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As Education Week marks its 20th anniversary, here are some of the people, events, and issues that were making news 20 years ago this week.

Selected stories from Sept. 14, 1981.

School Lunches: The Reagan Administration calls for changes in the national school lunch program that could result in new paperwork requirements for administrators, more stringent application procedures for free or reduced-price meals, and, possibly, less nutritious meals for students. Items such as cookies and doughnuts would become acceptable "bread alternatives," and vegetable and fruit concentrates with water added—ketchup, for example—could be counted as part of the fruit and vegetable requirement.

Teacher Stress: Elementary school teachers are far more prone to report job-related stress than are secondary school teachers, according to researchers at Southeastern Louisiana University. The researchers say one reason is that elementary instructors tend to be "person centered" and to take classroom incidents personally.

Voc. Ed.: Student enrollment in vocational education programs increased by 96.4 percent from 1972 to 1979, while total expenditures for such programs rose by 51 percent during the same period, a report by the National Center for Education Statistics says. Over those same years, state and local expenditures on vocational education programs nearly tripled, however, from $2.19 billion to $5.99 billion.

Scheduling: Faced with rising costs and shrinking budgets, a small but growing number of rural school systems are turning to a four-day school week to save energy and preserve programs that might otherwise be cut.

Illegal Immigration: The U.S. Department of Justice reverses its position on the right of states to deny a free public education to children of illegal immigrants. In a brief filed in a Texas case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the department now argues that the federal government has no legal interest in the education of illegal immigrant children.

Special Education: The parents of two epileptic students in Kansas file the nation's first class action seeking special education for epileptics. The suit asks that the definition of a "health impaired" student under the federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act be expanded to include students with epilepsy.

The Good Book: Residents of the Clear Creek school district in Iowa soundly reject a proposal to use the Bible as a supplementary textbook to counter the teaching of evolution. [Not in archive.]

Vol. 21, Issue 2, Page 6

Published in Print: September 12, 2001, as Retrospective
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