School-reform efforts have done little to meet the educational needs created by changes in the nation's demographic makeup, according to a new study by the Institute for Educational Leadership's Center for Demographic Policy.
Unless schools and social-service agencies work together to serve the increasing number of children growing up in poverty and in broken homes, the study warns, the school system will not be able to produce enough workers to sustain the nation's economy.
Despite reforms, the study states, high-school graduation rates have not increased; the incidence of poverty among the young has not been reduced; standardized test scores for the lowest academic tier have not gone up; and resources that could help students attain newly raised standards have not been boosted. Moreover, Hispanic students are now more segregated in city schools than are black ones, notes Harold L. Hodgkinson, the center's director.
Copies of the study, "The Same Client: The Demographics of Education and Service Delivery System," are available for $12 each from the Publications Department, the Institute for Educational Leadership, 1001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 310, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Attacks on the religious neutrality of the public schools were among the most common church-state conflicts during the past year, according to an informal survey by Americans United forSeparation of Church and State.
The report by the watchdog organization cites 30 such incidents in 21 states, including disputes over state-sponsored school prayer, prayer at commencements and football games, the distribution of Bibles in schools, and school celebrations of religious holidays.
The report, "Church-State Separation in Crisis: A Report from the States," also lists incidents in three other categories: public funding of religious organizations, such as calls for tuition tax-credits for private religious schools; state endorsement of religion, including the display of religious holiday symbols on public property; and threats to the free exercise of religion, such as attempts to tax church ministries.
The report is available free of charge from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 8120 Fenton St., Silver Spring, Md. 20910.