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Study: Despite Calif. Law, Gay Students Harassed

Despite a state anti-harassment law that went into effect about four years ago, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation remain pervasive problems in California schools, a report released last week concludes.

The report by the San Francisco-based California Safe Schools Coalition analyzes data from the California Healthy Kids Survey, a state-sponsored survey, as well as a survey by the coalition measuring the effectiveness of school anti-harassment policies. The analysis found that about 8 percent of California's middle and high school students, roughly 200,000, were targets of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Students who are harassed based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, the report suggests, are more likely than other students to have low grades, use drugs, smoke, drink alcohol, or be victims of violence.

—Kevin Bushweller

Cyber Charter Schools

A new report examines the role that cyber and home school charter schools, which enroll up to 10 percent of the nation's 684,000 charter school students, are having on education.

Published by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, located at Teachers College, Columbia University, the report also discusses the public scrutiny those new and increasingly popular schools face. For instance, it says, such schools have prompted legislation to better define what responsibility state education agencies and local school districts should have over the financing of the charter schools.

—Rhea R. Borja

Achievement Research

The third edition of a handbook on research- based teaching practices in core subjects was recently released by the Arlington, Va.-based Educational Research Service.

For More Info

The underlying assumption of the handbook is that efforts to raise student achievement should focus on existing research about effective teaching and learning. It addresses research related to all the major disciplines taught in elementary and secondary schools in the United States, from language arts, mathematics, and science to art, health education, and physical education.

—Kevin Bushweller

Obesity Overview

Poor children are twice as likely as their more affluent peers to suffer from obesity, and consequently, they are more prone to get obesity-related diseases such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, according to a research brief.

For More Info
A fact sheet on the report "Childhood Obesity: What the Research Tells Us" is available from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.) Free copies of the entire report can be requested by emailing [email protected].

The brief—released recently by the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, based at George Washington University in Washington—also provides statistics on a number of other related issues, such as physical activity among school-age children, the amount of physical activity for students that is organized by schools, and food consumption by schoolchildren.

—Kevin Bushweller

Alternative Education

High schools run by nonprofit community-based organizations to serve students who have not succeeded in traditional public schools suffer from a number of problems, according to report from state officials. Those difficulties, it says, include unstable funding, low teacher salaries, lack of professional development, and student- assessment practices that may not meet federal accountability requirements.

State education agencies should increase their fiscal commitments to those so-called CBO schools so the schools can hire better teachers and utilize more effective teaching practices, advises the report released by the Washington- based Council of Chief State School Officers.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 19, Page 11

Published in Print: January 21, 2004, as Report Roundup
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