September 25, 1991
WASHINGTON--Although the Congress is still working on the fiscal
1992 spending bill that includes education programs, education
lobbyists and their allies on Capitol Hill are already plotting to
secure more federal dollars in the years ahead.
A finance-equity lawsuit filed by five New Hampshire school
districts is causing ripples of political infighting among state
More than 20 judges in Washington State are spending time teaching
in the public schools this fall as part of a new legal-education
program being tested there.
Hoping to break a deadlock on a bill granting workers unpaid leave
to care for infants or ill family members, three senators last week
offered a compromise plan aimed at either avoiding a Presidential veto
or drawing enough votes to override one.
One of the largest teacher-training institutions in Massachusetts
has received a $10-million federal grant to build a state-of-the-art
research center to investigate ways to better incorporate technology
into science and mathematics teaching.
SAN ANTONIO--When the National Dissemination Study Group gathered
this month to mark the organization's loth anniversary, the primary
topic was not nostalgia but the prospect of radical change.
A new study of dyslexia provides what researchers say is the first
physiological and anatomical evidence that the reading disorder may be
linked to the sense of vision.
White high-school students are more than twice as likely as black
students to smoke, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Tennessee lawmakers can have until dune 30 of next year to devise a
new method for funding education, the state court judge who ruled this
summer that the state's existing school-finance system was
unconstitutional said last week.
Negotiations between the Los Angeles Unified School District and its
employee unions reached an impasse last week as the two sides haggled
over a final budget containing the steepest cutbacks the schools there
have seen in a decade.
Michigan lawmakers last week were poised to pass a bill that would
provide low-wealth school districts with a share of the new tax
revenues produced by economic growth in other parts of the state.
"In teaching as in few other fields," writes Rosetta Marantz Cohen
in her introduction to A Lifetime of Teaching: Portraits of Five
Veteran High School Teachers, "the life makes itself manifest in
ever?/aspect of the work." To understand the careers of devoted and
successful teachers, Ms. Cohen followed five exemplary yet quite
different high-school teachers, profiling each in intimate,
day-in-the-classroom detail. One of the teachers, Carl Brenner, is a
28-year veteran of Alamos Heights High School in San Antonio and the
author of four popular mathematics texts. In his personal and low-key,
yet academically demanding style, Mr. Brenner helps prove a central
thesis of the book: that it is ultimately the teacher, not the method,
that forms the cornerstone of a student's educational experience.
The year was 2081 and everyone was finally equal." Thus begins Kurt
Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron." The story continues: "They
weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which
way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking
than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody
For the first time, more than half of the college-bound seniors
taking the American College Testing Program test had taken a "core"
academic curriculum, officials of the A.c.T. reported last week.
"For all or our differences over ideology, politics, and ethnicity,
most Americans are not as far apart on the dry substance of
multicultural education as many in the current debate imply. Between
the extreme of using our educational system to foster an 'ethnicity
first' identity and the opposite extreme of denying any diversity, is a
wide area of generally accepted common ground and common sense. Most
Americans can understand both the need to recognize and encourage an
enriched diversity as well as the need to ensure that such a broadened
multicultural perspective leads to unity and an enriched sense of what
being an American is, and not to a destructive factionalism that would
tear us apart.
Faced with dismissal, striking teachers in Little Ferry, N.J., returned
to their classrooms last Friday, ending a two-week-old walkout.
WASHINGTON--The House last week approved an emergency
unemployment-compensation bill that could make some nonprofessional
school employees eligible for unemployment payments when school is not
Robert D. Ballard, the director of the Center for Marine Exploration
at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, became world famous when
he discovered the wreck of the R .M.S. Titanic.
Three years after the Annie E. Casey Foundation committed $50
million to an ambitious five-year effort to raise student achievement
and stem dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, and youth unemployment in
five cities, project participants' initial enthusiasm and optimism has
been tempered by a healthy dose of reality.
"We have a school in East St. Louis named for Dr. King," the author
Jonathan Kozol quotes a 14-year-old girl saying toward the beginning of
his new book, Savage Inequalities: Children in Americas Schools. "The
school is full of sewer water and the doors are locked with chains.
