National News Roundup
Two-thirds of the principals who responded to a recent survey supported a longer school year, and one-third favored a longer day for teachers, according to the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Nearly one-third of the 479 principals who responded to n.a.e.s.p.'s survey said the school year should be extended by a month, from 175-180 days to 200 days, while nearly 40 percent favored a year-round schedule with vacation time distributed throughout the year.
While 48 percent of the principals would retain the current school day of approximately six hours, 33 percent supported setting aside additional time for teachers to tutor students who need extra help.
The survey, released at the n.a.e.s.p.'s annual convention in San Antonio last week, queried principals on their views on the "ba6sic school" concept advanced by Ernest L. Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
More than half of the respondents supported Mr. Boyer's contention that schools should focus primarily on language and computational development in the early grades. But one-third said early-childhood curricula should be expanded to help children develop emotional and social skills.
More than 90 percent of the respondents also called for a "complete unit of support staff," including such personnel as a nurse, psychologist, social worker, counselor, and bilingual educator.
About 47 percent of the respondents supported the idea of eliminating rigid grade levels in the early grades, but their views on which grades to merge varied.
To gauge student progress, the largest number of respondents favored using a combination of writing samples, student portfolios, and teacher assessments in addition to or instead of traditional tests.
Chevron U.S.A. is donating $1.45 million over three years to the Accelerated Schools Program for at-risk children, the corporation announced last week.
The Accelerated Schools Program, developed by Henry M. Levin, director of Stanford University's Center for Educational Research, is designed to motivate at-risk children by challenging them with an accelerated curriculum as opposed to using a traditional remedial approach. A total of 39 schools in Illinois, Missouri, Salt Lake City, and the San Francisco Bay area now use the curriculum.
The Chevron funding will go to introduce the program to schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, and New Orleans.
Satellite campuses supervised by the Stanford center will be established at San Francisco State University, Los Angeles State University, the University of Houston, and the University of New Orleans to introduce the program to local elementary and middle schools. Each campus will receive $180,000, and the Stanford center will receive $729,000 to supervise the work of the four campuses.