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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 April 28, 1982:

Narrowing Gap: The gap in educational achievement between black and white students has closed considerably over the past decade, a period when many programs designed to correct social and educational imbalances between the races were implemented, according to a new analysis conducted by two University of North Carolina researchers. The researchers, Lyle V. Jones and Nancy W. Burton, emphasize that it is not possible to establish whether those programs and other changes—desegregation, for example—that occurred during the 1970s were responsible for the improvement in achievement.

Head Start: Declaring Head Start part of the Reagan administration's "social safety net," Secretary of Health and Human Services Richard S. Schweiker announces plans to convert all summer Head Start programs to full-time status. Mr. Schweiker's April 15 announcement came as 5,000 educators and parent activists gathered in Detroit for the ninth annual National Head Start Association training conference.

Grade Dispute: The Dade County, Fla., school board decides not to overrule the C in conduct given to a student whose father threatened legal action if the grade is not changed. The parent, Gerald Tobin, a lawyer, is distressed because the low grade marred his daughter's straight-A record. The issue, Mr. Tobin argues, involves not only the academic record of his daughter, however, but also the rights of Florida students to demand hearings on grades they believe to be undeserved or unfair.

Secular Humanism: A Colorado state lawmaker's fight against what he says is the teaching of the "anti-God religion" of secular humanism in public schools waged in the legislature since the spring of 1981 could soon be continued in court. Rep. Robert J. Stephenson, a Republican from Colorado Springs who chairs the House education committee, charges that the schools are teaching secular humanism in violation of the state constitution, which prohibits allocating tax dollars to districts that promote religion.

A Touch of Humor: In a chilly subterranean assembly hall in Atlanta's World Congress Center, 15,000 members of the National School Boards Association clustered in semi-darkness to hear a speech by Art Buchwald. The Pulitzer Prize- winning humor columnist was the last scheduled speaker in the four-day annual NSBA convention that concerned itself with such sobering matters as federal education budget cuts, tuition tax credits for private schools, desegregation, and censorship of textbooks.

Tax Exemptions and Race: The U.S. Supreme Court breaks a three-month silence on the issue of tax exemptions for private schools that discriminate on the basis of race, announcing that it will decide two related cases next fall. At the same time, the court appoints William T. Coleman Jr., a Washington lawyer and a former U.S. secretary of transportation, to argue the position abandoned in January by the Reagan administration—that the Internal Revenue Service has the authority, under existing law, to deny the exemptions.

Young Writers: Children as young as 6 years old are eager and able to begin writing the day they start school, says a university researcher testifying in Houston before the National Commission on Excellence in Education. And youngsters who are exposed to the writing process early in their school careers may develop important reading and thinking skills more rapidly and easily than those who do not begin writing until they are further along.

Vol. 21, Issue 32, Page 6

Published in Print: April 24, 2002, as Retrospective
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