(CNN Student News) -- March 10, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Wednesday, I'm Carl Azuz, and this is CNN Student News! We're going to dive into some education issues in a few minutes. First up though, a look at the headlines.
First Up: White House Meeting
AZUZ: We begin at the White House with a meeting between President Obama and the prime minister of Greece. The leaders got together to talk about the global economy and Greece's big budget deficit, which has led to political unrest in the European country. Yesterday's meeting was an attempt by Prime Minister Georges Papandreou to get international support for his plans to reduce his country's deficit. Some of his ideas have been unpopular in Greece.
AZUZ: Staying in the nation's capital, where several same-sex couples were married yesterday, the first day those marriages were legal in D.C. The law that allowed the marriages to take place was challenged in the Supreme Court, but the court ruled that the law could stand. Opponents of the law say that D.C. residents should have had a chance to vote on it before it was passed by the city council.
AZUZ: Over in Oklahoma, look at this: Storm chasers shot this incredible video of a tornado that touched down in the city of Hammon on Monday night. You can see just from these pictures how incredibly powerful this thing is. At least five houses were destroyed. 900 homes in the area lost power. Tornado sirens warned residents before the storm hit, though, and thankfully, there were no reports of any injuries.
AZUZ: No injuries or damages were reported in Hawaii after a 4.4-magnitude earthquake struck that state Monday night. The epicenter hit near the city of Laupahoehoe. That's about 200 miles away from the capital of Honolulu. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that about 13,000 light earthquakes, like this one in Hawaii, occur every year.
Is this Legit?
MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The U.S. government decides how many days are in the school year. Not legit! States and districts set the calendar for public schools, not the federal government.
AZUZ: Well, some of those districts are deciding to make the school week shorter. Four-day weeks. You've heard us talk about this before; not a new idea. More than a hundred districts around the U.S. currently have a four-day week. Dozens more are considering it to try and deal with financial problems the U.S. is facing. Some people are worried that switching to a shorter school week will have a negative impact on students academically. But one school official in Colorado argues that moving to the four-day week isn't a major change.
LYNETTE PANTELLO, PRESIDENT, PUEBLO SCHOOL DISTRICT 70: The main reason we switched to the four-day week was due to budget concerns. We have close to $6 million we need to cut out of the budget. And by going to a four-day week, we're going to save anywhere between $800,000 to $1.1 million. The main change to a four-day week is when you do away with your fifth day, your four days that you go to school, which for us will be Monday through Thursday, will be longer days. So, you're getting the same amount of hours of one-on-one time with your teachers, it's just put into four days.
AZUZ: All right, we've been talking about this issue for awhile now, but you are living it. You're seeing the effects the recession is having on your schools; you're telling us about them on our blog. We want you to keep doing it, and the new report today up on our blog asks your thoughts on what you would do if you were a school official, you had less money this year than you did last year: What would you cut and what would you save? Of course, our blog you can find at CNNStudentNews.com. Also there, we'd love for you to submit an iReport. Go on camera. Talk to us. Tell us what you're thinking about these issues. You might see yourself -- not just your comments, but your face -- on an upcoming edition of CNN Student News. We love to see what you're going to come up with.
AZUZ: A lot of education news you've been hearing -- public school struggles, college tuition going up -- in a word, it's discouraging. No matter who you are or what kind of class you're in right now, there are some things you can do to ensure you're going to have opportunities, even in this uncertain world. Dr. Steve Perry, a CNN contributor and founder of a public magnet school, has some advice for you.
DR. STEVE PERRY, PRINCIPAL AND FOUNDER, CAPITAL PREPARATORY MAGNET SCHOOL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I grew up in public housing; I grew up in the projects. I was born on my mother's 16th birthday. By the time I was in high school, going to my senior year, my father had already been headed off to prison. Regardless of where you start, a life is not determined by where you start but where in fact you end. I have seen people far smarter than I who did much better than I did in school give up on themselves. Simply being smart is not enough. Being talented is not enough. Being tall is not enough to be good in basketball; being smart is not enough to be good in school. You have to have the desire to do more than is expected of you. Don't wait for somebody to hold expectations up for you; you have to decide that you're going to set the expectations yourself.
