(CNN Student News) -- August 26, 2010
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Today on CNN Student News, we're dialing up a story about text messaging in school. And IMHO, you're gonna love it. I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get started.
First Up: Iraq Violence
AZUZ: First up, just as the U.S. pulls combat troops out of Iraq, investigators are looking into a wave of violence that took place across Iraq yesterday. Attacks happened in 13 different cities in the northern, western and southern parts of the Middle Eastern country. At least 48 people were killed and more than 280 others were injured.
Officials didn't immediately know whether the different attacks were connected to each other. What they did know is that the attacks seemed to target Iraqi security forces. They took place at police stations or security checkpoints. This violence puts a focus on Iraqi forces and their ability to keep their country secure. As we've talked about this week, the U.S. troops there are moving into more of an advise-and-assist role, although American commanders say that U.S. forces could take part in combat missions if the Iraqis need them to.
AZUZ: Over to Chile, where officials are trying to figure out what to do for the next three to four months, because that is how long they think it's going to take to rescue a group of 33 miners who were trapped by a cave-in three weeks ago. These guys are all safe. They're in a shelter that's 2,300 feet underground. The space is only about 540 square feet, so, the size of a very small apartment. Chilean officials are talking to NASA and submarine experts to find out how people deal with being in small spaces for long times, and to figure out what can be done to try to keep these miners engaged mentally. For now, it seems their spirits are good. Karl Penhaul explains more on that.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The rescue workers on the surface were able to put a cable so they could set up some kind of radio system within the bowels of the earth with these 33 miners. And instead of the normal exchanges of, "Hi, how are you doing?" the miners spontaneously broke into singing the Chilean National Anthem...
TRAPPED CHILEAN MINERS [IN SPANISH]: (SINGING THE CHILEAN NATIONAL ANTHEM)
PENHAUL: ...And that really has lifted the spirits of the rescue workers and the family members as well, because what that really tells them is these men have been through what they have been through but they're in good mental health. They are in high spirits, and they're really showing the tenacity that they're going to hang on and make it through this.
Is This Legit?
JOHN LISK, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? The average American eats around 100 eggs per year. Nope! According to the United Egg Producers, the average American eats about 250 eggs per year.
AZUZ: We could end up paying more for those eggs in the near future. The price that grocery stores and restaurants pay has gone up 38 percent in the last couple weeks. Some experts think those higher costs could get passed on to consumers like you and me. This might be connected to the recent recall of more than half a billion eggs because of concerns about salmonella. Less eggs on the market means higher prices for the eggs that are out there, assuming that the demand for eggs stays about the same.
New Home Sales Down
AZUZ: Egg prices are up. Home sales are down! Sales of new homes are at the lowest point in more than 45 years! Don't get this confused with what we told you yesterday. We were talking then about a drop in existing home sales, homes that were already built. Now, we're talking about a decline for new home sales. Some experts are blaming the same thing for both declines: the end of a government tax credit that offered people money to help buy houses. No credit, fewer sales. Some economists predict that home sales won't go up until the nation's unemployment rate goes down.
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I'm a form of communication. I first appeared in 1992. My first message was "Merry Christmas." My official name is SMS. You know me as text messaging, and you teenagers REALLY know me well.
AZUZ: There are a lot of folks who know text messaging well, myself included. But we're talking about a new survey, and it says that teenagers text more than any other group. And it's not even close. If this were a race, you would be winning. Big time. But texting while you're in class, as many of you know, can be a problem. Deborah Feyerick checks in with a report about different approaches to cell phones in school.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK: Seventh grader Cayleb Coyne has texting in class down to a science.
CAYLEB COYNE, 7TH GRADE STUDENT: Open it up, put the phone in there, and act like I'm looking for something and send a text message.
FEYERICK: Coyne says his cell phone has been confiscated six times in six months. And he's not the only one, despite constant reminders from his principal at Haverstraw Middle School.
