May 15, 2002 2 min read

As Education Week marks its 20th anniversary, here are some of the people, events, and issues making news 20 years ago.

Selected stories from May 19, 1982:

National Security: In an unusual appearance before a convocation of educators and scientists, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger says that U.S. national security will be seriously weakened if some action is not taken to remedy the well- documented problems in precollege science and math education. The secretary joined some 600 scientists, educators, mathematicians, and government and industry officials who gathered in Washington for a National Convocation on Precollege Education in Mathematics and Science.

Short Week: The four-day school week isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to an analysis by the Michigan Department of Education. Several Michigan school districts, in response to severe financial problems, have asked that they be allowed to experiment with the reduced school week, according to Rosarita Hume, a communications officer for the department. If every district in Michigan adopted the abbreviated week, the Michigan agency’s researchers estimate, the savings would total only 0.4 percent of all instructional costs.

Special Education: New Mexico, the only state that does not participate in federal special education programs, is considering new statewide regulations that could significantly reduce the number of children classified as “learning disabled.” According to Elie Gutierrez, the state director of special education, about half the state’s 24,000 special education students are in the learning-disabled category, one of nine special education classifications. That proportion is “questionable,” he says.

Tax Hike: The Michigan legislature has approved a temporary 22 percent increase in the state’s income tax, ending the immediate threat of deep cuts in state aid to public schools and colleges. Spurred by pressure from Gov. William Milliken, lawmakers passed a six-month tax boost that is expected to yield $300 million for the financially depressed state.

Job Concerns: High school students in the 1980s are more concerned about future employment than were students two decades earlier, and they are frustrated by guidance-counseling programs that do not help them address their job concerns, according to the findings of a study of adolescent problems. School grades and jobs were cited most often as the primary concerns of the 6,000 9th through 12th grade students included in the survey, followed by anxieties about attending college, says Russell J. Watson, who conducted the research as a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University.

Sex Equity: State education agencies would be required to employ at least one full-time sex-equity coordinator, under upcoming proposed regulations for vocational education programs, according to Robert M. Worthington, the assistant secretary for vocational and adult education in the U.S. Department of Education. His announcement was intended to allay a concern of the state sex-equity coordinators that their role would become part time under the new regulations.

A version of this article appeared in the May 15, 2002 edition of Education Week as Retrospective