September 18, 1991

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Vol. 11, Issue 03
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INDIANAPOLIS--In a sparkling office building in the heart of Indianapolis, the business group Community Leaders Allied for Superior Schools works for educational improvement from within the city's public schools.
American teenagers graduate from high school seriously deficient in the consumer knowledge they need to thrive financially, a study released last week concludes.
About 40 percent of the nation's large counties face budget deficits this year as the gulf between sagging federal aid and a rising demand for services continues to put local officials in a bind.
A top Education Department official last week fffirmed that the Administration does not seek to turn the National Assessment of Educational Progress into its proposed American Achievement Tests.
Tuberculosis, once a feared and deadly disease in this country, is again on the upswing, and school officials in several districts are expanding efforts to prevent the highly contagious illness from gaining access to the classroom.
Legislative Action
To the Editor:
The nation's largest state may be headed toward a bitter and divisive clash over school choice in the form of a ballot initiative spearheaded by a leading California businessman.
WASHINGTON--The Education Department and the National Science Foundation should be the lead agencies in a new federal effort to spur local innovation in mathematics- and science-education reform, a new report by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government asserts.
A state judge in Pennsylvania has given school districts a partial reprieve from new rules requiring them to provide school-tax rebates to local taxpayers.
Twenty-nine girls have applied for places at Detroit's three special African-centered academies, which were originally designed for boys only.
Encouraging creativity in children is the goal of SPARK a magazine for 4- to 12-year-olds that premieres this month.
A majority of public school districts in Minnesota offer an unequal number of athletic opportunities to beys and girls, according to a report prepared by the state department of education.
Louisiana teachers thought they had been granted a reprieve this summer when the legislature suspended the state's controversial program of teacher evaluations.
New York City Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez has announced plans to institute a mandatory youth-service program in three city schools.
A series of public remarks and opinion columns by the president of the American Federation of Teachers has helped reignite a long-running debate about the relative merits of public and private schools in fostering academic achievement.
What supporters describe as a bold new federal initiative to provide health insurance to low-income children is just a slice of razorback pork, in the eyes of the federal officials who are going to have to provide the money for the program.
It all began when a Washington State businessman asked the renowned "wrap artist" Christo Javacheff for a small donation for the local schools.
Teachers' strikes are running 36 percent ahead of last year--a sign, educators and others say, that labor relations may be deteriorating as a result of the prolonged economic recession.
Schools in Chelsea, Mass., were expected to open this week, after the state legislature approved a bill putting the financially devastated city into receivership.
Nancy S. Grasmick, who this month was named Maryland's Superintendent of Schools, is the only state school chief to simultaneously hold another cabinet-level position: special secretary of the Office for Children, Youth, and Families.
Sixteen-year-old Warner Days and his mentor, Victor Deane Jr., may shoot hoops or gobble cheese steaks together, but neither activity is what the 10th grader considers their most important. That would be studying.
The Chicago Board of Education, after completing a tumultuous round of budget cuts that threatened to delay the opening of the city's schools, has begun negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union to forgo the 7 percent raises teachers were to receive this year.
The Dallas school board last week approved a plan to rehire all but 40 of the 257 teachers whose dismissal had sparked a series of demonstrations by disgruntled students.
WASHINGTON--Many art-supply manufacturers have failed to warn consumers of the toxicity of their products, flouting federal law and possibly endangering schoolchildren, according to a new study.
WASHINGTON--The National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality last week launched an initiative to encourage the spread of home-visiting programs for pregnant teenagers and other women at risk of delivering low-birthweight babies.
WASHINGTON--The 1984 federal law that required all states to raise the minimum age for the purchase and public possession of alcohol to 21 is "largely a myth," Surgeon General Antonia C. Novello said last week.
OAKLAND, CALIF--To some, they are the glue that holds many innercity families together.
The American School of Kuwait reopened this month with hopes for a return to normalcy after the ravages of the Iraqi occupation and Persian Gulf war.
The percentage of students enrolled in physical-education courses has dropped dramatically in the past five years, and even students enrolled in such courses may not be getting sufficient exercise, according to a new report by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
WASHINGTON--Public schools in the United States are becoming increasingly racially diverse, according to a new study, and the trend shows no signs of diminishing.
WASHINGTON--The Environmental Protection Agency is warning 1,300 school districts nationwide that they could be found in violation of the federal asbestos law because the national asbestos-consulting firm they hired may have performed substandard work.
The Cincinnati public schools should create a pilot "mini-district," separate from the rest of the school system, to drive education reform, according to a report by members of the city's business community.
The Philip Morris Companies this month gave a $500,000 grant to the University of Tennessee to completely restructure its college of education and to help other universities improve the way they train teachers.
The New Jersey education department has announced plans to administer the school-improvement model developed by the child psychiatrist James P. Comer of Yale University in dozens of urban schools throughout the state.
In the wake of a budget-slashing legislative session that left most of North Carolina's school-reform projects either unfunded or on the drawing beards, the state's experiment with differentiated-pay plans for teachers also has been significantly weakened.
A Massachusetts college-tuition savings program, signed into law more than two years ago, is not yet operational because the state agency responsible for the program has been unable to raise $450,000 in start-up costs from the private secter.
WASHINGTON--The Senate last week approved a $204-billion social service spending bill for fiscal 1992 that includes $30.6 billion for Education Department programs.
WASHINGTON--Clarence Thomas, appearing last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, suggested he is a proponent of church-state separation, but he left unclear how he would apply the principle to specific education issues.
WASHINGTON--The Democratic chairmen of the House education committee and its K-12 subcommittee have joined with the full committee's senior Republican in sponsoring legislation to rival President Bush's America 2000 school-reform proposal.
WASHINGTON--The Agriculture Department has set a 1994 deadline by which all school food-service personnel will be trained in methods to improve the nutritional quality of school meals, Secretary of Agriculture Edward R. Madigan announced last week.
A Georgia school district challenging the Education Department's authority to investigate certain special-education complaints as civil-rights violations cannot press its case in court until the agency has taken action on such a complaint, a federal appellate court has ruled.
WASHINGTON--President Bush said last week that he would favor changing civil-rights law if that were necessary to permit special schools for black males.
In any endeavor, the clear definition of the end-product is extremely important to the productivity of the enterprise. Schooling is no exception. In order for schools to teach and students to learn more in less time, a clear-cut curriculum is essential.
My son came home from school in tears today. It wasn't because a classmate tried to pick a fight or because he had been forgotten in a holiday gift exchange. He cried because his grades weren't good enough for the honor roll. Most 7th graders are delighted with 3 Bs, 1 B +, and 2 As, but not Josh he wanted to make the honor roll.
In an earlier Commentary (" 'Backlash' Threatens Special Education," Aug. 1, 1990), I predicted a possible crisis in special education that would be the result of expanding entitlements and rising costs. A wide spectrum of educators and parents wrote to me after the article appeared, expressing general agreement with my analysis. Many, however, asked the difficult question, "Do you have any solutions?"
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Annenberg Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Spencer Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations.

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