Chicago’s public-school system has given a brand-new car to a 12-year-old girl as a reward for her perfect school attendance record. Ashley Martinez cannot legally drive the $15,000 Dodge Caliber for another four years, and critics question whether such lavish gifts send the wrong message to students, as if learning and achievement weren’t rewards in themselves. But Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools chief, this week defended Martinez’s lavish prize as a vital weapon in the fight against truancy. “We’re never going to apologize for that,” she said.
A Colorado group is pushing for an exception to marijuana laws that would enable airline passengers to get high before boarding. Members of SAFER—Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation—successfully lobbied to decriminalize marijuana possession in Denver, and now they want travelers to be permitted to toke up in the smoking lounge of Denver International Airport. Mason Tavert, SAFER’s executive director, cites the recent spate of alcohol-fueled air-rage incidents, and argues that pot would help passengers relax. “This madness has got to stop,” Tavert said. “And we’re providing a very viable solution.”