Quick Takes: Education Dept. Study Backs Program Administration Wants to Kill, Security Glitch in Loan Database, Survey Suggests SAT Scores Didn't Fall, Boston Backs Off Lab Rules, Fields Medal Rejected, Student Editor Apologizes, USC Sues Over Hospital

August 23, 2006
  • Under the Bush Administration, the Education Department has repeatedly proposed killing several programs designed to prepare disadvantaged students for college. Administration officials -- who have been rebuffed in those efforts by Congress -- say that the programs would be better if replaced by new efforts linked to the administration's signature "No Child Left Behind" program. Backers of Talent Search, one of the programs the president has sought to end, released a report Tuesday -- commissioned by the Education Department -- finding significant positive impact from the program. The study looked at Talent Search in three states and found that participants in the program were significantly more likely to go to college than were comparable students who didn't participate. In Texas, Talent Search students were 54 percent more likely to enroll in postsecondary education; in Florida, they were 38 percent more likely to enroll; and in Indiana, they were 13 percent more likely to enroll.
  • Portions of an Education Department student loan database revealed confidential information -- enough to have enabled someone to commit identity theft -- from Sunday through Tuesday, The Boston Globe reported. Department officials told the newspaper that a bug had created the problem and that they did not believe many people's privacy had been violated.
  • An analysis released by the test-prep company Kaplan on Tuesday found that most colleges were not reporting declines in SAT scores. In the spring, a number of universities reported declines in average scores. National averages will be released by the College Board next week.
  • Boston is backing away from tough regulations of laboratories that work with highly dangerous substances, The Boston Globe reported. Scientists at universities and pharmaceutical companies had complained that city officials were planning to be too demanding.
  • The International Congress of Mathematicians on Tuesday announced that the Fields Medals -- generally considered the Nobel of mathematics, and which go to scholars under the age of 40 -- were being awarded to Andrei Okounkov, a professor at Princeton University; Grigori Perelman, a Russian researcher; Terence Tao, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles; and Wendelin Werner, a professor at the University of Paris-Sud. Full biographies of the winners are available on the Web site of the mathematics association, which is meeting this week in Madrid. Perelman, who is considered both brilliant and a recluse, has declined to accept the award.
  • David Pittman, editor-in-chief of The Red and Black, has published an apology for recent articles in the University of Georgia student newspaper that have led to widespread criticism for encouraging irresponsible drinking. One article detailed a night of bar-hopping and the other explained to students how to play drinking games such as beer pong. Pittman wrote that the articles "went a little too far in their acceptance of drinking."
  • The University of Southern California on Tuesday sued Tenet Healthcare, seeking an order that the company -- which manages hospitals nationwide -- give up control of USC's teaching hospital. The university is arguing that Tenet's financial problems have resulted in its failing to meet its obligations to the hospital. Company officials told the Los Angeles Times that the suit was just a "negotiating tactic" by USC.
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