Published Online: January 8, 2003
Published in Print: January 8, 2003, as Retrospective



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20 years ago . . . Jan. 12, 1983

  • A new U.S. Department of Education report paints a gloomy picture of states' prospects for adequately financing schools through the rest of the decade. It says that 19 states, mostly in the Southeast and in northern New England, have low taxing capacity and low per-pupil spending. And demographers predict those states will see large enrollment increases after 1985.
  • Although most teachers are interested in learning about computers and using them in class, just 6.2 percent of them currently do so, according to a survey conducted by the National Education Association. Only 3.8 percent of the teachers responding said they know "how to operate a computer."
  • Eschewing the traditional Capitol ceremony in St. Paul, Minnesota's new governor, Rudy Perpich, chooses to be sworn in at school. Mr. Perpich elected to hold his inauguration in the auditorium of Hibbing High School, where he was a student 40 years before.

10 years ago . . . Jan. 13, 1993

  • President-elect Bill Clinton picks Richard W. Riley, a former governor of South Carolina, to be his secretary of education. Reaction from the education community is overwhelmingly positive. Mr. Riley, South Carolina's leader from 1979 to 1987, was among the first governors to take up the cause of education reform.
  • Massachusetts education leaders are leading a growing push to end "ability grouping," the assignment of students to classrooms based on their academic capabilities. Massachusetts officials, while they cannot forbid districts to use such groupings, are trying to discourage the practice by withholding state aid.
  • By 2003, enrollment in public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide will reach 54.2 million, a 15 percent increase, according to new projections from the National Center for Education Statistics. The increase would continue a trend begun in 1984 that reversed a seven-year slide. Enrollment in 1991, the most recent year available, stood at 47 million.

Vol. 22, Issue 16, Page 6

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