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Posted at 3:41 PM ET, 01/ 1/2010

Take The Sheet's 2009 Education Quiz

By Valerie Strauss

Happy and healthy new year to all.... and now let’s start off the new decade with, appropriately for an education blog, a quiz.

I thought about doing one of those top 10 education story of the year or decade lists, but realized it would be repetitive: Budget cuts hurt K-12; budget cuts squeeze community colleges big-time; budget cuts and endowment losses bring pain to colleges and universities ... etc.

A quiz sounded more fun. Here are some unusual education stories you may not have read in 2009. Take a look and guess from where they came.

The quiz follows, and the answer sheet will be in a separate posting, complete with links, below this one. You can find it here.

Let me know how you do, and send in other stories that you think would be interesting to share.

Thanks for reading The Sheet, and I hope you stay tuned this year. Please continue sending in comments, questions, story ideas and advice.

I greatly appreciate it all.


1. A federal judge rules that a high school history teacher who referred to creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” violated the First Amendment rights of a student.

The teacher, James Corbett, made the comments in fall 2007, and Chad Farnan, then a sophomore, sued him, alleging that the teacher had displayed hostility toward Christians.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled that the above statement of Corbett’s were in violation of the First Amendment rights of Farnan, but dismissed a number of other comments that Farnan had cited.

They included Corbett’s statement that the amount of evidence that God created the world is as much “as there is that there is a gigantic spaghetti monster living behind the moon who did it.” They judge rendered no financial penalty.

This happened in:

a) California
b) Alabama
c) New York
d) Florida


2. A government entity becomes concerned about gang involvement and gaming addictions among young people and decides to take a multi-targeted approach to deal with the problem and investigate a possible connection.

Department officials recognize that while the fundamental causes of both gaming addiction and gang involvement seem similar, there is no known research looking at the association. There has been, though, studies done linking an addiction to games, especially violent video games, to an increase in aggressive behavior in young people.

The entity was:

a) U.S. Centers for Disease Control
b) Britain’s Education Ministry
c) Singapore’s Ministry of Education
d) Nevada’s Clark County School District


3. A leading mathematician leaves a university to teach a junior high school math class for a year. Two months after he started, he walked off the job, complaining that his students were so difficult that he could not teach. The professor said the kids would throw things at each other, get up and sing whenever they felt like it and otherwise misbehave. The would-be junior high teacher is safely back at his university.

This happened in:
A) New York City
B) London, England
C) New Delhi, India
D) Haifa, Israel


4. A teacher ‘trying to be cool’ to his students is found guilty of serious misconduct for doing a semi- strip tease dance in class, taking off his shirt in front of his class of 14-year-olds.

The world would not have known about the teacher’s antics if a student had not used a cell phone to capture it on video and post it on YouTube.

This happened in:
a) Miami, Fla.
b) Suffolk, England
c) New Delhi, India
d) Milan, Italy


5. A government entity announced that English-teaching robots would be used on a trial basis in some schools in an attempt to help serve students in cities outside the capital.

This happened in:
A) Japan
B) South Korea
C) China
D) Indonesia


6. A government appoints its first female minister, a deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students.

This happened in:

a) Kyrgyzstan
b) Saudi Arabia
c) Qatar
d) Egypt


7. A university official goes to a rather obscure conference on education research and details at a seminar how her school deliberately went about trying to improve its ranking in the U.S. News & World Report annual college rankings. The official practically accused her college of manipulating information. "It is the thing around which almost everything revolves for the president’s office."

This happened at:

a) Clemson University
b) Wake Forest University
c) Rice University
d) Tulane University


8. Concern arises that young people are not reading enough. In an effort to spur an interest in reading, free books are to be made available to schools with a certain percentage of students who live in low-income homes. The books are to include “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson, “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, and “How Loud Can You Burp,” and “How Much Poo Does An Elephant Do?”

This happened in:

a) England
b) United States
c) India
d) Canada


9. A fifth grade teacher who put together a DVD filled with images from the previous school year accidentally included pornography. The DVD shows school trips and classroom scenes and then suddenly switches to the teacher on a couch. One boy watched it and then his parents had to spend time talking to him about the facts of life.

This happened in:

a) Scarsdale, N.Y.
b) Evanston, Ill.
c) Elk Grove, Cal.
d) Hialeah, Fla.


10. The American Library Association announced its annual list of most frequently challenged books in public and school libraries.

Guess the book that was most challenged.

a) “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini, a story about an Afghan boy that includes a homosexual rape
b) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, based on a true story about two male penguins who care for an orphaned egg.
c) “His Dark Materials Trilogy,” by Philip Pullman, fantasy novels about two children criticized by religious groups for its portrayal of organized religion
d) “TTYL”; “TTFN”; “L8R, G8R” (Series), by Lauren Myracle, books popular with teen girls that deal with issues of sexuality, depression and other themes
e) “Scary Stories” (Series), by Alvin Schwartz, books criticized by religious organizations for allegedly talking about the occult

ANSWERS ON THE BLOG POST BELOW. You can find it here.

By Valerie Strauss  | January 1, 2010; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  High School, Higher Education, Learning, Middle School, Reading, Teachers  | Tags:  The Education Quiz  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Answer Sheet to education quiz
Next: Should kids take physical ed every day?


I found it difficult to focus on the questions posed in this quiz because of the numerous errors in grammar and punctuation--and these in a posting about education! Please ask someone to edit this piece, especially for subject-verb agreement ("the above statement of Corbett’s were in violation" and "There has been, though, studies done"), and consistency of tenses.

Posted by: Lamentations | January 1, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

That's funny. I had no problem reading or comprehending the quiz. Perhaps surgery to remove that stick might help you?

Posted by: web_user | January 3, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What is the signification of the geographical location of the events that the quiz questions revolve around? Readers read for content, not locations of newswothy events!

Posted by: ntlekt | January 3, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

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