As Education Week marks its 20th anniversary, here are some of the people, events, and issues that were making news 20 years ago.
Selected stories from May 5, 1982:
Computer Revolution: The University of Vermont’s college of education has hired a computer-mathematics teacher from a local high school to teach graduate courses in computer use. The staff member who heads the year-old computer program has used “wine and cheese parties” to stimulate the faculty’s interest in attending lectures on microcomputers. But at Teachers College, Columbia University, a “microcomputer resource center” that was intended to be a casual “drop-in” facility has grown since its opening in 1979 into a bustling focus of faculty and student activity open 12 hours a day.
Teacher Education: Texas will soon join the growing list of states that are raising standards for would-be teachers in an effort to upgrade the quality of education statewide. The state board of education is considering a proposal that would replace the present teacher-certification program with three new classes of certification, beginning May 1, 1986. The plan has already been approved by the state legislature.
Teenage Unemployment: A survey of youth unemployment, conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, reveals that officials in more than half the nation’s major cities are bracing themselves for the worst this summer because of unprecedented unemployment rates among teenagers that threaten to rise even higher as job opportunities dwindle. City officials also expect the problem to increase school dropout rates and thus contribute to even greater unemployment in the future.
Banning Books: The past 18 months have brought a sharp increase in attempts to censor and ban books and other materials from schools and libraries—at least triple the number reported in the late 1970s, according to Judith F. Krug, the director of the office of intellectual freedom of the American Library Association. Speaking at a session on censorship at the group’s annual meeting, Ms. Krug says the ALA office receives about 900 reports of “challenges” per year—up from 300 per year in 1978.
Federal Role: Reaching a consensus about the appropriate role of the federal government in American elementary and secondary education proved as difficult for scholars at a recent conference in Cambridge, Mass., as it has been for national policymakers. The value for students of participating in federal programs, the effect of equal-opportunity laws on education, and the application in schools of federal research activities were among the topics debated by those invited by the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review to speak on “Rethinking the Federal Role in Education.”
Population Boom: Utah officials are preparing for a student population that is expected to grow by 100,000 by 1987—one of the highest projected growth rates in the country. At a time when most state and local education officials are still contending with the consequences of long-term enrollment declines that will continue in many states over the next five years, Utah school leaders are finding that expanding enrollments can also cause problems. Enrollment in Utah schools in fall 1982 will be 364,000. That figure is expected to increase by 27 percent—to 464,000—by 1987.
A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2002 edition of Education Week as Retrospective