WHY JANIE CAN'T WALK TO SCHOOL
A big new school on sprawling suburban acreage that's wired for online learning might seem more conducive to education than a century-old institution. But in a new report, the National Trust for Historic Preservation argues that older schools, if renovated and upgraded, can be just as vital. The trust is interested in the preservation of the buildings as historic landmarks, but its report also argues that the decline of small, neighborhood schools has impaired our sense of community and led to large, impersonal campuses far from home. That's why most kids today can't walk or bike to school.
IT MAY COST LESS TO PAY UP FRONT
Funschool.com, one of the most popular educational websites for kids, now offers an alternative to online hucksterism. Parents can pay $5 a month, or $35.95 a year, for ad-free "premium access" which could be a bargain if it cuts down on kids' pleas for PlayStation 2.
SCHOOLS SHOWERED WITH TAXPAYER GIFTS
When Pennsylvania's Republican Governor sent out $100 rebates on school-district property taxes just before the elections, Democrats accused him of trying to buy votes. Now some taxpayers are returning the money to school districts. The debt-stricken Philadelphia school district has already received more than $42,000 in rebate checks mostly from suburbanites who say they feel underfunded city schools need the money more than their local schools do.
AN EXTRA YEAR IN PRE-K IS WORTH CONSIDERING
Parents who send their "late-five" children to kindergarten with classmates who have already turned six years old often think they're giving them a jump start on learning. But a new analysis from the renowned Fullerton study says although late fives at first seem more advanced than same-age peers who start school a year later, any advantage disappears by fifth grade. The Fullerton study is a longitudinal analysis of 130 kids (now adults), all of whom could have started kindergarten as late fives but half of whom were not enrolled until they turned six.
Property Tax Rebate photo above: SAL DEMARCO, JR. FOR TIME