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questionable text according to the "Fair Use" legal findings afforded to
those who report. - Fredric L. Rice, The Skeptic Tank, 09/Sep/95
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Subject: Big Suprise
Date: 8 Jul 1995 00:10:41 +0200
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Bored student gets 'geometry' defined and world opens up
Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
Tuesday July 4, 1995
By David Waters
Damien Scott used to sit in geometry class and wonder about the
shortest distance between two points: his desk and the door. Then
someone helped him approach the class from a different angle.
A tutor at the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational and Cultural
Center started with the word. He helped Damien look up "geometry"
in the dictionary.
"It was a Greek word," said Damien, 16, whose geometry grades have
improved. "'Geo' meant the Earth, and 'metric' meant the
measurement of something. So it was the measurement of the Earth.
That made a lot more sense than just something about math."
Words are the foundation of the Memphis Literacy Project, which
Damien participated in last year at the MLK Center. The program was
brought to Memphis last year by Isaac Hayes, the award-winning
entertainer and North Memphis native. Hayes performed at Monday
night's Star Spangled Celebration and plans to donate a portion of
the proceeds to the local program.
"It's gonna blow people's minds," Hayes said of the program's
effectiveness. It makes you feel life is worth it." Hayes is a
spokesman for the World Literacy Project, launched in May 1992
following the Los Angeles riots.
The project uses L. Ron Hubbard's Study Technology, a teaching and
tutoring method that promotes learning and study skills as well as
literacy. There are 25 similar programs across the country. Hubbard
was the founder of Scientology, but the literacy project's founder
- a Baptist minister - said he's found nothing objectionable in the
"I know it works," said R. Alfreddie Johnson of Compton, Calif.
"We've used it to help gang members, dyslexics, kids who were
diagnosed as attention deficit and regular kids."
Johnson said literacy isn't just about learning to read and write.
Students who are bored, restless or disruptive often know how to
read. "But if they don't understand the meaning of a word," he
said, "or don't know or care how to apply what they're learning to
the real world, they're gonna get bored or get mad."
Hayes said he hopes to expand the program to North Memphis and
other local sites as soon as funding is available. "I was lucky,"
said Hayes, who dropped out of school at 14 but returned with the
help of several teachers.
"Deep down I wanted to be in school. But a lot of kids quit because
they don't understand. Kids withdraw when they don't understand. If
you see no future, you behave irrationally. Education gives you a