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EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: Eight area students selected for state council

A group of eight Middle Georgia high school students are among 53 students selected by State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox from across Georgia to serve on the Student Advisory Council. The council meets during the school year to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia.

Students were eligible to apply by submitting an application and essays and were chosen from more than 550 applicants.

The council will meet three times during the school year — Nov. 9, Jan. 25 and March 8 at Georgia Tech.

The Middle Georgia students selected are MacTavius Basley, Twiggs County High School; Emma Brown, Central High School; Miranda Burke, Dooly County High School; Brittney Curry, Baldwin High School; Jordie Davies, Dodge County High School; Sarah Lindsey, Washington County High School; Shaniqua Pierce, West Laurens High School; and Laura Whyte, Peach County High School.

TEACHER FURLOUGHS IN HAWAII GAIN NATIONAL ATTENTION

While Peach County Superintendent Susan Clark said the adoption of the four-day school week for the system’s schools has been mostly positive, Hawaii is attracting criticism for a similar plan to address its state budget shortfalls.

Beginning Oct. 23, Hawaii implemented the first of its “furlough Fridays,” shaving off 17 days from the school year — about two Fridays a month from October to May.

The furloughs were agreed to by Gov. Linda Lingle, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and a majority of the state’s 13,500 teachers who ratified the plan in a September vote. The furloughs effectively cut teacher pay by 7.9 percent and help the state narrow a $1 billion budget deficit through June 2011, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

Hawaii Department of Education spokeswoman Sandy Goya said the department cannot yet say how much the furlough days will save, though it was previously estimated each furlough day would save between $4 million and $5 million, the Advertiser also said.

Parents filed two lawsuits last week in response to the furloughs, according to the Associated Press.

A class-action lawsuit representing Hawaii’s 170,000 public school students filed in federal court Thursday said furloughs will break the state’s obligation to provide 180 days of schooling, five days a week, as well as negatively impacting certain classes and racial groups.

A second lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday said the furloughs would affect special education programs in violation of federal rules.

The lawsuits ask for a temporary blocking order against the furloughs, but U.S. District Judge David Ezra denied those requests Thursday, saying doing so right before the furloughs were to take place would not be feasible.

SOUTHERN POVERTY

LAW CENTER LAWYER TO SPEAK AT MACON STATE

Southern Poverty Law Center lawyer Ashleigh Ferris will speak at Macon State College at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 3, according to a news release.

Ferris will discuss the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the clause’s relevance in relation to the civil rights movement, gender equality and discrimination. Her appearance is sponsored by the Macon State College School of Education.

The event will take place in Room 212 of the Professional Sciences and Conference Center. Her talk will be simulcast in Walker Auditorium on the Warner Robins campus.

This event is free and open to the public.

MERCER LECTURE TO ADDRESS FORENSICS, THE “CSI EFFECT”

Dr. Stephen L. Morgan, an expert in forensic chemistry and a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, will give the fourth annual Sigma Xi Distinguished Science Lecture at Mercer University at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5, according to a news release.

Morgan’s lecture, “Forensic Analytical Chemistry: Basic Research behind CSI,” is free and open to the public.

The event will be held in the auditorium of the Science and Engineering Building on the university’s Macon campus.

There will be a reception at 6 p.m in the lobby before the lecture in the Science and Engineering Building.

“We believe Dr. Morgan’s work and lecture on the basic chemistry behind the CSI forensics will be of great interest to the entire Mercer community,” said Dr. Hodge Jenkins, associate professor of mechanical engineering, in the release.

GSU TO HOLD RECEPTION

Georgia Southern University will host an admissions reception at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base on Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for high school students and college graduates considering an advanced degree.

Those interested in attending the reception are asked to RSVP in advance by visiting georgiasouthern.edu.

Enrollment at Georgia Southern for fall 2009 has grown to 19,086 students, up from 17,764 students from last year, according to a university news release.

“By raising academic standards at Georgia Southern, not only has the academic quality of our students grown, but enrollment growth has followed,” said Bruce Grube, president of Georgia Southern University.

To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.

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