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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 the week of April 7, 1982:

Angry Schools Chiefs: The nation's chief state school officials, in a markedly emotional meeting in Washington, voice extreme displeasure with the Reagan administration's posture toward public education. Several members of the Council of Chief State School officers, meeting in the nation's capital at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, vent much of their anger on their host, who they claim has been remiss in his responsibility to promote public schools.

Mayoral Control?: A bill that would give the mayor and City Council of Philadelphia control of the city's financially beleaguered school system wins the support of the Pennsylvania House and is sent to the Senate. The measure would abolish the city's school board and replace it with a "commission on public education" whose members would be appointed by the mayor. Critics of the school district, which faces a budget deficit in excess of $100 million, charge that the current finance system holds no one fiscally accountable.

Student Suggestion Box: Colorado high school students call for more choice in curriculum, a statewide grading system to ensure consistent grading practices, more counselors with better qualifications, and better efforts to improve the overall atmosphere of high schools. Those suggestions were culled from several regional meetings held by the state board of education—involving 391 students from 91 high schools—to help it develop educational policy.

Special Ed. Policy: The New York state board of regents has enacted changes in the state's special education regulations that would allow school districts to place children with different disabilities in the same classroom. Strong opposition from teacher organizations, parent groups, and big-city school systems forced the regents to make the policy change optional.

Extracurricular Value: Contrary to the belief of many high school seniors and the published policies of many colleges, students' outstanding extracurricular accomplishments have little effect on colleges' decisions on whether to accept them, a four-year study concludes. The study on the importance of nonacademic factors in admissions at nine selective private colleges was sponsored by the College Board and the Educational Testing Service.

Uncritical Thinking: The overall quality of higher education in New England is slipping because of a "fundamental weakening" of public schools that has resulted in students who cannot "think critically," according to a regional study. In its 30-page report, the New England Board of Higher Education cites "widespread erosion" of student achievement and academic standards throughout the region's 260 colleges and universities.

Checking Competency: A federal judge in Illinois rules that special education students are not exempt from "minimal competency" tests, and that school districts can deny high school diplomas to such students who fail the exams. U.S. District Judge Robert D. Morgan upholds the right of the Peoria school district to give 11 graduating special education students "certificates of program completion," rather than diplomas, because of their failure to pass the district's competency test.

Vol. 21, Issue 29, Page 6

Published in Print: April 3, 2002, as Retrospective
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