I can say very surely that there are a lot of us who started from very far behind, but we seem to be winning right now. There are a lot of kids out there, both rich and poor, black and white, who don't understand that it's them who's going to save them. There's nobody coming to save them. But you can do the best that you can do to put money in your pocket. What that means is, kinda this way: A's are money in the bank. D's are worth nothing. F;s will cost you. C;s aren't worth anything, and B;s are only worth a little. Get as many A;s and B;s as you can, and that's a way for the colleges that you're going to be going to to see that you are in fact a committed student.
There are more children who are going to get merit-based scholarships, meaning based upon their academic ability, than those who are going to get it based on their athletic ability. We can all be better students; we can't all be better athletes, but we can all be better students. So, they need to take the time to make sure that they do their homework and perform at their optimum because that's the best way to get scholarships.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Schoenecker's language arts students at Sisters Middle School in Sisters, Oregon! When was the Congressional Gold Medal first awarded? Was it in: A) 1776, B) 1865, C) 1945 or D) 1966? You've got three seconds -- GO! In 1776, the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: And the newest Congressional Gold Medal is being awarded today! A huge crowd is expected at the U.S. Capitol when the WASPs, the Women AirForce Service Pilots, are honored with the award. They made history with their service to the country during World War II. And as we celebrate Women's History Month, Jessica Yellin has more on these trailblazing female flyers.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: From the time she was eight, Jane Tedeschi wanted to be a pilot.
JANE TEDESCHI, FORMER WASP PILOT: That was Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic, and a lot of other people were flying air races.
YELLIN: As a young woman in her 20s, Tedeschi sought out flight lessons and got her pilot's license, a rarity for a woman in those days. With World War II gripping the nation, male pilots were desperately needed overseas for battle. Female aviator Jacqueline Cochran came up with a radical idea: let female pilots take over domestic missions. The military approved, and WASP, Women AirForce Service Pilots program, was born.
TEDESCHI: I thought this is something I can do and love to do and will contribute to the war effort.
YELLIN: Another of the 1,102 members was Deanie Parrish. One of her jobs was to help train gunners for combat.
DEANIE PARRISH, FORMER WASP PILOT: It was not that I was going to do any more than anybody else, because there were other females who were driving ambulances or firetrucks, working on airplanes, and I was doing the one thing I felt I do could best.
YELLIN: The WASP were civilians, but they were the first women to fly in U.S. military planes, in all logging more than 60 million miles in all types of aircraft, from heavy bombers to attack planes.
TEDESCHI: Night flying occasionally was an interesting thing because we didn't have an awful lot of training in that, and you gotta be sure you never lose your horizon.
YELLIN: Although the work was confined to the home front, Air Force Major Nicole Malachowski, the first female Thunderbird pilot, says these women developed key tactics and training for the war.
MAJOR NICOLE MALACHOWSKI, U.S. AIR FORCE: These women did that by training the men to fly these planes so they could go fly in combat. They did that by being instructor pilots. They were test pilots. They also did aerial gunnery.
TEDESCHI: Shows how happy we were to be flying.
YELLIN: Now, with fewer than 300 of the pilots still alive, today the nation is recognizing their legacy.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Great story. Before we go today, instead of trying to spin some elaborate tale, we'll just let these guys do it for us. After all, they're the stars at the California Yo-Yo Championship. And with good reason, considering some of these sweet tricks. More than 100 competitors, some from as far away as Hawaii and Japan, showed up to show off their skills. One yo-yo'er apparently pulled off a trick that's called "Splitting the Atom."
AZUZ: But he was probably just fission for compliments. CNN Student News returns tomorrow. Have a great day. I'm Carl Azuz.