It turns out censorship can be costly -- not just in terms of the free exchange of ideas but also in terms of cold, hard cash. The Fallbrook Union High School District, in southern California, recently settled a censorship case over articles the high school principal withheld from the student newspaper. The district's agreement: a $7,500 payment to the school's former journalism teacher and $20,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union.
At Eagle Rock School, in Estes Park, Colorado, the alpine air is so thin, it literally takes your breath away. For most of the 96 teens living and learning here, the Rocky Mountain setting couldn't be more different from the city streets they've left behind.
Every September 11, I read a news story that connects me to the grief of a stranger. Today, it was one about Alissa Torres, a woman widowed on 9/11 who still clings tightly to her dream that there was, somehow, beauty in her husband's death.
Society today seems more likely than ever to accept the idea of holistic solutions to educational and community problems. Each day, foundations are created to reach out to populations that are unable and unprepared to empower themselves.
When New York City's 1.1 million public school students return from summer vacation, they can look forward to rolling up their sleeves and getting busy improving the world, or at least their corner of it.
In my travels for work and pleasure, I have hunted agates in Scotland, searched for flints, arrowheads, and fossils in Wyoming, Texas, and Oregon, and brought pieces of obsidian home from Japan. Yes, I am an avid rock collector. But this posting is really about people and schools, not rocks.