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--A Minnesota kindergartner doesn't like her teacher's instruction to her, so the girl stabs the teacher with plastic Crayola scissors, cutting a few inches into the teacher's back.

--A second grader in Indiana threatens to hit his teacher with his shoe.

Forget Hillary Clinton's village. It takes an entire district and its surrounding community to raise a child of model character. That much can be said for Lawrence Township, whose LifeSkills for Building Character initiative has everyone from parents to the police department reinforcing 10 character qualities established by the district as an integral part of the K-12 curriculum.

In general, most superintendents don't like surprises. Too often, they turn out to be school bus breakdowns, discipline problems or erratic school board behavior.

When an administrator in New England sadly faced the imminent death of a faculty member, he sought help from colleagues by posting a message to the K12Admin online discussion group: "The children know of the illness, but the relative certainty of death is a recent development. I'm looking for any advice from those of you who have had this experience."

You've done a great disservice to Ohio teachers," said the man who approached me after my speech at an education conference. "You're advocating new technology, and we can't afford it; we've got to keep building on our installed base," he said angrily.

Summer Reading: Suggested is Hot, Required is Not

Whether it's due to the wizardry in Harry Potter or the racial slurs in Huckleberry Finn, attempts at censorship are common occurrences in schools today. This may be one impetus for changes in summer reading programs.

Back to School Made Easy

The nation's only online competency-based teachers college was launched in March, in an effort to help teachers meet requirements under No Child Left Behind.

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Compaq Presario

Notebook PC 3000

www.hp.com, Hardware, $1,799

Portland's Lesser of Two Evils

They faced a 14 percent pay cut and 24 fewer days of school this year. They could have paid nearly $194 a month in additional co-payments for health insurance. And they faced a possible strike.

More than 30 years ago, the magazine was Curriculum Product Review. As it has evolved into a magazine for K-12 leaders, the new product section has reflected this change. The unfortunate side effect was that some curriculum products no longer had a regular place in our magazine. The publication of this section rights that wrong, by giving curriculum topics and products a semi-regular home. We will bring you a special section examining curriculum trends and products quarterly.

As intriguing ideas go, this one sounded great.

Pairing consumer advocate Ralph Nader against former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to debate education in front of thousands of school board members and administrators promised some fireworks.

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After two planes flew into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, some families left New York City for New Jersey. Some of them brought behavior problems to school, according to John Dumford, Keyport Schools superintendent.

In the tech-savvy world of universal Internet access and lightning-fast laptops, the hidden trend in technology may be the rapid developments in multimedia presentation systems.

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