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"My students...come to the United States for an art education they cannot get in their own countries," writes Carol Becker, dean of faculty at the School of the Art Institute, in the Utne Reader (July-August, reprinted from Art Journal, Summer 1999). "They ultimately do very well in this global art world, living on the boundaries of culture, versed in several languages, constructing and deconstructing their identities at every turn....But as their work becomes more and more about their complex, multiple realities, they find it harder to connect to those at 'home' who never left."

Crowded on the street? In 1997, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau estimates, 4.2 million people attended conventions, shows, or meetings in the city and spent $4.9 billion doing so. Estimates for 2000 are 5.2 million attendees and $6.3 billion in spending ("Chicago Connections," May/June).

Nonpartisanship is where you find it. W. Kent Fung applauds the primary defeat of five supporters of Governor Ryan's big spending program in the spring issue of "Taxnews," the newsletter of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, "thanks to NTU's nonpartisan Special Bilk Illinois Tax Survey..."

George W. Bush, Trent Lott, and Tom DeLay "may truly and sincerely think abortion is murder," writes Jacob Weisberg in Slate (July 14). But they know that "overturning Roe would be about the worst thing that could possibly happen to the Republican Party. A genuine threat to the legal right to abortion would energize a grass-roots liberalism not seen in this country since the 1960s. I imagine that it would result in a long-term Democratic majority and in the rapid reversal of any new abortion restrictions. The ultimate result would be to enshrine the legal status of abortion in a more permanent way. Bush might not be the brightest guy in the world, but he understands the Reagan formula, just as his father did. On abortion, you posture for the right-wing base by saying you support a constitutional amendment and various restrictions while making sure that nothing happens to the basic right to an abortion."

The Homicide Belt. While the city's homicide rate dropped between 1998 and 1999, in five police districts it went up--Harrison and Marquette on the west side, Grand Central on the northwest side, Albany Park on the north side, and Prairie on the south side. According to Stephanie Williams in the Chicago Reporter (May), "these districts accounted for almost one-third of the city's homicides, but one-fifth of the population."

The population explosion. According to a recent Purdue University press release, professor of industrial engineering Shimon Nof, editor of the nearly 1,400-page Handbook of Industrial Robotics, has determined that the world population of robots surged from 35,000 in 1982 to 950,000 this year.

Centralization was the goal a hundred years ago too. "So long as teaching required little or no formal training, working-class and immigrant women predominated as public school teachers, while more affluent and better-educated women shunned the field," writes Ellen Condliffe Lagemann in her new history, An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Educational Research. But "higher educational requirements drew a better 'class' of women. That it was University of Chicago President William Rainey Harper who led the fight to raise the educational requirements [for teaching] in Chicago was not a coincidence. By raising educational requirements, Harper hoped to diminish the numbers of working-class and immigrant teachers, which could be conducive to centering control of the schools in the hands of the city's upper-class elite. Working-class and immigrant teachers were more likely to unionize than their more affluent and educated sisters, and they were more likely to have close personal and familial ties to the local neighborhood school boards that stood in the way of administrative centralization."

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