CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Some 20,000 people shopped for schools, not holiday gifts, last weekend. Crowds packed an exhibition hall for a fair offering information on all 148 schools and 15 magnet programs in North Carolina's largest school district. Next fall will be the first time in 30 years that Charlotte students won't be bused to achieve racial equality. A federal appeals court ruled this year that the school system no longer shows signs of intentional segregation.
MADRID - Tens of thousands of college students and professors in Spain swarmed the capital over the weekend to protest a university-reform bill they say would privatize higher education and put it out of reach of the middle classes. The legislation would let the institutions administer their own student admissions exams and hire up to half of their faculty as private staff. Now, professors are paid as government civil servants, and entrance to universities is governed by a national exam taken by Spaniards at the end of their secondary education.
NEW YORK - A new program at Columbia University's Teachers College provides tuition-free master's degrees for 15 to 25 graduating seniors of Columbia University. The goal of Columbia Urban Educators (CUE) is to train people to become New York City public middle school teachers in Harlem and Washington Heights. For the first year of the program, graduate students teach at the schools and receive a beginning teacher's salary. They also commit to two more years of teaching in the districts. During the summers and weekends of two academic years, CUE students also take courses to complete a master's degree, which is required for full certification.
PHILADELPHIA - The mayor and governor say they will take three more weeks, until Dec. 21, before deciding whether the troubled Philadelphia school system will be taken over by the state. If it is, it will be the largest US school system ever run by a state government.