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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. Selected stories from Feb. 2, 1982:

School Prayer: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a lower-court ruling banning voluntary prayer in public schools. The unanimous decision, which stems from a Louisiana law, continues the high court's 20-year prohibition against sponsored prayer in the schools.

Student Employment: Secondary school principals in the Los Angeles Unified School District get the go-ahead to hire students as part-time clerical and custodial workers in emergency situations. As part of the pilot project born of a financial crunch and worker shortage, students will earn the minimum wage and work no more than four hours daily during off-school hours.

School Aid: After more than eight years of preparation, poor school districts in New Hampshire file a class action against the state. The plaintiffs argue that school financing is inequitable because state aid amounts to only about 7 percent of school budgets, forcing districts to rely heavily on property taxes.

Parental Choice: A mother of four who kept her children out of school more than 1 1/2 years is jailed for refusing to answer a judge's questions about the youngsters' whereabouts. The court releases the Kahala, Hawaii, woman after she files an application to home school the children.

Television Viewing: Children who watch a great deal of television do worse in reading recognition and comprehension than their peers who don't tune in so often, according to researchers at Yale University. The progress report from the Family Television Research and Consultation Center also finds a strong correlation between heavy viewing and a child's tendency to find the world to be a "scary" place.

Ban Lifted: Acting in a case that had drawn testimony from such writers as Frances FitzGerald and Ward Just, a federal judge orders a Baileyville, Maine, high school return 365 Days to its library bookshelves. The local school committee, deeming its strong language inappropriate, had pulled the nonfiction book about a physician's experiences at a military hospital during the Vietnam War.

Urban Ouster: The Philadelphia school board buys out the contract of Superintendent Michael P. Marcase, who has been at the helm of the city's schools for seven years and at odds with Mayor William J. Green for half that time. "At a time when it is obvious that political survival has replaced quality education as the standard performance in Philadelphia's school system, it is outrageous that this action could be taken," the mayor said earlier in the month when the school board planned to extend the schools chief's contract.

Saving Energy: School districts given federal energy-conservation grants have been able to reduce energy costs an average of 20.7 percent, concludes a study by the American Association of School Administrators. The 175 districts surveyed used the grants to modify heating, plumbing, and insulation.

Vol. 21, Issue 20, Page 6

Published in Print: January 30, 2002, as Retrospective
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