AVIS COLLIER SHELBY, PRINCIPAL, HAVERSTRAW MIDDLE SCHOOL: Your cell phones are supposed to be where? Yes, in your locker, not in class.
FEYERICK: But class is exactly where they end up. According to the Pew Research Center, even in schools that ban cell phone use, nearly 60 percent of all students admit texting during class, a growing problem in schools across the country.
ROBIN NOVELLI, PRINCIPAL, BAYSIDE HIGH SCHOOL: Why are you so addicted to this technology?
FEYERICK: At Bayside High School in Florida, students risk being suspended if their phone is confiscated more than once. So far this year, 200 kids have had their phones taken away.
NOVELLI: Students need to be fully, 100 percent, authentically engaged in the classroom. And pulling out a cell phone and texting their friends about whatever it is they might be talking about is not the learning environment that I, as a principal, want to promote.
FEYERICK: And despite that zero tolerance policy...
NOVELLI: We still daily collect cell phones from students that have them out when they're supposed to be learning in the classroom.
DR. MICHAEL RICH, DIRECTOR, CENTER ON MEDIA AND CHILD HEALTH: I don't think we're going to stop the tsunami.
FEYERICK: But pediatrician and media expert Michael Rich says the reality is kids use more than seven hours of media a day. Depriving them of it could backfire.
RICH: Pandora's box is open here. The technologies are here. What we need to do is take control of them instead of letting them control us.
SHELBY: You can't put the genie back in the bottle. The cell phones are here.
FEYERICK: At Haverstraw Middle School...
RONALD ROYSTER, 5TH GRADE TEACHER: All right, guys, turn on your MODs again, please.
FEYERICK: ...Teachers like Ronald Royster have decided if you can't beat them, join them.
ROYSTER: It's not really a phone, it's their computer for class.
FEYERICK: The school handed out 75 cell phones to fifth graders as part of a unique pilot program.
ROYSTER: Click on Ellis Island.
FEYERICK: Texting and calling features are disabled and Internet sites are filtered. Phones are used for things like note taking and research. For 11-year-olds Kiara, Ryan and Naya, learning is different now.
NAYA RIVERA, 5TH GRADE STUDENT: It's almost like you want to look at the screen. It's almost like a mini TV, where you, like, you want to look at it. You don't want to go look at a piece of paper.
FEYERICK: The district superintendent says, dollar for dollar, buying phones is more efficient than new computers. There are some educators who just say these should not be in school. What is your response to them?
ILEANA ECKERT, SUPERINTENDENT, HAVERSTRAW STONY POINT CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT: I think we're in the middle of a new revolution. It's part of who they are today, and why not use something in a positive way that they are bringing with them.
AZUZ: Interesting report. Alright, we're going to take it to our blog now. Blog From A to Z at CNNStudentNews.com. Yesterday, we ran a story about a $578 million school. It's America's most expensive ever. It's set to open in Los Angeles. It led us to the question, what do you think makes a school good? Here's what you're saying on our blog. Andy tells us, fancy or not, what makes a good school are "teachers willing to make class fun and educational." Jamie thinks it's the teachers and education. "The best school building won't matter if it doesn't produce the best results." Paula writes that "the whole idea of school is to receive an education, to learn, and this can be done almost anywhere." Will students learn more because of a building? Paula thinks not. Abby says it takes balance. "You can't have bad teachers, but you also need a nice facility, fun classes and clubs and good lunch food." Shun's opinion: "A good environment matters a little; students' attitude toward studying is what really matters." And the results from our poll seem to line up with that: The overwhelming majority of you say it's the teachers. The building itself actually getting the least support.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, an engineer from Canada is on the run. And he's gonna be on it all year long. This is Martin Parnell. He's 54 years old, and he's taking a break from work to run. And run. And run. His goal is to run the equivalent of 250 marathons in one year! He's doing it to raise money for charity. He's already more than halfway there; less than 100 marathons for him to go.
AZUZ: If he can reach his goal? That would be quite a feet. Time for us to hit the road, but we'll race back tomorrow to close out the week. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.