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Government School Monopolies Leave Children Behind
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty ^ | December 4, 2002 | Clint Green

Posted on 12/10/2002 3:55:15 PM PST by Remedy

America's failing government schools, the educational establishment, and the teachers' unions are running scared, and they should be. On Tuesday, November 26, the federal Department of Education issued final rules for the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These rules give school districts 12 years to bring all students up to proficiency levels in reading, math, and science. In addition, students must show "adequate yearly progress" on national standardized tests. If they do not, schools can be designated as "failing".

For the first time in decades, government schools will be forced to be accountable to the parents of the children they serve. Government schools, long the beneficiaries of one of the last remaining state-sanctioned monopolies, will have to face competition, and this is a good thing. Businesses and private schools alike both know that real competition provides the onus necessary for institutions and organizations to improve and streamline operations. Those organizations that cannot or will not improve are faced with extinction. Many government schools know this as well, and they operate on that principle, producing student success after student success. Beyond the mere competitive model, they understand the moral duty they have to educate the young and they do so extremely well. Other government schools, protected from real competition and shielded from their moral obligations to students by the teachers' unions and other members of the educational establishment have been content to graduate students who cannot read, cannot write, and consequently cannot succeed in American society. It is schools such as these that have much to fear from the new law.

Those government schools failing to make "adequate yearly progress" are faced with serious consequences. If a school fails for two years in a row, its students must be offered public school choice. In other words, students must be allowed to transfer to another area school that is not failing, be it a public, charter, or private school. Schools that fail three years in a row must offer low-income students supplemental educational services, such as private tutoring; fail four years in a row and schools must take a "corrective action", that is, replacing staff, implementing a new curriculum, and/or expanding the school day. If a school fails to make "adequate yearly progress" for five years in a row, the school must be restructured, consisting of reopening as a charter school, replacing all or most of the staff, state takeover of the school, or some other major restructuring of the school's organization. These consequences are genuine concerns for failing government schools. The fact that such severe consequences are necessary at all is a cause for alarm, however, for all who are concerned about the education of our nation's children.

The solution to failing government schools proposed by the teachers unions and their generally left-leaning coalition partners is always more money. Since 1965, however, the federal government has spent more than $321 billion to help educate disadvantaged children. Yet, today, only 40% of white fourth graders read at the age-appropriate grade level, while only10% of African American, and 18% of American Indian and Hispanic fourth graders, could read at the age-appropriate grade level. Clearly, the answer cannot simply be more money. Rather, it seems a real change in the American education system is warranted.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) has been roundly criticized, and some the criticisms are justified. The NCLB Act is one of the largest intrusions of federal power into state affairs in recent history. Additionally, creating yet another standardized test does not necessarily mean that that this new test will any more effective in measuring real student achievement. Indeed, with so much at stake, there is a real possibility that some principals and teachers will choose to cheat on these tests in order to avoid the stiff penalties that would result in continued poor performance. Such a situation is not unheard of in the contemporary educational establishment. There is always a danger of such immoral and unethical behavior in standardized testing, but it could be even more pronounced given the penalities that could be imposed.

On the other hand, the educational establishment fears that NCLB will set up a "system where the states feel hard pressed not to fail" according to Kristin Tosh Cowan, a lawyer representing dozens of state education departments and large school districts. Additionally, the National Education Association and other government school defenders are concerned that NCLB will result in too many schools classified as failing, resulting in students crowding into schools that do make "adequate yearly progress".

The real concern in all of this debate, however, is overlooked. Even one school whose students are not making progress in reading and are not reading to grade level, is one school too many. There is too much at stake for government schools to fail in the duties to educate students. In American society, reading is a fundamental skill necessary for advancement. Individuals who cannot read have difficulty carrying out the most basic tasks, such as filling out a check, reading a prescription, passing a driver's test, reading a recipe, or using the Internet. More to the point, the US Department of Education estimates that 60% of the unemployed lack basic skills necessary to be trained for high tech and other higher paying, jobs. Illiteracy and a lack of reading competency in America leave individuals forever at a disadvantage in our increasingly technologically reliant world. The failure of government schools to adequately teach reading and other basic skills is a scandal of the highest order.

