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Published in Print: September 20, 2000, as Members Named to Panel on Senior Year of High School

Members Named to Panel on Senior Year of High School

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A Nobel Prize-winning physicist, state legislators, university chancellors, and the secretary of the U.S. Army are among the 29 panelists named last week to a new national commission taking a critical look at the senior year of high school.

"By the time many high school students reach their senior year, they are ready to check out," Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley told the group here at its first gathering on Sept. 11. "The senior year of high school should really be a more well-structured transition into adulthood.''

Studies suggest that many young people are ill-prepared for that transition. Even though record numbers of high school students are earning diplomas, nearly a third of those who go on to college end up taking remedial courses. Many never finish college.

Employers also complain that the young high school graduates who come to them looking for work are failing basic-skills tests.

The new Commission on the High School Senior Year will spend a year examining the disconnect between K-12 schooling and postsecondary education or the workplace and weighing recommendations for raising the academic achievement of all high school students.

The $1.1 million public-private venture is being financed with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

When he unveiled plans for the commission in June, Mr. Riley named Gov. Paul E. Patton of Kentucky, a fellow Democrat, to head the group. Jacquelyn M. Belcher, the president of Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year college outside Atlanta, took the position of vice chairwoman. ("Riley Announces National Commission on High School," June 21, 2000.

A Diverse Membership

Last week, Mr. Riley added a diverse group of high school educators, superintendents, academics, policymakers, business executives, and one high school student to the panel's ranks.

In addition to Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera, the panelists include: Leon Lederman, the Nobel Prize winner in physics who heads a public residential high school in Illinois for gifted mathematics and science students; Donald M. Stewart, a former president of the College Board and the current president of the Chicago Community Trust foundation; Nancy F. Sizer, a Coalition of Essential Schools educator who has written a forthcoming book on the senior year of high school; Houston Superintendent of Schools Rod Paige; and Peter McWalters, Rhode Island's education commissioner.

The two university chancellors on the commission are Charles Reed of the California State University system and Stephen R. Portch, who oversees Georgia's public colleges and universities.

Other commission members are: former California lawmaker and state Secretary of Education Gary K. Hart; Rex Bolinger, an Angola, Ind., high school principal; Gene Bottoms, the director of the Southern Regional Education Board's high school improvement program; Harry Cook, the English department chairman at Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore; Robert Connor, the director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Joyce Elliott, a Little Rock, Ark., high school teacher; Milton Goldberg, the executive vice president of the National Alliance of Business in Washington; and Betty J. Hines, the principal of Southwestern High School in Detroit.

The list also includes: Stella M. Jones, a school counselor and department chairwoman at North Community High School in Minneapolis; Karen Pittman, the senior vice president with the International Youth Foundation in Baltimore; Delfy Dena Roach, the executive director of Parents of Behaviorally Difficult Children in Albuquerque, N.M.; Dana Larkin, a Jackson, Miss., parent advocate; the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, the president of Notre Dame University; M. Susana Navarro, the founder of a community group helping to improve the El Paso, Texas, schools; and Eduardo J. Patron, the president of Miami-Dade Community College.

The two state legislators on the list are Rep. Sue W. Scholer, an Indiana Republican, and Sen. Andy Womack, a Democrat from Tennessee.

Other panelists are: Beth Buehlman, the executive director of the Center for Workforce Preparation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington; Mary Frances Taymans, the associate executive director of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington; Mary Thornley, the president of Trident Technical College in Charleston, S.C.; and Jeremy Solly, a Milwaukie, Ore., high school senior.

Vol. 20, Issue 3, Page 12

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