Published Online: January 15, 2003
Published in Print: January 15, 2003, as Retrospective

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20 years ago . . . JAN. 19, 1983

  • A growing number of states, responding to widespread charges of teacher incompetence, are requiring teachers and potential teachers to pass tests of basic skills to get a license. But the states' experience with such tests so far—mainly in the South— suggest that the tests' main effect may be to reduce significantly the number of minority teachers.
  • A federal district judge in Chicago approves a desegregation plan for that city's school system that will not require busing. The plan is expected to leave about 350 of the city's 597 schools with predominantly minority enrollments.
  • Just a month after New Jersey's "moment of silence" law went into effect, a federal district judge orders the state's schools to cease beginning each day with a mandatory quiet minute. A number of states have laws providing for such morning rituals, some explicitly allowing prayer, most of them under legal challenge.

10 years ago ... JAN. 20, 1993

  • As the 103rd Congress convenes and Bill Clinton becomes the 42nd president, observers see potential for a watershed session on education issues. Broad legislation on precollegiate education and education research is due for reauthorization, and many predict the new versions of the law will increase significantly the federal role in education.
  • A federally financed study contends that high-stakes tests have unintended, negative consequences. It says some schools, to elevate their schoolwide performance on such tests, are retaining low-achieving students in grade to delay their exposure to the tests or are putting them in special education programs.
  • Los Angeles school leaders won't fight a decision by the state board of education barring the district from shaving eight days from the end of the school year. The district had devised the early closing both to save money and to allow teachers to qualify for additional unemployment benefits.

Vol. 22, Issue 18, Page 6

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