Following is a guide to recent reports in education and related fields and information on how to order copies.
The majority of the nation's middle and high school students give their schools a B grade and are generally satisfied with their teachers, according to a new survey. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. researchers polled 2,524 students in grades 7-12 about the quality of their schools' resources, the structure of the class day, and classroom use of computers, among other topics. The report, Students Voice Their Opinions On: Their Education, Teachers, and Schools--Part II, is available free of charge from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., The American Teacher Survey, P.O. Box 807, Madison Square Station, New York, NY 10159.
Parental involvement and the time spent on reading in school are leading factors influencing the literacy of U.S. students, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Education. The study found that students from one-parent, mother-only families seem to do just as well as students from two-parent families. The educational attainment of mothers and fathers plays a key role. The report also challenges the assertion that American students lag behind their peers in other countries when it comes to reading. It points out that students in the United States scored second only to those in Finland in a recent study of reading comprehension in 32 countries. Reading Literacy in the United States is available free of charge from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC 20402-9328; (800) 424-1616. Ask for publication #NCES 96-258.
The Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based think tank, has released a report chronicling what it calls the failure of bilingual education. The report, based on a conference on bilingual education that the center held in Washington last September, includes articles by researchers, sociologists, and parents. It includes an index of statistics on limited-English-proficient students, including state and local expenditures on programs designed to serve them. To order a copy of The Failure of Bilingual Education, send $5 for shipping to the Center for Equal Opportunity, 815 15th St. N.W., Suite 928, Washington, DC 20005.
Standards and School Reform.
The Education Leaders Council, an affiliate of the nonprofit Center for Education Reform in Washington, D.C., has published a guide to creating effective academic standards. The 137-page report lists resources and model standards and describes standards-setting efforts in the states. To order The Standards Primer: A Resource for Accelerating the Pace of Reform, send $9.95 plus $3 shipping and handling to the Education Leaders Council, 1001 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 204, Washington, DC 20036; (800) 521-2118.
The U.S. Department of Education's first report to Congress on the Goals 2000: Educate America Act is now available. The 34-page document includes a brief history of the 1994 law, a description of how states and school districts are using their Goals 2000 money, a look at how the program is helping reshape the department's technical-assistance effort, and a state-by-state chart of allocations. To order a free copy of Goals 2000: Increasing Student Initiative Through State and Local Initiatives, contact the Education Department at (800) USA-LEARN. The report is also on the World Wide Web at http://www.ed.gov/G2K/GoalsRpt.
Forty-five states have statewide systems for assessing students' academic learning, and the subjects most frequently tested are reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, according to a survey conducted by the National Education Goals Panel. The Washington, D.C.-based panel collected information from states in order to produce a profile of state assessment systems and the results generated by those tests. The report covers data from the 1994-95 school year. Copies of Profile of 1994-95 State Assessment Systems and Reported Results are available for free from the National Education Goals Panel, 1255 22nd St. N.W., Suite 502, Washington, DC 20037; (202) 632-0952; fax (202) 632-0957.
Cities and Their Schools.
In Huntsville, Ala., Mayor Steven Hettinger sets aside one day each year to teach in the local schools. In Topeka, Kan., the city government runs education-related programs, such as a "second chance" school for expelled students. And in Santa Barbara, Calif., municipal officials have led a crackdown on truancy and devised a 15-week curriculum that seeks to keep children out of gangs. These and many other examples of city governments' involvement in public schools are described in a 70-page report prepared by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Copies of Best Practices of City Governments: Focus on the Mayor's Role in Education are available for $15 each from the Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1620 I St. N.W., Washington, DC 20006; (202) 293-7330; fax (202) 293-2352.