Execution Scheduled for Tonight
Unless the Virginia governor or the courts intervene, a handyman who beat and stabbed to death an 87-year-old Christiansburg woman will be executed tonight. James E. Reid, 58, is scheduled to die by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Using a can of condensed milk and a pair of scissors, a drunken Reid murdered Annie Lester in her home Oct. 12, 1996. She was stabbed 22 times and struck in the head with the can.
Reid was convicted in 1997 of capital murder, attempted rape and attempted robbery. He won a stay of execution in December after he contended that the way Virginia conducts lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. But in August, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the stay. Last week, a federal judge denied Reid's attempt to delay the execution.
120 Fairfax Students to Transfer
Nearly 120 Fairfax County elementary school students have chosen to transfer to new schools because their neighborhood schools failed to meet the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind law, school officials said.
A school spokesman said 95 students have decided to transfer out of McNair Elementary School in Herndon, and 24 children have left Dogwood Elementary School in Reston. Those students will go to one of four so-called receiving schools.
Dogwood and McNair failed to meet the federal standard this year because students in one subgroup -- economically disadvantaged children -- did not perform well enough on a standardized English test.
Va. Schools Beat 'Teachability' Index
Academic achievement is better in Virginia's public schools and worse in the District's schools than would be predicted by the "teachability" of their students, according to a report by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Achievement in Maryland, the report said, was exactly as predicted by teachability -- a measure of students' poverty, health, family problems and other factors developed by researchers Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster.
School performance was 109 percent of teachability in Virginia and 64 percent of teachability in the District, the report said. On that basis, Virginia placed sixth nationally, Maryland 31st and the District last.
Gerald W. Bracey of George Mason University challenged the validity of the study, saying it failed to account for asthma, violence in schools and other factors that make it harder for children to learn.
Office to Handle Gay, Transgender Issues
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed an order yesterday creating a Cabinet-level Mayor's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. The office will be headed by Wanda R. Alston, special assistant to the mayor since 2002 on issues involving the homosexual and transgender community.
The new office was proposed in 2001 by Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is gay. It will be similar to offices in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Williams (D) said in a statement.