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 Jan. 26, 1982:
Bilingual Education: Some 4,000 bilingual education specialists who gathered in San Francisco for an annual conference conclude that the teaching method faces significant obstacles, including sharp budget cuts, a rising demand for services from English-language learners, a dearth of qualified teachers, and growing hostility toward bilingual education from the public.
Test Error: Officials of the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., decide not to score one of the questions on a mathematics test administered to 360,000 students because the question was confusing and poorly worded. It marked the third time in less than a year that the testing service has discovered an error on one of its math tests.
School Deaths An explosion that ripped through the cafeteria at Star Elementary School in Spencer, Okla., kills five children and one teacher. Thirty-five others are injured in the blast, which authorities say was caused either by a natural-gas buildup or a boiler explosion. Sixty children were eating lunch in the cafeteria in the Oklahoma City suburb when the explosion showered them with bricks, glass, and metal.
Thanks, But No Thanks: The superintendent of schools in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, turns down a 10 percent increase in his $46,700 annual salary, saying he wants to set an example for other employees in the district. Shutdowns in northern Idaho’s lumber and mining industries have weakened the area’s economy.
No Vouchers: The National Urban League issues a report saying that public support of private schools through tax credits and vouchers would do little to increase educational opportunities for African-American students.
No Gym?: A Massachusetts appeals court overturns a lower-court ruling that would have exempted the Worcester Vocational-Technical High School from compulsory physical education instruction because the school cannot afford the program. School trustees voted to eliminate the program and lay off six physical education instructors at the 1,200-student school because of cuts in state aid.
Title I: A U.S. Department of Education report on Title I, the 17-year- old federal education program for disadvantaged students that the Reagan administration tried to abolish in 1981, concludes that the program is “successful” and “effective.” The report states that the program has been so successful, in fact, that “a 15-year decline in educational achievement is beginning to reverse, particularly among low-achieving groups.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2002 edition of Education Week as Retrospective