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Remembering 1993: The Year in Education

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January

A report by the National Association of Secondary School Principals calls for an overhaul of the training of education administrators. Soon after, the National Policy Board for Educational Administration issues a comprehensive program for the development of principals.

In the face of heated opposition from conservative groups and some parents, the Pennsylvania state board of education adopts a set of "learner outcomes'' expected of all students. Pressure from political leaders later forces the board to drop some of the more controversial outcomes.

The Senate confirms Richard W. Riley as President Clinton's Secretary of Education, but uncertainties persist over whether education policy will be set in the Education Department or the White House.

A Missouri judge declares the state's school-finance system unconstitutional, ruling that it is "overly complex'' and frequently "irrational.''

Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. of Connecticut calls for an unprecedented statewide attempt to alleviate racial segregation in the schools.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig of California is convicted on four felony conflict-of-interest charges, ending the decade-long career of the nation's most powerful and prominent state education chief.

February

A group of state and education policymakers drafts model standards identifying the "common core'' of knowledge and skills new teachers should have.

Angered by controversies over such issues as sex education and condom distribution in schools, the New York City school board ousts Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez.

A district judge in North Dakota rules that the state's school-finance system is unconstitutional and must undergo a "comprehensive overhaul.''

A U.S. Education Department report joins a growing chorus of outside experts in urging major changes in the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program for the disadvantaged.

While the expansion of before- and after-school programs has increased working parents' access to quality care for their children, a new study says, the programs' potential has been hindered by problems with money, space, staff, and curricula.

March

American College Testing unveils an educational-planning and assessment system designed to help educators monitor secondary school students' progress and students gauge their own strengths and weaknesses.

The first detailed statistical analysis of how school districts spend their money finds evidence of wide disparities in spending on individual schools within districts.

The Environmental Protection Agency warns that 20 percent of the nation's public schools have at least one classroom contaminated with harmful levels of radon.

The Kalkaska, Mich., school district draws national attention to school-finance problems by voting to close 45 days early because of a lack of funds.

April

President Clinton submits a fiscal 1994 budget proposal calling for a 5.6 percent increase for discretionary Education Department programs.

An Alabama judge declares the state school-finance system unconstitutional, faulting it both for being inadequate overall and for allowing funding gaps between affluent and poor districts.

After weeks of negotiations, the Clinton Administration releases an education-reÄÄform bill that seeks to satisfy demands for stronger measures to increase equity among schools without imposing burdenÄÄsome new federal mandates.

An ongoing study of the influential Perry Preschool project finds dramatic gains for participating poor children in later life.

President Clinton releases his long-awaited proposal for a national-service program, which Congress subsequently approves in a scaled-down form.

Ending a long legal dispute, a Massachusetts judge approves a major reorganization of the Boston school system's special-education programs.

May

Texas voters soundly reject a legislative plan that seeks to comply with a judicial school-finance-equity mandate by allowing the regional sharing of local property taxes.

A House panel approves the Clinton Administration's plan to replace student-loan programs with a system of direct federal loans to students; a phased-in version of the proposal eventually becomes law.

Agreeing that the school system has a duty to protect teachers from crimes in schools, a New York City jury awards $5.21 million to a teacher permanently disabled in a school assault.

After months of uncertainty, President Clinton endorses the New American Schools Development Corporation, a initiative started during the Bush Administration to fund innovative schools.

A Senate panel approves a Clinton Administration proposal to create a national board to stimulate the development of occupational-skills standards.

On the eve of a judicial deadline that could have led to a statewide school shutdown, the Texas legislature approves a bill to reduce funding disparities by effectively transferring property wealth from rich to poor districts.

June

A survey finds that four out of five students in grades 8-11 say they have been sexually harassed in school.

Despite backing from many of the state's business and political establishments, a Michigan tax-reform referendum aimed at lowering schools' reliance on local property taxes is rejected by the voters.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules that schools must give religious groups the same access to facilities given to other community organizations.

The Massachusetts legislature approves a comprehensive reform bill that seeks to relieve school districts' endemic fiscal problems while also making radical changes in the way schools operate. A week later, the state supreme court declares the previous finance system unconstitutional.

In the biggest gift ever to an independent school, the philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg donates $100 million to his alma mater, the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.

July

The annual meeting of the National Education Association votes to open merger talks with the American Federation of Teachers, bringing the two teachers' unions closer to unification than ever before.

Increased public involvement in running the Chicago schools has led to substantial improvements in the classroom, a new study contends.

The Michigan legislature sets the stage for a comprehensive overhaul of the state's education and tax systems by voting to scrap property-tax funding for the schools.

August

In a move seen by critics as part of a campaign to legitimize the teaching of creationism, the Vista, Calif., school board votes to require schools to present evidence challenging evolution and other scientific theories.

For the second consecutive year, results of the S.A.T. show students performing better than the year before in both the verbal and mathematics sections of the test.

Scaling back their ambitious plan for a national chain of private, for-profit schools, organizers of the Edison Project announce that they will focus initially on managing public schools.

A New Jersey judge strikes down a school-finance revision, which had been approved by the legislature, for failing to close the funding gap between poor and wealthy districts.

September

Chaos marks the beginning of the school year in two of the nation's largest districts; classes are canceled in New York City by a fiasco over inspection of schools for asbestos, and a budget crisis shuts down the Chicago schools.

The "reinventing government'' task force headed by Vice President Gore calls for elimination of a sixth of all Education Department programs.

National Assessment of Educational Progress results show that more than two-thirds of the nation's 4th-, 8th-, and 12th-grade students are not proficient readers.

The Clinton Administration's draft reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act proposes major changes in the funding, operation, and assessment of the Chapter 1 program.

President Clinton presents a health-care-reform proposal that includes an expanded network of school clinics to serve young people.

Phi Delta Kappa International and the Gallup organization release a poll showing that three-quarters of the public opposes sending children to private schools at public expense.

October

Gov. John Engler of Michigan proposes a radical solution to the state's self-imposed school-finance crisis under which the state would provide grants to students to use to attend any public school.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science issues its long-awaited framework for science curricula capable of producing "scientifically literate'' high school graduates.

A U.S. Agriculture Department report finds that federally subsidized school lunches are high in fat and salt.

A report by the TomÀas Rivera Center says the number of Latino teachers must be increased significantly if the nation's rapidly growing Hispanic population is to be well educated.

November

In a resounding defeat for school-choice advocates, California voters reject a ballot initiative calling for a statewide system of public and private school vouchers.

The Minneapolis school board selects a private, for-profit consulting firm to assume the duties of superintendent for the district.

A report on Vermont's pioneering portfolio-based assessment program finds that serious problems remain in the way students are assessed in writing.

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court makes it easier for parents of children with disabilities to win public reimbursement for the costs of private schooling.

Illinois lawmakers avert the threat of a shutdown that had lingered over the Chicago schools for weeks by approving a measure to eliminate the district's budget deficit.

December

Citing an "American imperative,'' a higher-education panel calls on colleges and universities to undertake a process of restructuring much like the K-12 education-reform movement.

A report by a federal advisory committee finds scant evidence that the money the federal government spends on mathematics and science education is leading to improvements in instruction and learning.

The teachers' union in Baltimore files suit against a privatization experiment in which a for-profit firm manages nearly a dozen of the city's public schools.

At a White House ceremony, the philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg announces that he will donate $500 million to public elementary and secondary education.

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