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From DA

A universal truth in the life of a teacher or administrator is that there are never enough hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year. And professional development is especially hard to squeeze onto a filled calendar.

His resume is 19 pages. He has written numerous books and won many awards. And he's leading one of the nation's most diverse school districts.

His name is Jerry Weast, hired in the summer of 1999 to lead Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and as you might have guessed, he has a plan for improvement.

By now, most readers probably know the story of Christine Pelton, a high school science teacher in Piper, Kan. If not, here's a quick recap.

Top 25 Criticism

This morning we received our copy of DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. I immediately turned to the cover story ("The Top 25 Education Technology Advocates," December 2001, p. 33) and found myself utterly astonished by your choices for the list, which failed to include Jamie McKenzie.

Bush Promises Extra Funding for Reading First

In the new education bill, reading and literacy funding will rise by 11 percent. These funds will be spent in a new program called Reading First. For 2002, the program's inaugural year, Congress allocated $900 million to this program.

President George Bush and U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige will push for a federal investment of $1 billion in next year's education budget.

Language Arts

BANNED BOOKS: Q&A with Librarian and Educator Pat R. Scales

Q:Book censorship in the U.S. is on the rise. What factors contribute to this, and what risks does a teacher take when he or she uses banned books?

For discriminating parents like Susan Rutledge, there are more than 80 private and parochial schools to choose from in and around her home of Pearl River, N.Y., just some 20 miles from New York City.

Cosmic Reading Journey

Sunburst Communications Inc., 800-338-3457, Grades: 2-3 Teaches: Reading comprehension, parts of speech, vocabulary, spelling Platform: Win, Mac $89.95

We remember that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492; that Jimmy's father, the fire chief, showed us how to "Stop, Drop and Roll"; and that crabs shed their shells, a lesson we learned while soaking in the briny smell of salt water during a fourth-grade field trip to the aquarium.

What happened, then, to all those vocabulary words, spelling lists and dates of Roman conquests we knew up, down and inside out the night before a quiz or test? A week later, it seemed we'd already forgotten them.

As I write this, it's been nearly four months since the terrorist attacks changed this country. To date, I haven't covered the topic in my monthly letter, and the magazine has not devoted much space to this story or the fallout it has caused, and will continue to cause.