More black people are buying homes, but they're all buying in the same places, reports the Woodstock Institute in a recent press release. If anything, home-owner segregation is getting worse. "By 1995-1996, 45 percent of African-American home buyers were moving into neighborhoods in which at least 75 percent of buyers were African-American, compared with only 27 percent in 1990-1991."
"Universities are becoming more like athletic shoe companies and less like institutions with transcendent and idealistic values," according to Cary Nelson, an English professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and coauthor of the new book Academic Keywords: A Devil's Dictionary for Higher Education. Corporate values and worker exploitation are leading the schools into trouble, he argues. "Without a major collective effort, higher education as we know it will be over within a decade or two."
Bad-timing award. Headline of press release issued March 8 by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, shortly after the Naperville murders: "The Illinois Poison Center Provides Poison Tips for Parents."
"Public housing is changing," writes Patricia Johnson-Gordon in the Chicago Housing Authority's "Residents' Journal" (February). "I would say that the handwriting is on the wall but the wall is gone."
A conservative to Pat Buchanan: get over the 1950s already. Former Reagan staff economist Murray Weidenbaum notes that "we did not all prosper together" during the 1950s. "The unemployment rate reached 6.8 percent in 1958 (the non-white unemployment rate hit 12.6 percent that year). The average worker's compensation in 'real' terms (boiling out the effects of inflation) was more than a third lower in 1959 than it is today. The national total of savings deposits--a good measure of consumer wealth--was a modest $146 billion in December 1954. It is almost eight times that amount now. Total industrial production in the 1950s was half of today's rate. So much for the subsequent 'destruction' of U.S. manufacturing by foreign competition" (from a March pamphlet published by the Center for the Study of American Business, "The Great Confusion," reprinted from Challenge, November/December).
And that would make Bill...? Rebecca Mead in the New Yorker (March 15):"Lewinsky is, generationally speaking, the offspring of the feminist movement, the lip-glossed proof that those who start a revolution cannot control what it may later become."
Mop up! "Parents and caregivers can significantly reduce their child's blood lead levels by keeping a clean house," reports the suburban-based American Academy of Pediatrics in a March press release. In a recent study urban children whose homes had been cleaned 20 or more times throughout the year had an average one-third drop in blood lead levels. Effective house-cleaning methods include: "wet mopping of floors, damp sponging of walls and horizontal surfaces and vacuuming with a high-efficiency vacuum."
"The transformation (and 'gentrification') of the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods slowly ate away at the population of my last school, Wells High School," writes teacher Dan Van Zile in Substance (March). After spending months as a roving substitute, he was among the teachers fired earlier this year. "The school's autumn membership numbers told one story. October 31, 1994: 1,724 students....
October 31, 1997: 1,385 students. The conversion of apartment houses that had once housed families with a half dozen kids told the other part of the story. As the number of Reader ads for $1,000 and $1,500 apartments along Damen, Division, Milwaukee, and Ashland Avenues grew, the number of students at Wells High School shrunk. For every artist or poet who moved into Wicker Park or Bucktown, someone's family moved out. For everyone who preferred Starbucks to the Busy Bee, we lost kids."