December 12, 2001 1 min read

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

The Official View: Edwin Meese III, counselor to President Reagan, assures a group of 4,000 California school administrators that the president values education as a “national investment in the future of our country.” But he says the administration believes that education “does not begin with Washington officials, or even with state and local officials; it must begin in the home.”

Bilingual Education: Alarmed by a collection of studies commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education finding that bilingual education is not effective, members of the National Advisory Council on Bilingual Education ask Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell to clarify the government’s position. The group also wants to know “how the reports came to be.”

Conflicting Programs: School systems that operate more than one federal education program are likely to experience conflict between federally sponsored programs and regular classes, conclude two reports conducted for the Education Department by the RAND Corp. In addition, local school officials are likely to use federal money intended for one target group of students to serve other students, the reports say.

Regional Network: Ten Southern states announce they will begin operating a computerized network to exchange information about education. The network, described as a unique example of regional cooperation, will allow state leaders to share the facts and figures that underlie policy changes.

No ‘Christmas’ Schools: An Education Week survey finds there are no schools in Christmas —Christmas, Ariz., that is. Nor are there schools in towns named Christmas in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, or Tennessee. However, the country boasts three schools named North Pole—an elementary, junior high, and high school—all in Fairbanks, Alaska, just south of the Arctic Circle.

Competitive Fears: The authors of The Science Race, an analysis of the education systems in the United States and the Soviet Union, find that the Soviets are far ahead in the number of courses offered and people trained as scientists. The book’s authors, Catherine P. Ailes and Francis W. Rushing, conclude that the USSR will use those highly trained personnel to improve the country’s competitive position in world markets.

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2001 edition of Education Week as Retrospective