In the end, substantial change must occur in the educational system. A parent's freedom to choose which school will teach their children must be vindicated. Furthermore, this choice must be extended to all families, regardless of wealth, race, or location. Parents of poor inner city students must be given the same educational choices as parents of wealthy suburban children. Without this choice and this freedom, students, particularly students from poor and minority families, will be left stranded in schools that consistently and continually fail them.

Justice demands that all people be given sufficient opportunities to succeed. In the modern world, education is the route by which people achieve the foundations for success. The No Child Left Behind Act, despite its flaws, offers new and substantive opportunities so that assistance can be provided to those who need it most. When the educational marketplace is open to all and when the government school monopoly is finally broken, all schools-government and private alike, will benefit. Only then, truly, will no child be left behind.

Clint Green is the programs officer at the Acton Institute.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: academialist; aft; college; education; educationnews; historylist; homeschool; homeschoollist; nea; nwo; school; schools; sovereigntylist; unlist

In American society, reading is a fundamental skill necessary for advancement. Individuals who cannot read have difficulty carrying out the most basic tasks, such as filling out a check, reading a prescription, passing a driver's test, reading a recipe, or using the Internet.

School Reform News: Skills at Literacy Level 1 (February 2001) Almost one in four adult Americans has only Level 1 literacy skills

 Government Standards: Will they Save the Schools or Destroy them ... Prisons often give citizens good value for their money. Harvard University economist Steven D. Levitt estimates that the average criminal does $53,900 worth of damage a year. Annual incarceration costs average about $30,000, leaving a net benefit of $23,900 per year per criminal behind bars. Increased school spending, to the tune of a 70% inflation-adjusted per pupil increase nationwide between 1970 and 1990, has had no effect on achievement.


Grandfather Education Report by MWHodges


 How Much More Do We Have to Spend to Achieve a Totally Illiterate Society? "for the sake of the children"


Twenty-one ways "public schools" harm your children

R. C. Hoiles

C 1957

R. C. Hoiles was the publisher of the Santa Ana Register, now the Orange County Register, the flagship of media giant, Freedom Communications. We are commemorating the 40th anniversary of Mr. Hoiles publication of his great vituperation against "gun-run schools." It has been edited for length, a process newspaperman Hoiles would understand.


Now, what are the things that government schools dare not teach?

A man isn't free to pursue happiness when the majority in any school district, state or nation can coerce him to pay for a school that he believes violates the principles upon which this government was formed.

They, of course, dare not teach their pupils to believe that if it is wicked and a violation of the Golden Rule for one man to do a thing, it is still wicked and a violation of the Golden Rule if 49 per cent or 99 per cent of the people do the same thing. They, thus, dare not teach the youth that the ideal government, the only kind of government that can be of value to mankind, is one that is limited to the use of defensive force and never has a right, under any circumstances, to initiate force.

I want to continue suggesting things that tax-run schools dare not teach.


There is nothing more important for parents than their duty to see that their children are treated fairly and have an opportunity to learn from schools that can teach these great moral principles and axioms. It is not the money we're wasting in our tax-run schools that is so important, but it is that our children are not being taught the moral laws that tax-less schools can teach. Pro-Gay Curricula -- November 2001 Education Reporter, What Caused Columbine? -- June 1999 Phyllis Schlafly Report

It is because children can be taught what is right in tax-less schools and they cannot be so taught in tax-run schools that I am obliged to do what little I can to get parents to see that they are not doing their duty to their children by sending them to tax-run schools. If the Curriculum Has No Content, What's Left to Teach? "Want to scare yourself?" asks Goldblatt in his article in National Review Online. "Sit down with a half-dozen recent public high-school graduates and ask them what they believe."

