Public, private kindergartens perform equally

By Robert Ball

To the surprise of many, a study led by sociologist William Carbonaro of Notre Dame’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity found that kindergartners in public schools make equal or slightly greater academic gains than their private school counterparts.

However, the study’s findings present something of a paradox—albeit one that is more apparent than real. “On the one hand, it is reassuring that public kindergartners do as well or slightly better than private kindergartners in producing learning gains, ” Carbonaro says. “On the other hand, this remains something of a hollow victory because private schools’ students still have substantially higher test scores at the end of kindergarten.”…

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Kids practice safe text

By Robert Ball

Despite a few highly publicized incidents related to e-communications, the majority of American teenagers are neither flooding cyberspace with invitations to predators nor making themselves easy targets for con artists or identity thieves.

Those are the conclusions of the Harris Interactive Youth Query, conducted in December 2006 in collaboration with professors Elizabeth Moore and William Wilkie of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.…

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Designing an analyzer for toxins

By Robert Ball

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Last fall while many people were worrying where the next anthrax or other terrorist attack would occur, Alan C. Seabaugh was busy inventing a countermeasure: a cheap, credit-card size analyzer capable of detecting and measuring chemical and biological toxins.

Seabaugh, Notre Dame professor of electrical engineering, designed a semiconductor chip for the analyzer, which he envisions police, fire and other public health workers using to identify any of the thousands of substances that might be released in a terrorist attack or an industrial accident. The device also would calculate the strength of the toxin and map the boundaries of the danger zone — and do it all for about the cost of a pocket calculator.…

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A fix for Huntington's brain clumps?

By Robert Ball

More than a century after Huntington’s disease was clinically identified, there is still no cure available to those who suffer from the disease’s genetically programmed destruction of their brain cells.

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