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20 years ago ... DEC. 22, 1982

  • The U.S. Department of Education's research arm, the National Institute of Education, is reeling after what one observer calls "a classic series of blunders" by the Reagan administration. The administration replaced all 15 members of the institute's governing board, in some cases with workers from the 1980 presidential campaign. And the administration's first NIE director— subsequently replaced—fired staff members, alienated the research community, and, in a letter to President Reagan, asserted that the federal government has no role in conducting educational research.
  • Addressing the "dumb jock" stereotype, the Sports Vision Center in Philadelphia concludes it's all a matter of perspective. Athletes, the center says, operate in a broad "visual space world" that makes it hard for them to excel in close-in activities such as academics and small motor skills. One suggested remedial activity from the center: playing pickup sticks.
  • The Department of Education, in a report to Congress, says the 4 million American children now in special education are being shortchanged by inadequate resources and a shortage of trained teachers and support-staff members. To meet present needs, the report says, schools would have to increase the number of teachers by 43,000, or 20 percent, and the number of support personnel by 47,500, or 28 percent.

10 years ago ... DEC. 16, 1992

  • An independent commission formed by children's advocates is recommending an overhaul of Chapter 1, the federal compensatory education program. The plan would use the threat of funding cutoffs to force states to equalize education services among school districts, and would set tough accountability standards— based on new types of tests—that could lead to state takeovers of low- performing schools and districts.
  • The American Federation of Teachers, which has earned a reputation as a forceful advocate for the creation of radically new schools, is now shifting emphasis to helping union locals improve traditional schools. Some educators see the move as a step backward. AFT President Albert Shanker says that he continues to support alternative school models, but that because traditional schools will continue to exist, they need a prominent place in the union's agenda.
  • U.S. District Judge Lucius D. Bunton III in West Texas issues an injunction preventing federal immigration agents from stopping and questioning Hispanic students and teachers at an El Paso high school near the Mexican border, provided those individuals are not reasonably suspected of violating immigration laws. Questioning of people on their citizenship status, the judge says, must be based on more than the fact that they appear to be of Hispanic descent.

Vol. 22, Issue 15, Page 6

Published in Print: December 11, 2002, as Retrospective

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