September 7, 1981
Washington--Details of a tightly-guarded memorandum on the future of the U.S.
Education Department--sent to the White House early last month by
Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell--offer a precise blueprint not
only for downgrading the year-old department to the status of a
sub-Cabinet-level foundation, but also for engineering a fundamental
realignment of the federal role in American education.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, La., in the
home state of an antibusing stalwart, U. S.
Senator Bennett Johnston, approximately
13,000 students rode buses last Monday to the
district's 67 newly desegregated elementary
The pros and cons of minimum-competency testing will be debated in a four-part weekly television series to be aired over PBS stations beginning Sept. 17.
There are probably more private schools than official records indicate, they have probably been growing at a faster rate than estimated, and most of that growth has been accounted for by small fundamentalist Christian academies.
Ten years after the first major national report on the effects of television violence, its author says the influence of television on children is now so pervasive that "the critical question is no longer, should something be done, but what that something should be."
Just as the Reagan Administration is moving to transfer more responsibility for education to the states, a soon-to-be-released study suggests that state legislators may be losing interest in making education policy.
Ohio Governor James Rhodes, a Republican
who built his political reputation on keeping
his state's taxes among the lowest in the country,
says he will support a tax increase for
1982 if it is the only way to maintain the current
quality of public schools and universities.
The Chicago schools will open this week
after all, on a $1.8-billion budget wrestled into
balance with a variety of budget cuts, onetime
revenues, and the power of the mayor's
office. The district, which is forbidden by state
law to open its schools without a balanced
budget, passed the last major obstacle
Wednesday, when the finance authority approved
its spending plan for this school year.
Two officials of the Cleveland public-school
system were jailed briefly last week for holding
up the paychecks of some 30 employees in
the system's desegregation department.
Despite six months of unrelenting criticism,
including three days of private grillings in
late July by some of the nation's top statisticians
and education researchers, sociologist
James S. Coleman says he stands by his contention
that in general private high schools do
a better job of educating students regardless of
their backgrounds than do public schools.
More than any other scholar--and perhaps
more, even, than any one public official--James
S. Coleman has influenced the policies
that have changed America's schools over the
past two turbulent decades.
Washington--The question of how effective the nation's schools and colleges are--a topic currently debated among education researchers--will also be looked into over the next year and a half by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
The 18-member National Commission on Excellence in Education, chaired by David P. Gardner, president of the University of Utah, will recommend ways to improve the achievement of American students. But, predicted Education Secretary Terrel H. Bell last month in announcing establishment of the commission, the group's recommendations will include neither increased federal spending nor the development of national standards of educational achievement.
Washington--The Reagan Administration announced last week that it will seek an additional $13 billion in 1982 budget cuts, including $2.65 billion in education reductions, beyond those agreed to by Congress during the budget-authorization process in July.
The legislative report for this week.
Following are excerpts of a memorandum recommending changes in both the structure and philosophy of the federal involvement in American education. The document was sent last month by Education Secretary Terrel H. Bell to the White House for review and reactions.
Barring an unexpected--and unlikely--resolution to the city's financial crisis, about 13,000 Philadelphia teachers will be out on strike as of Sept. 8. In a Sept. 1 vote, union members reaffirmed the leadership's right to call a strike as necessary.
In a year of budget-cutting, financial
crisis, and reductions in teaching
positions for school systems
across the nation, the rituals of collective
bargaining pose new dilemmas.
Philadelphia--The National Teacher Examination, taken by nearly half of last year's prospective teachers, will undergo a major revision intended to counter charges of cultural bias. The revisions, which will take effect in November 1982, could make the test more difficult and encourage more testing of teacher candidates at a time when an increasing number of states are using competency tests as a criterion for teacher certification.
Not nearly as many teachers will
be out of jobs this fall as some earlier
estimates indicated, but declining
enrollments and local budget constraints
are taking a toll on the work
force in some parts of the country.
After being deemed "unacceptable"
for the past six years by the
Mississippi Textbook Purchasing
Board, but "acceptable" by a federal
court last year, a controversial textbook
on the history of the state is finally
finding its way into Mississippi's
ninth grade classrooms.
Under mounting pressure to
make do with fewer dollars while simultaneously
most superintendents and school
boards have been desperately
searching for the least painful ways
to reduce spending.
NEW YORK--Bassam Z. Shakhashiri
was demonstrating how to conduct
a lab demonstration. His audience
was a ballroom-full of high school
chemistry teachers, who were
attending the American Chemical
Society's (A.C.S.) High School Chemistry
Following are the recommendations of Limiting What Students Shall Read: Books and Other Learning Materials in Our Public Schools, How They are Selected and How They Are Removed. The report is based on a survey of school officials conducted by the the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Washington--Written policies governing the selection and review of books and other learning materials may help school systems resolve conflicts over those materials without restricting what students may read.
High school graduates of the class of 1980
were significantly more interested in making
money and less concerned about working to
correct social and economic injustices than
their 1972 counterparts, according to a recently
released survey by the National Center for
Education Statistics (N.C.E.S.)
At the recent meeting of Chief State School Officers and State Higher Education Officers, I believe steps were finally taken that hold promise for ending the critical barriers that so unnecessarily divide us in education.
There is a game of educational pinball currently being played in the schools of Massachusetts and, I suspect, elsewhere, that in the long run will be more detrimental to education than any financial burdens imposed by such tax-limitation measures as Massachusetts' Proposition 2.
Robert D. Barr, director of teacher education and extended services in the school of education at Indiana University at Bloomington, to dean of the school of education at Oregon State University, effective Jan. 2, 1982.
A. Richard Belding, business manager and director of development at Trinity School, Midland, Tex., to business manager and director of business services at the National Association of Independent Schools.
PAGE 24 - Opinion
What is it about the scholarship of James Coleman that so often makes him the target of calumny, denunciation, and unprofessorial mudslinging by his fellow social scientists, even as he is lionized in the popular press, asked to speak to distinguished gatherings, and invited to testify before Congressional committees?