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Giving education vouchers to low-income parents would be a more effective way to finance the learning of economically and educationally deprived students than the current federal compensatory-education program, which should be terminated, contends Herbert J. Walberg, professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In a 17-page paper published recently by Learn Inc., a Washington-based policy-research organization, Mr. Walberg said Chapter 1 (formerly Title I) money has not raised the academic achievement of needy students and has often been spent on students who are not poor.

The compensatory-education program, begun in 1965, has consumed about $38 billion "for ineffective ser-vices that interfere with regular school programs," Mr. Walberg said.

Basing his conclusions on several past studies of compensatory-education spending, Mr. Walberg noted the apparentparadox of rising education costs and declines in student achievement. Chapter 1 vouchers, he said, would "directly alleviate the most important differences between the poor and others: their lack of buying power and, because of it, limited choices and mobility." He cited the "G.I. Bill" and several higher-education programs as successful precedents.

New Data Reveal

High Course Grades

In 'Easy' Areas

High-school students receive far more A's--while doing much less homework--in "easy" non-academic courses than they do in traditional disciplines such as English, the sciences, and foreign languages, the National Center for Education Statistics reports in a major study of high-school grades.

The new analysis is based on previously released data compiled in the government's major longitudinal study of high-school students, "High School and Beyond." (See Education Week, Oct. 17, 1984.)

Courses in the visual and performing arts and in personal and social development accounted for one-fifth of all high-school credits earned, while the major academic areas accounted for about half of the credits, nces reports.

"Students who spent no time at all or less than one hour per week on homework received A's in 28 percent" of their courses in these non-academic areas, but students had to spend at least five hours of homework per week to achieve the same proportion of A's in the academic areas, according to William B. Fetters, the nces analyst who wrote the report.

The new analysis notes that the most rigorous and demanding grading standards appeared to have been applied in high schools in the middle- and south-Atlantic states, while less stringent standards pertained in the Pacific and West North Central states.

Vol. 04, Issue 13

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