What we need above everything else is more people devoting more time to seeing that the youth of the land are instilled with belief in the great moral laws, the Golden Rule, and the Declaration of Independence. Government schools cannot teach successfully the will to learn. The best way to teach anything is by example. But the superintendent and managers of the schools themselves are not enough interested in the will to learn to be willing to answer questions as they would before a court to determine whether what they are doing is in harmony with what they profess to believe. If there is anything a man of integrity should want to learn, it is whether what he is doing is in harmony and consistent with what he says.The National Education Association: Emphasis on the Ass. New Business Item 5, for example. This one calls on the NEA to provide "ongoing strategic information to members and affiliates that increase member knowledge of the ongoing attacks designed to destroy NEA and its affiliates, limit educators' freedom of speech and their right to political participation." This "strategic information" is to consist of "identification and history of individuals and organizations that support the attacks and sources of funds that support these attack efforts," "status reports on tactics used by attack groups at the local, state, and national levels," and "status reports on responses by NEA and its affiliates to deal with the attacks."Survey shows one fourth of Americans want to end Public Schooling



IJ Launches School Choice Offensive

Some 37 states have provisions in their constitutions that forbid public support of sectarian institutions. These provisions--called "Blaine Amendments"--date to the late nineteenth century, when religious bigots actively campaigned to prevent public funds from flowing to support Catholic schools in the same way public funds flowed to support the Protestant-instilled public schools. At that time, Catholic schools were viewed by the majority as "sectarian" while the Protestant public schools were not.

Since vouchers and tax credits are aid to students and not to schools, Blaine Amendments do not pose a problem in states where they have been interpreted narrowly as simply barring aid to religious schools. However, other states, including Washington, interpret their provisions broadly and exclude not only religious schools but also their students from public benefits otherwise made available to state citizens. The Institute points out these broad interpretations could block the implementation of school choice programs that have religious options unless the interpretations are challenged and ruled to be inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.


Calculating NEA and AFT "Market Share" by State

The largest NEA-AFT combined "membership" totals lie mainly in the states with the largest numbers of K-12 staff, with Texas and Georgia being notable exceptions. More than 50 percent of NEA-AFT national "membership" strength comes from just eight states: California (10.9 percent of total U.S. members), New York (8.7 percent), Illinois (5.9 percent), Pennsylvania (5.8 percent), New Jersey (5.6 percent), Michigan (5.3 percent), Ohio (4.5 percent), and Florida (3.9 percent).

In a dozen states, the NEA-AFT share of potential membership exceeds 80 percent, with the shares in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Massachusetts exceeding 90 percent. However, NEA-AFT share of potential membership is 25 percent or less in five states: Mississippi (11.5 percent), Texas (13.1 percent), South Carolina (13.5 percent), Georgia (20.1 percent), and Arkansas (25.0 percent). Notably, the two unions combined have managed to capture only a little over half (54.9 percent) of total K-12 staff across the U.S.

Conservative states and liberal states

Ranking of states, most conservative to least conservative, based on Senate voting records:








87 Mississippi
14 80 Ohio
18 65 South Carolina
19 64 Pennsylvania
20 60 Arkansas
27 48 Illinois
31 37 Georgia
37 18 Rhode Island
38 17 Florida
42 9 New York
44 7 California
45 7 Michigan
47 6 New Jersey
50 4 Massachusetts



Ranking of states, most conservative to least conservative, based on House of Representatives voting records:









South Carolina






























New Jersey



New York



Rhode Island




I searched in vain to find what is right with public schools.

1 posted on 12/10/2002 3:55:15 PM PST by Remedy
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To: Remedy
for later study, and thank you
2 posted on 12/10/2002 4:09:45 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Remedy
Very interesting. I will bookmark this for later reading of the resources. I homeschool my children and wish I could withhold my tax money from going to the school system. Do you know what I could do with those thousands of dollars for my own kids?
3 posted on 12/10/2002 4:38:41 PM PST by usmom
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To: Remedy
Obnoxious and damaging as the government school monopoly is, breaking it will do nothing to improve the quality of eduction unless the monopoly granted to "teachers colleges" and "Colleges of Education" by most of the servral states to credential teachers is also broken.

