Testing: A National Academy of Sciences panel warns against using standardized tests alone to make such crucial decisions about students as conferring a diploma or placing a child in special education. The panel’s study also finds such tests are not biased intrinsically against minority groups.
Ban Reversal: The Maryland state board of education rules that a local school board erred in barring a high school production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The state board notes, “We have eschewed basing our decision on the First Amendment of the Constitution, but rather have been guided by the principles of sound educational policy.”
Teacher Salaries: Teachers in collective bargaining states generally fare no better in salary gains than do their counterparts elsewhere, concludes a study by the Public Service Research Council.
Values Education: Donald G. Gill, Illinois’ superintendent of schools, shelves his controversial plan to draft a curriculum for the state’s public schools that integrates values education. Attributing the postponement to budgetary constraints, he vows he will not let his proposal “die on the vine.”
School Improvement: Twenty-five urban high schools that can document significant improvements in their overall performance during the past decade will reap rewards ranging from $500 to $20,000. In announcing the $1.1 million in grant money, the Ford Foundation says it initiated the program because its officials believed “there were many schools out there that have done an exemplary job of improving themselves without having received any special attention.”
Parental Choice: Arizona’s House education committee approves a bill that would allow parents to teach their children at home. The legislation also would severely restrict local education officials from interfering in private or parochial schools. The measure would remove the requirements that children be taught by “competent” teachers and that their educational programs be approved by local school officials.
Kindergarten: State lawmakers in Kentucky scrap a proposal that would have made kindergarten attendance a prerequisite for 1st grade. They decide instead to mull over the possibility of permitting districts to mandate kindergarten.
Student Aid: Higher education associations hold a press conference in Washington to warn against a potential massive cut in student aid for college-bound high school seniors. The groups cite a budget document prepared by the Reagan administration showing 50 percent cuts in five federal programs aimed at helping students and their families meet climbing college costs.
A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2002 edition of Education Week as Retrospective