptive students from class, he added.

Whose robots can push pucks faster?

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - The US "Mellow Yellow" team took top honors at last week's annual International Design Contest, also known as RoboCon. Robots built by engineering students from seven countries pushed and shoveled hockey pucks and rubber balls around the playing field, trying to get them over a barrier into a bin. It is as much a teamwork exercise as an engineering contest, said MIT Prof. Alexander Slocum.

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