People with real degrees in real subjects cannot teach our children, only those with specialized degrees in education. Degrees which include things like 3 credit courses on "use of AV equipment", but no courses on the construction of reliable and valid tests to measure student performance (a real example from the University of Nebraska). The education majors who pass through our Math for Elementary School Teachers at Kansas State often need to be taught fractions and decimals and lately, I am told by a colleague the multiplication tables. Two years later, without taking any more math, they will by "qualified teachers" with a permit from the state to each elementary and junior high, while a math major, who actuall knows enough to challenge even the brightest students is "unqualified" because he or she hasn't submitted the mind-mumbingly stupid curriculum of the College of Education.

If I had to pick one monopoly to gbeak, it would be the second. No massive restructure, just "Freedom to Teach" laws, which permit anyone with a degree from an acredited college or university to teach the school version of his or her major subject.

In point of fact, the only thing one needs special training, beyond a good knowledge of the content, to teach is reading. Not because you or I can't teach our kids to read--I did--but because there are special tricks one needs to know to teach 30 kids how to read all at the same time when you only see them 6 hours a day 180 days a year.

4 posted on 12/10/2002 4:43:51 PM PST by The_Reader_David
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To: Remedy
TWELVE YEARS? For No Child Left Behind? After thirty years of dumbing down, another twelve will ensure that NO ONE WILL know just how stupid we are. That's more than a generation of how to be stupid in one easy lesson.
5 posted on 12/10/2002 4:48:03 PM PST by widowithfoursons
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To: Remedy
What is the source on this second section? The first is from Acton; and the second?
6 posted on 12/10/2002 7:48:15 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: LiteKeeper
21 Ways "Public Schools" Harm Your Children - by R.C. Hoiles
7 posted on 12/11/2002 6:02:45 AM PST by Remedy
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To: usmom

I homeschool my children and wish I could withhold my tax money from going to the school system. Do you know what I could do with those thousands of dollars for my own kids?

Our Mission--Build a Constituency for Separation / Tactics

By "Separation," we mean the elimination of local, state, national, and international governments from all aspects of education, including financing, determining curriculum, specifying outcomes, compelling attendance, credentialling teachers, and the accrediting and operating of schools.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Have any professional surveys been done on Separation?

Yes, our first national survey revealed that 26% of Americans want local, state and federal government to get out of the schooling business. During the week of September 19, 1994, the Wirthlin Group polled a representative sample of 1006 voting age Americans about their opinions about government financing of schools and compelling attendance. The text of the news release at the time follows:

Marshall Fritz said, "Three weeks ago I said we didn't know if two or twenty-two percent of the population is already in favor of separation of school and state. Now we know that even without a national discussion, even without endorsement by leaders in education, politics and religion, even without the research required to answer many questions, fully a fourth of the American population is so fed up with government-based schooling that they are willing to return to the original American idea, public education that is open to the public but privately owned and operated."

Improve education by freeing schools from politics. Separate ...
Now, after 150 years of tax-financed schooling, we see more and more children failing to grow into responsible, caring, competent adults.

Using the Proclamation, we are building a groundswell that will eventually do the political job of ending government involvement in schooling.
The Proclamation has been endorsed by more than 21,000 people. You can see the ones in your city, state, or country by clicking here. (Wisconsin Registry - 418 Proclaimers ---- 81.6 per million) You can also see the names of prominent individuals who share your political or religious view by clicking here.

 Sign the "Proclamation for the Separation of School & State" to ...

  1. Demonstrates your commitment to liberating schools from politics.
  2. Gets useful information sent to you.
  3. Helps us show the movement is growing and needs to be taken seriously.

