News in Brief: A National Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

U.S. Enrollment Surge Shifts To High Schools

Enrollment in public and private schools reached a new all-time high this year, and the growth is expected to continue, according to annual statistics released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The number of students is predicted to rise from this year's record 53.2 million to 54.2 million in 10 years, according to figures released last month by President Clinton. Most of the increase will be among high school students.

Elementary enrollment may dip slightly during the next decade, but the nation should expect 1.3 million additional high school students by 2009. Growth is most rapid in the South and West.

Mr. Clinton and other leaders said at a news conference in Washington that the increases were attributable to the "baby boom echo," along with immigration, higher birthrates, and expanding preschool enrollment.

—Alan Richard

Chicago Homeless Effort Faulted

Chicago school officials are considering whether to appeal a court order requiring the district to provide more special accommodations for homeless students.

District officials ignored federal and state laws covering homeless children to minimize costs and problems associated with compliance, Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Brennan Getty said in a written ruling last month.

There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 homeless children in the 430,000-student system, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group that filed a lawsuit challenging the district's policies.

But Paul G. Vallas, the district's chief executive officer, said several of its programs serve homeless students, including one for teenage mothers and their children and an after- school tutoring and supper program.

—Kerry A. White

Forgione Heads to Austin

The former federal commissioner of education statistics has taken the top job in the Austin, Texas, schools.

The 76,600-student district's board of trustees voted to hire Pascal D. Forgione on Aug. 10. He started work as superintendent a week later, after signing a three-year, $185,000-a-year contract.

Mr. Forgione left the National Center for Education Statistics in June when the Clinton administration refused to renominate him after he differed with the way Vice President Al Gore released test scores earlier this year. ("Republicans Vow To Free NCES From Political Meddling," June 2, 1999.)

—David J. Hoff

RIF Gets $2 Million Grant

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Reading Is Fundamental Inc. one of its "Star Schools" grants to focus on children's literacy training.

The Washington-based nonprofit organization will receive $2 million a year for the next five years for its national reading program. The group's new effort promotes literacy by using technology to motivate young children to read.

By the end of next year, RIF plans to recruit more than 120,000 volunteers who will be trained through the initiative. The Education Department also provides Star Schools grants to other organizations, school districts, and state education departments to improve instruction in mathematics, science, foreign languages, and vocational education.

—Karen L. Abercrombie

Time for Timeout

All 61 elementary schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish, La. schools will have "timeout rooms" this year where unruly students can be sent to cool off.

Money to implement the new policy for young students comes from a 1- cent sales-tax increase approved by local voters. The added revenue is helping pay for building renovations and timeout monitors, as well as a pay raise for teachers, said Julie Madere, a spokeswoman for the 56,000-student district.

"In the past, these kids were sent to the principal's office," Ms. Madere said. To make the plan work, teachers are being asked and trained to create more nurturing, motivating classrooms.

—Alan Richard

Suit Filed Over Student's Abortion

Two parents are suing a guidance counselor and a suburban Philadelphia district, claiming the counselor helped their 17-year-old daughter have an abortion.

Howard and Marie Carter of Hatboro, Pa., claim in their suit filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia last month that counselor William Hickey encouraged their daughter to have an abortion despite the family's religious beliefs.

Mr. Hickey and officials in the Hatboro-Horsham district would not discuss the suit, which also claims that the counselor secretly helped the student cash checks and travel to New Jersey for the abortion. The suit was filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative group based in Virginia Beach, Va.

—Alan Richard

Scouts to Appeal N.J. Ruling

The Boy Scouts of America plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a New Jersey ruling that the organization violated a state law when it expelled a gay scoutmaster in 1990.

James Dale, an Eagle Scout who was an assistant scoutmaster in Matawan, N.J., had challenged his expulsion, which came after he gave a newspaper interview which identified him as the co-president of a gay students' group at Rutgers University. The Scouting organization said its membership standards barred homosexuals.

