TESTS FOR TOTS
Commercial test-preparation courses are already popular for applicants to top colleges and graduate schools, and recently also for admission to prestigious private high schools and grade schools. Now, according to a November New York Times report, such courses and private coaching are increasingly important for admission to New York City’s high-achiever public kindergartens—even though the applicants are just three and four years old. Basic coaching, which may cost more than $1,000, includes training a child to listen to an adult’s questions and to sit still for testing. Minimum qualification for top-shelf kindergartens are scores at the 90th percentile on the Olsat reasoning test and the Bracken School Readiness knowledge test.
In the past three years, at least 39 drivers in Dallas have been ticketed by police officers for the “offense” of being “a non-English speaking driver,” according to a Dallas Morning News investigation in October. The software for officers’ in-car computers features a check-off box with the phrase, perhaps leading officers (and their sergeants) to believe it constituted a separate traffic offense rather than merely an indication that the motorist might not have understood an officer’s instructions. The police chief expressed shock at the report and promised to end the practice.
DO NOT CALL, INDEED
Daniel Adler, 61, was arrested in October in Stony Point, N.Y., and charged with assault. Police said Adler had been solicited by a Sears Home Improvement telemarketer and had agreed to an appointment, but that when the employee arrived, Adler allegedly punched him in the face. Adler said he had scheduled the appointment only to “advise” Sears, in person, to stop calling him.
GOOGLE 1, FBI 0
In September, Nebraska prison guard Michal Preclik, 32 (who had been on the job for a year and had just been promoted), was discovered to be on the lam from Interpol for drug and fraud crimes in the Czech Republic. The Corrections Department’s background check, on the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center database, had turned up nothing, but when officials subsequently Googled Preclik, the Interpol wanted poster was one of the top results.
JUAN IN A MILLION
When the DRP party candidate for president of Mexico City’s most populous borough lost in the primary this year, party officials hatched a plot to elevate a street peddler, “Juanito” Angeles, to run in the general election, with the “understanding” that he would step aside if victorious, in favor of the original candidate, Clara Brugada. Helped by his “everyman” image (according to a New York Times dispatch), Angeles won the election. However, his sudden power and celebrity apparently went to his head, and he refused to relinquish the presidency. (He finally agreed, in September, but only after receiving concessions from the party.)
WHO KNEW FLORIDA HAD ELECTION ISSUES?
When a Broward County Republican club held its scheduled meeting in October at a local gun range (according to a South Florida Sun-Sentinel report), among the shooters was the congressional candidate trying to unseat the Democratic incumbent, and on his target as he fired away, someone had written the Democrat’s initials. (2) Also in Broward County in October, the father (a Democrat) of County Mayor Stacy Ritter was arrested and charged with threatening his daughter at gunpoint. The father is running for mayor of Tamarac and was upset that his daughter had endorsed his opponent.
(1) William Evans, 57, on trial in St. Augustine, Fla., in August for a sex crime that occurred nearly 30 years ago (but not erased by the statute of limitations), committed suicide while away from the courthouse, awaiting the jury’s decision. Without knowing that, the jury came back and declared him not guilty. (2) Engineering student Ken Kitamura, 19, drowned in the Yodogawa River in Osaka, Japan, in August. He and several colleagues had constructed a prototype canoe made of concrete, and Kitamura was the first to try it out.