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Emotional Problems in Small Schools Noted

A recent study challenges a prevailing belief that students who attend private schools or small public secondary schools generally have better emotional health than those who attend large public schools.

The study—published in the October issue of Sociology of Education and based on an analysis of data for about 13,000 students from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health—says that smaller public schools have higher rates of depression among students, and that a higher percentage of male students in such schools report having attempted suicide. It also found that private school students were more likely to be associated with the use or threat of use of weapons than students in large public schools. In attempting to explain the findings, the study suggests that large public schools might offer more options for informal social and emotional support, because of the diversity of students and the availability of special programs.

The study defines small schools as those with 400 or fewer students; schools with more than 1,000 students are defined as large.

—Kevin Bushweller

Arts and Languages

As school improvement efforts continue to focus intensively on reading and mathematics, the arts and foreign languages are in danger of being marginalized or eliminated entirely from students' academic experiences, a report released last week concludes.

For More Info
An abstract of and ordering information for "The Complete Curriculum: Ensuring a Place for the Arts and Foreign Languages in America's Schools" is available from the National Association of State Boards of Education. The full report costs $14. A news release on the report has also been posted.

Issued by the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of State Boards of Education, the report recommends that state policymakers adopt rigorous licensure requirements for arts and foreign-language teachers, provide adequate professional development for them, and require study of the subjects from the early grades through high school.

—Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Principal Abuse

Two University of Georgia researchers have examined the experiences of 50 teachers in the United States to show the long-term impact on teachers of being subjected to various forms of mistreatment by principals.

Published in the October issue of the Journal of Educational Administration, the study seeks to show the effects of principals' verbal abuse, racism, unfair evaluations, and sexual harassment.

—Kevin Bushweller

Public Engagement

Families, community groups, businesses, and faith- based organizations in many school districts are taking a more assertive role in improving education by collaborating with educators to set academic standards, recruit better teachers for low-performing schools, and put together new policies and programs, according to a report.

The report, produced by the Washington-based Academy for Educational Development and the Chapin Hill Center for Children at the University of Chicago, also provides brief profiles of 19 community organizations that have had a significant impact on their local schools.

—Kevin Bushweller

Racial Pride

African-American 4th graders who reported higher levels of racial pride had greater levels of academic achievement than those with less pride in their heritage, a recent study has found.

Results of the study, which included 98 African-American child and parent pairs in South Carolina, were published in the September issue of the American Journal of Community Psychology. About two-thirds of the families studied earned less than $20,000 a year. The achievement levels were based on students' reading and mathematics grades and performance on standardized tests.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 9, Page 14

Published in Print: October 29, 2003, as Report Roundup
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