8 posted on 12/11/2002 6:46:35 AM PST by Remedy
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To: Remedy
Thanks. I am just starting some research in this area. I have begun work on a doctorate in religious studies, and part of my thesis will deal with the situation in our schools. This will be helpful.
9 posted on 12/11/2002 7:43:36 AM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: The_Reader_David

the monopoly granted to "teachers colleges" and "Colleges of Education" by most of the servral states to credential teachers is also broken.

6 Feb 2001-Protecting Teacher Incompetence in Los Angeles...There are approximately 300,000 teachers in California. According to the state records, between 1990 and 1999, only 227 dismissal cases even reached the decision phase. If all these cases occurred in a single year, they would amount to only slightly more than one tenth of one percent of the tenured teachers in the state. Over a full decade, the number is a proxy for zero. "It takes longer to fire a teacher than to convict a murderer," says Diana Halpenny, general counsel for the San Juan Unified School District near Sacramento.

...The Grossmont district near San Diego spent eight years and more than $300,000 to fire Juliet Ellery, an instructor described by her superintendent as the worst teacher he had ever seen, and who refused to answer students' questions in class. With firing incompetents a practical impossibility, most districts buy out contracts or transfer the teacher to another school, a process known as the "dance of the lemons." In many cases no action is taken, with many of the state's six million students bearing the consequences. Recent research by William L. Sanders at the University of Tennessee confirms that the difference between a good and bad teacher is enormous, a full grade level by some estimates. Successive years of bad teachers is devastating for a child, a situation surely common in Los Angeles, which spends more than $9000 per student per year, far above the state average.

People with real degrees in real subjects cannot teach our children only those with specialized degrees in education.

Policy Review, September-October 1998 -- Laboratories of ... A study by the National Center for Education Statistics confirmed that grade inflation has been far more pronounced in the nation's education departments than in other fields. The average grade in an education course was 3.41, compared with 2.96 in social sciences and 2.67 in science and engineering. We also found that many teacher-preparation programs were increasing the departmental requirements for education courses at the expense of strong preparation in academic subjects.

...New York's state education department recently discovered that hundreds of its teachers, most of whom have master's degrees, could not pass a standard test in English, math, and reasoning skills. In response to a storm of public criticism, state education officials in Massachusetts recently repealed their decision to lower the qualifying score on a rather basic teacher-licensing exam after 59 percent of the applicants flunked it.

"Freedom to Teach" laws which permit anyone with a degree from an acredited college or university to teach the school version of his or her major subject.

In point of fact the only thing one needs special training beyond a good knowledge of the content to teach is reading.

06/13/97 - New Nationwide Study!

...The parents had higher than average educational attainment; 46% of the fathers had a bachelor's degree or higher and 42% of the mothers had the same. These families' median annual income of $43,000 was a little lower than the median for all married-couple families in the United States. The parents spent, on average, $546 per child per year for home education.

The mother did 88% of the formal teaching of the children while the father did 10% of the teaching. The large majority of these children were not being taught by professionally trained and government certified teachers.

On average, the children had been taught at home for 5 years since age 5, 85% were in grades K through 8, and their parents planned to home educate them through their secondary school years. Parents hand picked curriculum materials-rather than purchasing complete programs-for 71% of the students. The social activities of these children were quite varied; for example, 47% were involved in music classes, 48% were involved in group sports, and 77% participated in Sunday school.

These students scored, on the average, at high percentiles on standardized academic achievement tests: (a) total reading, 87th, (b) total language, 80th, (c) total math, 82nd, (d) total listening, 85th, (e) science, 84th, (f) social studies, 85th, (g) study skills, 81st, (h) basic battery (typically, reading, language, and mathematics), 85th, and (i) complete battery (all subject areas in which student was tested), 87th. (The national average is the 50th percentile.)

Achievement was statistically significantly related, in some cases, to father’s education level, mother’s education level, gender of student, years home educated, use of libraries, who administered the test, and use of computers. The relationships were, however, weak and not practically significant.

The Home School Court Report Vol. XVI, No. 5 -- Encouraging Test Scores ...Home schoolers' outstanding test results have blown away the myth that parents must be certified teachers. Over 30 state legislatures have recognized home schooling as a valid educational option since 1983.