Every student in that school is black. It's like a terrible joke on
Children who are truant from school can be sent to jail if they
disobey court orders to return to class, the Colorado Supreme Court has
This spring I watched my 15-year-old son study for his final exams.
In science, as in several of his other courses, studying meant
memorizing lists of hundreds of words and their accompanying
definitions. By the time he took the exam, he was able to spit back
dictionary identifications of terms ranging from saturated carbohydrate
to degrees Kelvin. This exercise reduced science to an interminable
series of facts devoid of context, and struck him--and me--as
pointless. Few of these words held any real meaning for him. He no more
knew the workings of science or its purposes at the end of the process
than he did when he began to "learn" the subject. He would have been as
well served by memorizing strings of nonsense words drawn from Lewis
Carroll or generated by computer failure. And yet he--like most of the
students in his academically oriented suburban high school--is
mastering the words and the courses.
Nearly 600 U.S. cities and more than 45 nations plan to participate
in an international campaign aimed at increasing public awareness of
the goals reached at last year's first World Summit for Children.
To stem the maltreatment of growing numbers of children, an advisory
panel has urged the federal government to develop a national program of
home visits by health workers and aides to help educate and offer
support to new parents.
The Lubbock (Tex.) Independent School District, which has been under
a court-ordered desegregation plan for 21 years, has won its freedom
from court supervision.
Making the largest education database in the world more accessible
is a goal of the The ERIC Review, a new journal published three times a
year with support from the U.S. Education Department.
Even good ratings can't keep a student out of trouble. That's what
the young actor Fred Savage (a.k.a. Kevin Arnold) and the rest of the
cast and crew of the popular television series "The Wonder Years"
discovered when they recently were suspended from filming at a Burbank,
Calif., high school.
Delaware educators are finding this fall that their state's new
block-grant program has given them both a unique opportunity and a
difficult responsibility: deciding on their own how to carry out a 15
percent cut in a key form of state aid.
The stories collected by Pearl Rock Kane in The First Year of
Teaching: Real World Stories from America's Teachers began as
submissions to a contest supported in part by the Geraldine R. Dodge
Foundation. When asked for autobiographical accounts of their first
days in the classroom, nearly 400 teachers nationwide were eager to
comply. The 25 selected give an uplifting, thoughtful, often poignant,
and sometimes humorous overview of the many unplanned-for experiences
that make up the first year on the job. In the chapter excerpted below,
Z. Vance Wilson, now a published author of fiction and non-fiction who
teaches in Wisconsin, describes the lessons he learned as a novice
English teacher in Atlanta:
Education philanthropy in the Southeastern United States lags well
behind other regions of the country, despite the fact that the stubborn
problems associated with schools in the South cry out for the kinds of
innovative answers traditionally funded through private sources, a new
WASHINGTON--While business has posited its involvement in education
largely on the contention that its needs for a capable workforce are
not being met, the corporate community has neglected to communicate
specifically what it needs from the schools, business and education
leaders agreed at a conference here last week.
The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on
Ohio counties have made "great progress" in implementing an unusual
program that offers financial incentives to keep teenage parents who
are on welfare in school, a new study contends.
The National Citizens Commission on African-American Education has
called for an infusion of more than $3 billion in federal funds
annually for education.
effectively barred the Boy Scouts of America from offering
instructional programs in the district's schools.
Missouri teachers' groups have announced that they will file suit to
block Gov. John Ashcroft's proposal to cut $35 million from state
education aid to fund new court-ordered expenditures for desegregation
of the Kansas City schools.
School-based management in Boston has not significantly altered
instruction and has not shifted real authority to the schools,
according to a report released this month.
From the outset of their involvement in Chelsea, Boston University
officials have viewed the project as a potential national model for
urban school reform.
Geraldo Rivera, the talk-show host, has announced he will donate the
profits from his steamy, tell-all autobiography, Exposing Myself, to
help pay for the college educations of a group of disadvantaged New
York City high-school students.
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.