September 18, 1991
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
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.
American teenagers graduate from high school seriously deficient in
the consumer knowledge they need to thrive financially, a study
released last week concludes.
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.
OAKLAND, CALIF--To some, they are the glue that holds many innercity
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.
My son came home from school in tears today. It wasn't because a
classmate tried te 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 te make the honor roll.
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
WASHINGTON--The Senate last week approved a $204-billion
socialservice spending bill for fiscal 1992 that includes $30.6 billion
for Education Department programs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
WASHINGTON The/984 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 Antenia C. Novello said last
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.
A state judge in Pennsylvania has given school districts a partial
reprieve from new rules requiring them to provide school-tax rebates to
Twenty-nine girls have applied for places at Detroit's three special
African-centered academies, which were originally designed for boys
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 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.
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.
Encouraging creativity in children is the goal of SPARK a magazine
for 4- to 12-year-olds that premieres this month.
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.
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.
Schools in Chelsea, Mass., were expected to open this week, after
the state legislature approved a bill putting the financially
devastated city into receivership.
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
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.
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?"
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.
New York City Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez has announced
plans to institute a mandatory youth-service program in three city
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.
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
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.