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Published in Print: February 1, 2000, as News In Brief

News In Brief

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Book Her

A Wisconsin elementary school librarian who punished a 2nd grader by making him help in the library during recess for 17 days broke state child-labor laws, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development recently ruled. Annette Eismann, librarian at Maywood Elementary in Monona, intended the work to teach the student about responsibility after he returned library materials that were damaged beyond repair. State officials are drafting a rule change that will allow schools to assign students to work-related activities as punishment.

Outta Here

Teachers are leaving the profession. We've heard this before. But who are they, and why are they going? Our sister publication, Education Week, recently analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education's Baccalaureate and Beyond, the first major federal study to track college graduates entering the workplace. The feds surveyed 10,080 students who earned bachelor's degrees in 1992 and 1993 and followed up with them a year later and again in 1996 and 1997. Among Education Week's findings about those students who went on to teach:

  • One out of five novice teachers left the profession after three years.
  • New teachers who scored in the top quartile on the SAT or ACT were twice as likely to leave.
  • Beginning teachers who did not participate in an induction program were twice as likely to leave.
  • New teachers dissatisfied with student discipline and the school environment were twice as likely to leave.

TV For Teachers

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Annenberg Foundation are expanding the offerings of the Annenberg/CPB Channel, their four-year-old TV channel devoted to teachers' professional development. The free channel began broadcasting 24 hours a day last month and has added segments for humanities teachers to its lineup of science and math programs. In addition to technique workshops and series about academic subjects, the channel will offer policy reports to broaden teachers' understanding of education. "We want to become the teachers' channel," says Annenberg/CPB Project Director Scott Roberts.

Canceled Checks

Six classroom teachers and a principal at Gulf Gate Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, have protested Governor Jeb Bush's new school accountability program by returning the $500 bonus checks the program awarded each of them. The statewide program, called A-Plus for Education, grades schools according to how well students perform on state tests, then presents cash rewards to staff at high-ranking schools. The protesting teachers say the system is discouraging to educators working with disadvantaged children whose learning is impeded by socio-economic factors.

The (L.)A.-Team

After years of mismanaged school construction, Los Angeles has called in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers, known for its work building dams and constructing the Washington Monument, will oversee the design and construction of at least 150 schools, plus conversions and repairs at some 50 existing ones. With 710,000 students, Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest school district; it's also among the fastest growing.

Gonzo Gardening

Officials at Union Pines High School in Carthage, North Carolina, recently discovered more than 100 marijuana plants in the school greenhouse. Four students planted the seeds in late November, growing the illegal plants over Thanksgiving break. After other students tipped off authorities, the school suspended the offenders for one year, and police hit them with criminal charges.

Driving Force

Many Connecticut districts are staggering their school start times to make up for a shortage of bus drivers. Due to low unemployment, most have 10 percent fewer drivers than needed, says Robin Leeds, director of the Connecticut School Transportation Association. Nationwide, schools need about 85,000 more bus drivers, according to the National Association of Pupil Transportation.

Separation Anxiety

In its first report to focus on school discrimination in 22 years, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says that separating students by academic ability increases the potential for discrimination against minority pupils. The commission cites recent data indicating that minority students are over-represented in lower- ability groups and underrepresented in higher-ability groups. Students in many lower-ability groups are exposed to fewer educational opportunities, the report claims.

Bible Bumping

A New Jersey elementary school teacher was correct not to let a student read a Bible story to his class, a federal appeals court ruled in November. The student's parents had charged that their first grader's First Amendment rights were violated when Grace Oliva, his teacher at Maurice and Everett Haines Elementary in Medford, made him read the Bible story to her alone instead of to the whole class.

Vol. 11, Issue 5, Pages 10-11

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