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Charter School Report Urges Advance Planning

A report from the University of Minnesota's Center for School Change provides examples of charter schools that have produced improved student achievement and lays out what kinds of measurements schools have used to document results.

The report, whose authors include charter proponent Joe Nathan, is not the result of a random sample of charter schools. Instead, it looks at 31 such schools in eight states that have improved achievement and established well-developed evaluation systems.

Questions the report raises, but does not answer, are: What does "accountability for results" mean? And what should the sponsors and operators of charter schools do to clarify what results will be expected from the school?

The report's recommendations urge sponsors and operators to hash out what the school's measurable goals are, what assessments will be used to gauge whether the school has met the goals, and what constitutes acceptable student performance, all before a charter is granted.

"Making a Difference? Charter Schools, Evaluation, and Student Performance," $12, from the Minneapolis-based Center for School Change at (612) 626-1834. An executive summary is available on the World Wide Web at

Teacher Certification

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education & Certification has published the fourth edition of its manual on the preparation and certification of education personnel.

The 1998-99 manual includes detailed certification requirements for teachers, administrators, and support-services personnel in each of the states, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and provinces of Canada. The book also includes state requirements for professional development and special education and gives an overview of the exams and assessments administered for licensure.

"The NASDTEC Manual on the Preparation and Certification of Education Personnel," $74.95, plus $4 shipping and handling, from Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 4050 Westmark Drive, P.O. Box 1840, Dubuque, IA 52004-1840; (800) 228-0810.

School Reform

Recognizing that teachers often are called on to implement education reforms they had no hand in creating, a group of educators has issued recommendations for school improvement based on their research from the trenches.

The report is a compilation of insights from 35 teachers who were brought together last year for the National Teacher Policy Institute, a project of IMPACT II-The Teachers Network. The organization seeks to give teachers more of a voice in policy issues.

Each of the 35 teachers drafted a report on an aspect of professional growth and school improvement.

Their resulting recommendations focus on four areas: teacher preparation and induction, ongoing professional development, teacher networks, and help for teachers in becoming reform leaders.

"Getting Real and Getting Smart," $2.50, from IMPACT II-The Teachers Network, 285 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013-2272. Each of the individual reports is on the World Wide Web site at

Arts Education

To help raise the prominence of art in the curriculum, the Getty Education Institute for the Arts has published a guide for adopting a comprehensive art education program in schools.

The guide answers an array of questions about how to set up an art program based on four disciplines: art-making, art criticism, art history, and aesthetics.

This update to the institute's 1992 guide, while not providing step-by-step instruction for devising curricula, offers an overview of discipline-based art education, an approach pioneered by the Los Angeles-based institute more than a decade ago.

That approach, which promotes a more central role for art in the curriculum, has had an influence on state art frameworks throughout the country.

"Learning in and Through Art: A Guide to Discipline-Based Education," available by calling the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, (310) 440-7315.

Student Aspirations

When a recent survey asked students from the college graduating class of 2001 what career they planned to pursue, 14 percent said teaching. That response was second only to medicine, at 16 percent.

Rounding out the top five responses were: business or marketing, 12 percent; engineering, 8 percent; and law or politics, 7 percent.

And when it comes to their futures, 47 percent of the respondents said they planned to enter the workforce immediately after graduating, 42 percent said they planned to continue their educations, and 7 percent expected to take some time off.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, a Milwaukee-based life insurance provider, is reporting these and other findings of a survey it commissioned to provide a snapshot of the aspirations of current college freshmen.

The New York City-based polling firm Louis Harris and Associates conducted the survey using a national cross-section of 2,001 freshmen.

"Generation 2001: A Survey of the First Graduating Class of the New Millennium," available on the World Wide Web at www.; or by calling (800) 567-2001.

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