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Weekly news round-up: video games, politics, illegal arrests

As the stock market dips and swings, families at city private schools are considering switching to public schools, threatening to flood already-overcrowded schools. Officials in Riverdale, coping with an unexpected influx, have switched students out of their bursting-at-the-seams zoned schools a month into the semester. In Greenwich Village, another prime neighborhood with overcrowded schools, parents are pushing the city to buy a building from the state to accommodate more students.

The economic downturn has trickled into the budget for the Community Education Councils, and Brooklyn parents worry what else budget cuts will affect in the schools. But it seems that the DOE's central offices just keep growing; despite a hiring freeze, job openings are posted for numerous positions, including Knowledge Management Domain Leader for Leadership & Organizational Management, which comes with a generous $170,000 salary.

Now that the Mayor is pushing for a third term, the debate over mayoral control has become more about Bloomberg and Klein. And at a rally in Queens, one group of parents said no to mayoral control and no to Mayor Bloomberg. At the national level, advocates fret that other issues may have officially relegated education to the back burner in this November's election.

Bad news for girls in the papers this week: girls in cities play sports less and later than boys, and their math talent is less likely to be identified and encouraged than American boys' or foreign girls'. And New York girls trying to buck the trend by attending the all-female Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science have obstacles outside the gender battle: a brand new school building in Brooklyn (shared with three other schools) where construction is dangerously incomplete.

Games are more than child's play, or so it seems from a swath of stories. A computer game that requires solving algebraic equations is in play in 100 city middle schools and a newly-formed institute will study the impact of educational computer games (and develop new ones). A brand- new training center opened in Co-Op city to serve the 3,500 students in the Beat the Streets wrestling program, special needs students in Staten Island practice yoga with their principal, and a petite high school girl in Queens is suiting-up to play in a football game this weekend. Game on.

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