School 'Fine,' U.S. Teens Report

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Vol 36 Issue 38

Woman Feels Guilty After Switching Brands

RUTLAND, VT– Area resident Teresa Grant was plagued by feelings of guilt Monday after buying a box of Snuggle fabric softener, ending years of unswerving brand loyalty to Downy. "I remember my mother using Downy when I was a toddler," a distraught Grant said. "It's just that I got a trial size of Snuggle in the mail and, well, I kind of preferred the smell." Grant added that, while taking the Snuggle box from the supermarket shelf, she strove not to make eye contact with the baby on the Downy bottle.

Filmmakers Call Vincent Canby's Life Overlong, Poorly Paced

NEW YORK– The life of Vincent Canby, the longtime New York Times senior film critic who died last week at 76, is being called "an overlong, poorly paced mess" by filmmakers. "Mr. Canby's life builds glacially, taking an excruciating 21,549,600 minutes to reach the part in which he finally begins writing for the Times," said director Roland Joffe, whose 1986 film The Mission was panned by Canby as "a singularly lumpy sort of movie." "The life then completely falls apart in its final third, with Canby retiring in the most anticlimactic manner possible before an inevitable death scene as awash in bathos as any you're likely to see."

Congressman Picked Last For Committee On Youth Fitness

WASHINGTON, DC– U.S. Rep. David Bonior (D-MI), an awkward, unpopular legislator from Michigan's 10th District, was picked last for the new House Committee On Youth Fitness Monday. "I didn't even want to be on that dumb committee," said Bonior after being made the final pick by Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. (R-OK), the committee's athletic, well-liked chairman. "I'm only doing it because I have to be on one more committee to get full credit for this term." Bonior reportedly stood at the front of the House floor during the selection process, trying to be noticed.

U.S. Leads World In Mexican-Food Availability

UNITED NATIONS– According to a U.N. report released Monday, for the 16th straight year, the U.S. ranks first in the world in Mexican-food availability. "The U.S. boasts an unrivaled abundance of Mexican food, producing 23 billion pounds of tacos, enchiladas, and burritos in 1999," the report read. "No other nation on Earth can claim such plenty with regard to beans-and-rice-based Mexican fare." Japan ranked second, with the top five rounded out by Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Sharon Stone To Star In Major Backstage Drama

HOLLYWOOD, CA– Daily Variety reported Monday that Sharon Stone will star in a major backstage drama on the set of the upcoming Barry Levinson film This Charming Man. "Look for Ms. Stone to electrify onlookers throughout the Paramount Pictures lot with her gripping performance as a star outraged that some wardrobe-department nobody keeps knocking on her trailer when she's trying to get into character," Daily Variety's Peter Bart wrote in his Back Lot column. The Stone scene is expected to generate major buzz in Paramount studio head Sherry Lansing's office.

Around The World In One Paragraph

Yesterday in my bed-chamber, Nurse Pin-head opened the glass-doors to my private balcony to release the fetid cloud of odors, miasmas, and sour regrets which had built up over the past several weeks. But as soon as this poisonous atmosphere was expelled, my bed-chamber became contaminated with the cacophony of the out-side world. I could hear the milk-maids' buckets clatter, the cows lowing in the dell, and the indentured servant boy's tortured cries as he was being flogged. But punctuating this din was a sort of inane chattering, occasionally interrupted by a shrill cackle.

The Subway Series

For the first time in 44 years, baseball's World Series is a Subway Series, with the New York Mets and New York Yankees squaring off. What do you think of the all-Big Apple Fall Classic?
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School 'Fine,' U.S. Teens Report

WASHINGTON, DC–According to results of a survey released Monday by the Department Of Education, most U.S. teenagers characterize their education as "fine."

School Fine

The survey, conducted by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), polled more than 2,000 public-school attendees between the ages of 14 and 18. The students were asked a wide variety of questions about their educational experience, ranging from the subjects they were studying to their feelings about homework, to what they had for lunch that day.

To the question, "How was school today?" 68 percent of participants responded "fine," while 18 percent answered "good" and 10 percent "okay." The remaining 4 percent replied with a shrug.

"This is the highest 'fine' response we've ever gotten since these surveys were first conducted in the 1960s," said Jeanette Franks, an OERI researcher who supervised the survey. "By comparison, in last year's survey, just 44 percent said school was 'fine' today, while 41 percent said, 'ehh,' and 15 percent said, 'I 'unno.' This year, the 'I 'unnos' didn't even rank."

"The findings of this survey should be heartening to parents and educators nationwide," Education Secretary Richard Riley said. "Children are our greatest natural resource, and for a majority of them to feel that they are receiving a fine education is wonderful news."

U.S. students also expressed optimism about their ability to succeed in school. Asked if they expect to do well on upcoming algebra tests, 87 percent said, "Sure." Asked if they were prepared for English exams, 51 percent responded "Yeah" and 40 percent "I guess."

Edina, MN, high-school junior Megan Brodhagen, one of the millions of U.S. teens who praise their educational experience as "good."

Students were even more enthusiastic about America's hard-working educators, with 71 percent characterizing their social-studies teachers as "incredibly fascinating" and earth-science teachers as "not at all boring." A full 82 percent said that their civics class is "so important, I don't want to miss a second of it."

According to Franks, America's teens have an unusually strong sense of the importance of their education and the vital role it plays in becoming productive members of society.

"We asked our survey participants if what they were learning in school was helping them become better people and giving them a sense of values and concern for the community," Franks said. "A whopping 89 percent answered, 'Sure,' with the remaining 11 percent split among 'Yeah, sure,' 'Sure, I guess,' and, 'Sure. Whatever.'"

Despite the welcome results, the Department Of Education is refusing to rest on its laurels.

"Yes, my department is extremely pleased by the poll's results, but we still have a long way to go," Riley said. "I, for one, will not rest until every child in America feels that school is 'fine.' In this, the richest and most powerful nation on the planet, no child should receive an education that is merely 'ehh.' Our kids deserve better."

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