Where it pays to learn
Welcome to Kentucky. Land of fast horses, bluegrass, Derby pie, and now, the state where a good education pays.
Gov. Paul E. Patton unveiled a new "Education Pays" emblem last month as a means of highlighting the value--economic and otherwise--of education in his state. It features a proud graduate holding his diploma overhead above the slogan. The promotional device will appear on billboards, bumper stickers, state government letterheads, maps, and other official publications. Local businesses will also use the new logo.
"We're going to plaster it everywhere we can plaster it," the Democratic governor told The Courier-Journal newspaper. "We've done all we know to do to improve schools and colleges in this state, but the one thing you can't do by fiat is get people involved."
Californians now can turn to the Internet to learn more about their schools or air their education gripes.
A new privately launched World Wide Web site--up and running July 2--lets California parents compare their children's schools in a variety of ways. The site offers the ratio of credentialed teachers in a school, their average classroom experience, and the socioeconomic profile of almost any public school in the state. The data include high school SAT scores, recently released scores from the statewide basic skills test, and the rate at which limited-English-proficient students make the transition to fluency in the language.
"We have pledged to be an advocate of parents and students as the customers of schools," said Steve Reese, the editor and publisher of School Wise Press, the San Francisco-based publishing firm that runs the site.
For $6 apiece, parents can order four-page school profiles from School Wise Press, which collects its data from the California Department of Education.
Elsewhere in California, state Rep. Don Perata, a Democrat and former teacher, has started a site that allows his constituents to register their complaints about schools in his district, which includes the 53,000-student Oakland city schools.
Mr. Perata writes in an on-line letter of introduction that he created OaklandSchools.com to "facilitate dialogue from the public about problems in our schools."
--KERRY A. WHITE & ROBERT C. JOHNSTON
Vol. 17, Issue 43, Page 21