George Mason in the News

Posted: January 21, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason received during the past week:

Thursday, Jan. 13, The Washington Post

George Mason Defends Its High-Tech Turf

“An outspoken government official and a determined university president are bumping heads over what academic institution can best represent high-tech research in Northern Virginia. It’s a long-running controversy that has begun to heat up again. The area lacks a research campus on par with Stanford University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and critics have said the omission hinders the region’s growth. A top-ranked research university can create technologies that spawn corporations nearby, and it can serve as a magnet for top technologists. George Mason University, which was founded as a branch of University of Virginia in 1957 and became independent in 1972, has strived under the leadership of President Alan G. Merten to step into that role. The university has grown in standing as well as size.”

Tuesday, Jan. 18, The Washington Post

A Sophisticated Approach

“As required by the federal law, which took effect in 2002, all children in public schools take their first standardized test in third grade. Schools risk sanctions if there is no academic improvement among enough children. ‘What school district or individual school likes to have their names in the headlines saying they are failing?’ said John O’Connor, superintendent of the Dover School District in New Hampshire. ‘We take steps [in second grade] to avoid that. We teach test-taking skills, and we refine curriculum to mirror more of what is being tested.’ As a result, said S. David Brazer, assistant professor in the Education Leadership Program at George Mason University, most kindergarteners now are taught what used to be a first-grade curriculum, and many children are expected to enter primary school knowing how to read. Second-graders are learning lessons that used to be saved for later years, such as multiplication.”

Wednesday, Jan. 19, The Washington Post

The Barriers Between President and People

“The authorities will do it again this year. They will also block off streets, close three Metro stations during the day and employ more surveillance cameras than ever before. Roger Wilkins, a history professor at George Mason University and civil rights champion, was on Johnson’s inaugural committee. ‘Ever since the start of the Cold War,’ Wilkins says, ‘presidents have become more and more layered in security.’ But the Bush administration, Wilkins says, is different in tone from earlier administrations ‘because there is such a certainty that emanates from them about the rightness of what they do.'”

Thursday, Jan. 20, Winnipeg Free Press

Bush Bets Legacy on ‘Ownership Society’

“The key to his domestic agenda is a planned overhaul of the U.S. Social Security system that would allow Americans to open personal retirement accounts outside of the government system. He is also lobbying hard for an overhaul of the convoluted U.S. tax code and sweeping tort reform to cut down on what he terms ‘frivolous’ lawsuits against doctors and private companies. ‘He sees himself as someone who makes bold decisions, wants to make big change. He is not a placekeeper for someone else,’ says James Pfiffner, a presidential expert at George Mason University. ‘He is going to charge ahead and get as far as he can.'”

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