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School Spending Rises 6.8 Percent To Record $353 Billion for 1989-90

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Spending on education during the 1989-90 school year will rise by 6.8 percent to a record $353 billion, the U.S. Department of Education predicts in its annual back-to-school forecast.

Higher education will get the largest percentage increase, with outlays predicted to be $141 billion, a 7.2 percent increase over last year.

Spending on elementary and secondary education, public and private, will reach $212 billion, a 6.6 percent increase over 1988-89.

Adjusted for inflation, this year's total expenditure for precollegiate education represents a 29 percent increase since 1980-81, according to the department.

The report also predicts that:

Per-pupil expenditures in public elementary and secondary schools will reach a record $5,246, $308 per student more than last year.

The average salary of public K-12 teachers will rise to $31,200, up 5.5 percent over last year's average of $29,567.

Total elementary enrollment will climb 1.5 percent over last year, from 32.4 million to 32.9 million.

Total secondary enrollment will drop 2.6 percent, from 13 million to 12.7 million.

Catholic school pupils score higher in reading proficiency than do public 6school pupils, according to a recent analysis by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The study, conducted by two University of Michigan researchers for the National Catholic Educational Association, measured the average reading ability of nearly 2,000 Catholic students in grades 3, 7, and 11. The Catholic school students scored 5.8 percent to 9.9 percent better than the public school students.

The study also found that minority students in Catholic schools are more proficient in reading than similar students in public schools. And, unlike public schools, lack of early educational experiences makes little difference in the reading proficiency of minority students in Catholic schools, the report said.

The researchers, Helen M. Marks and Valerie E. Lee, said they cannot explain why attendance in Catholic schools appears to minimize the disadvantages of many of their students, although they suggest it may be a result of Catholic schools' heavy emphasis on academics.


Leaders of the nation's largest urban school districts have agreed to push for "fair treatment and accurate representation" of women and minorities in American-history textbooks.

Meeting in July in Norfolk, Va., the executive committee of the Council of the Great City Schools approved a resolution urging local school boards to adopt criteria for selecting textbooks that will ensure that they are "race and gender fair."

Milton Bins, the council's deputy director, said the resolution was not aimed at "threatening" textbook publishers. But, noting that the council's 46 member districts represent a large segment of the textbook market, Mr. Bins said they could exert a strong influence on publishers if local boards adopt the council's recommendations.

The committee endorsed a report stating that "the longstanding practice of presenting narrowly selected, inaccurate accounts of America's past and present, of underrepresenting, stereotyping, omitting, and misrepresenting the contributions and roles of American Indians and Alaskan Natives, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, women, and other groups, is no longer acceptable.''

A majority of American parents oppose the practice of corporal punishment in schools, according to a new nationwide poll by Louis Harris & Associates.

The Harris survey, reported at a national meeting of the American Psychological Association last month, showed that 53 percent of the 1,250 parents surveyed said teachers should not physically punish children.

The poll also revealed that parents are less likely today to spank their children at home than in the past. About 86 percent of those surveyed said they approve of physical discipline in the home, compared with rates of 90 percent to 95 percent in past surveys.

The findings contrast with those of a Gallup poll earlier this year, in which 56 percent of teachers supported corporal punishment.

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