Encouraged by home schoolers' impressive test results, many parents, who would not have started otherwise, have gained the confidence to begin home schooling. Additionally, such test results score points with concerned grandparents, in-laws and friends.

Volume 10 Number 26 Bauman: Home Schooling in the United States

 Home schoolers are not especially likely to be young or old. They are about as likely to be of one sex or the other, with perhaps a slightly greater percentage female. In some ways, however, home-schoolers do stand out. Home schooled children are more likely to be non-Hispanic White, they are likely to live in households headed by a married couple with moderate to high levels of education and income. They are more likely to live in households with three or more children and they are likely to live in a household with an adult not in the labor force.


Table 2

Characteristics of Home-Schooled Children and their Families
Current Population Survey & National Household Education Surveys














































Mother's education






Less than h.s.







High school







Some college





















... Must it also be limited to households where parents have moderate to high education? While it would seem that having a (well educated) parent at home would be a prerequisite for engaging in home schooling, this is not an absolute requirement. Many home school households have working adults and adults with low education. In all three surveys a small number of home-schooled children lived with a single parent or with two adults in the labor force full time. In addition, a small number had no adult in the home with a high school diploma.

Grandfather Education Report, page B - by MWHodges

Signicantly outscore public school students
in SATs, ACTs, spelling & geography bees.
Three times more students are home-schooled than in charter schools,
and growing 11% per year

10 posted on 12/11/2002 8:33:50 AM PST by Remedy
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To: LiteKeeper

part of my thesis will deal with the situation in our schools.

Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research - Published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard. A forum on education policy and school reform that includes evidence-based original research, critiques of other research projects, and book reviews. Full text free online.

Education Policy Analysis Archives - A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal publishing education policy analysis since 1993.



11 posted on 12/11/2002 8:59:33 AM PST by Remedy
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To: *Education News; *History_list; *Homeschool_list; *Academia list; *"NWO"; *UN_List; ...
Let's face it, the dumbing down and brainwashing of our children has been the plan of the communists/Marxists all along. We are all victims of the Columbia University/John Dewey, Secular-Humanist, Dumbing-Down, Educational System and they are doing it through the teachers' unions and the public school systems.

Read: "None Dare Call it Education" by John Stormer.
12 posted on 01/20/2003 6:43:32 PM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: All
Education Links
13 posted on 01/20/2003 6:44:41 PM PST by Coleus (RU 486 Kills Babies)
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To: widowithfoursons
TWELVE YEARS? For No Child Left Behind? After thirty years of dumbing down, another twelve will ensure that NO ONE WILL know just how stupid we are. That's more than a generation of how to be stupid in one easy lesson.

"No Child Left Behind" concerns itself exclusively with ensuring that the lowest-performing students meet minimal standards. It does not concern itself with raising the average, nor with ensuring that top-performing students achieve their full potential. The net result will be that most school resources will be focused on the bottom 10%, and the top 10% will be ignored

When you consider that it's the top 10% who will need to create the new companies and industries, develop all new inventions and technological advancement, and supply all the professionals that keep the country running

I fear for the future of the US.

14 posted on 01/20/2003 6:58:05 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (To see the ultimate evil, visit the Democrat Party)
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To: SauronOfMordor
My #3 son is IB program in HS. They are essentially separated from the "common rabble"; (being given a higher level of teachers(?) than the others, not to mention a separate classroom/hall environment). OTOH, he is NJROTC; believes Captain is the end all and be all. He does get the top teachers (as they are), and they are segregated as a group. WHOOPS! Guess high schools can do what they wish when it comes to test score mandates. Got to have those high achievers keep the funding going. PS. His HS segregates by ability (Blacks/minorities are maybe 1%). But the rich druggies still hate the NJROTC. This smells like a discrimination case! If you are rich, and smoke dope you should get good grades!! It's a govt mandate!!
15 posted on 01/21/2003 8:58:32 AM PST by widowithfoursons
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