Mr. Dale, now 29, filed a state lawsuit, which he lost at the trial-court level but won on appeal. In upholding the appellate ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court said in an Aug. 4 decision that the organization was a "public accommodation" under the state's anti-bias law, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The high court noted that the Scouts have a close relationship with many public schools.

—Mark Walsh

Anaheim Seeks Reimbursement

A school district in Anaheim, Calif., wants the federal government to reimburse the system for the cost of educating illegal immigrants.

Harald G. Martin, the president of the Anaheim Union High School District board, estimates that up to 20 percent of the district's students are immigrants whose families are living in the United States illegally. Some 70 percent of students in the booming Orange County community are considered members of racial or ethnic minorities.

The board of the 29,000- student district, which serves grades 7-12, voted 3-1 last month for a resolution demanding reimbursement. "This a wake-up call for the federal government. They're the ones responsible for immigration," Mr. Martin said. He added that the resolution would not affect district practices and that no children would be blocked from attending school. Some community groups have pledged to mount protests and a recall campaign against the three board members who approved the resolution Aug. 19.

—Lynn Schnaiberg

Denver Hires Superintendent

The Denver schools have hired the Charleston, S.C., superintendent to lead the 67,000-student district.

Chip Zullinger, 48, signed a four-year contract with the Colorado district and will earn $142,000 a year after the school board voted 6-1 early last month to hire him.

—Alan Richard

L.A. Activist To Retire

Peggy Funkhouser, the longtime president of the Los Angeles Education Partnership, has announced her plans to retire. Ms. Funkhouser, who has led the nonprofit organization since its inception in 1984, said last month she plans to make the move early next year. During her tenure, she has helped the organization promote a variety of education efforts in the 700,000-student Los Angeles district, including providing low-cost Internet access to teachers.

—Michelle Galley

ECS Gets Teacher Grant

The Education Commission of the States has received a $705,000 grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund to work with policymakers to seek ways of attracting high-quality teachers to urban and rural schools.

The three-year effort will build on the foundation's previous teacher-recruitment work. Since 1990, the New York City-based foundation has spent $47 million on its Pathways to Teaching Careers program, which provides scholarships and other support to enable classroom aides, Peace Corps volunteers, and other nontraditional candidates to become teachers.

Under the new project, the ECS will gather information and work with state policymakers to help them understand the types of preparation teachers need to succeed in hard-to-staff schools and how to recruit teachers for them.

—Ann Bradley


Edward F. Reidy Jr., the program officer for K-12 education at the Pew Charitable Trusts and a former Kentucky education official, died of cancer Aug. 2 at the age of 52. As the manager of the Philadelphia-based philanthropy's portfolio of grants in precollegiate education, Mr. Reidy worked on standards-based reform and efforts to improve teaching. Pew also underwrites Quality Counts, a 50-state report card on public education published by Education Week.

Edward F. Reidy

Before joining Pew in January of last year, Mr. Reidy spent seven years at the Kentucky Department of Education, where he played a central role in implementing that state's landmark 1990 education law.

"He was, in a lot of ways, the most visible person in the reform efforts because of his role in accountability," said Robert F. Sexton, the director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a coalition of citizens and educators based in Lexington. "He was a passionate and articulate advocate for every child."

—Lynn Olson

David L. Angus

David L. Angus, an education historian and comparative-education scholar at the University of Michigan, died of cancer Aug. 14. He was 65.

The author of numerous articles and studies in the field, Mr. Angus was an education professor at the university in Ann Arbor for 33 years. He was the co-author of a new book, The Failed Promise of the American High School, 1890-1995, written with Jeffrey E. Mirel of Emory University.

Mr. Angus' interest in comparative studies drew him to career posts around the world. In 1996, he was named the Lingan scholar in American studies and comparative education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. While living there, he also chaired an international conference on Chinese education.

Back home in Michigan, Mr. Angus also served on the school board in his home community of Dexter.

—Debra Viadero

Vol. 19, Issue 1, Page 3

Published in Print: September 8, 1999, as News in Brief: A National Roundup
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories