October 9, 1991

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Vol. 11, Issue 06
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Florida's education department, its state university system, and the national agency that accredits teacher-preparation programs have signed an unprecedented agreement to conduct joint reviews of teachers' colleges, using a similar set of standards.
WASHINGTON--Three researchers at a federally funded research center in New Mexico have sparked an uproar with a study of American education that concludes that policymakers and pundits who bemoan a systemwide crisis are both overstating and misstating the problem.
Educators and policymakers last week described the first national "report card" on education goals as a solid step on the road to school improvement.
Every year, Michael Connolly begins teaching his high-school students about Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas by asking them what they know about the famous explorer.
The National Education Association-Alaska has filed suit against the administration of Gov. Walter E. Hickel, charging that some state retirees are being treated unfairly by the Teachers Retirement System and the Public Employees Retirement System.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer of Maryland last week proposed to slice $23.4 million out of the state education budget as part of deep cuts throughout the state government aimed at closing a $450 million budget gap.
David Rutenberg, the 8-year-old Merion, Pa., boy who was severely burned in the plane crash that claimed two of his classmates and U.S. Senator John Heinz last April, has returned to class at Merion Elementary School.
The Duluth, Minn., school district has agreed to pay $15,000 and change its sexual-harassment policy to settle a complaint brought by the family of a girl who had regularly been the object of sexually explicit bathroom graffiti.
WASHINGTON--Children are shouldering an inordinate share of the nation's poverty, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
As Chicagoans cast their ballots Oct. 9 to elect new members of the councils that govern each of the city's 540 schools, they will choose from fewer than half the number of candidates who ran for the councils when they were first established in 1989.
While employers and higher-education officials are extremely critical of the quality of precollegiate education, business has not signifiicantly bolstered its training programs to make up for the shortfalls it finds in education, according to a new survey.
Robert G. Porter, who has served as secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers since 1963, will retire in August. For nearly 30 years, Mr. Porter has overseen the day-to-day operations of the union as it has grown from an organization with fewer than 50,000 members in the 1950's to its present membership of 750,000.
James B. Hunt Jr., the former North Carolina governor who chairs the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, took a campaignlike swing through the state last month and told Democratic audiences that he plans to run for governor next year.
CINCINNATI-- Jeff, a small blond child with a powerful set of lungs, does not want to go to school today. He makes his position very clear to anyone within earshot as his nurse carefully maneuvers his hospital bed into the classroom at Children's Hospital here.
DEKALB COUNTY, GA.--Daniel Buggs, a student-relations specialist for the DeKalb County school system, leads a group of 1st graders at Fairington Elementary School through a game of "Simon Says."
Enrollment in independent schools grew slightly last year, even in the face of the economic recession, according to a report from the National Association of Independent Schools.
WASHINGTON--The governing board of the National Assessment of Educational Progress has awarded a $1.3-million contract to American College Testing to develop standards for the 1992 NAEP assessments, the panel announced last week.
Five Minnesota school districts hope to finish plans this month for an unusual public-education program that would be included in a mammoth shopping mall under construction near the Twin Cities.
Only a fraction of the teachers working in the Timberlane school district today were around when N.E.A.-New Hampshire imposed sanctions against their local in the wake of a bitter strike in 1974.
After spending a year in the classroom, new teachers expressed significantly less faith in their ability to teach all of their students and to make a difference in those students' lives than they had before beginning their jobs, according to a survey to be released this week.
Negotiations between the United Federation of Teachers, whose contract expired Sept. 30, and the New York City school beard were halted last week after a five-minute session.
Although critics of American workers' skills often raise comparisons to Germany and Japan, a recent report argues that educators looking abroad for school-to-work training strategies would do better to study recent efforts in Australia and Britain.
WASHINGTON--Nine percent of 12 to 19-year-olds were victims of crime in their schools during six months in 1988 and 1989, with 2 percent of students in that age range victims of violent crime, a federal survey says.
The International Business Machines Corporation this month contributes to the events marking next fall's 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the Americas by unveiling an ambitious multimedia product chronicling the expedition's impact on European and indigenous cultures.
Nearly 60 percent of all high school students have used alcohol during the past month, and almost 4 in 10 have had more than five drinks on a single occasion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports.
To better tend the flocks of unsupervised children that have been turning libraries into de facto child-care centers in recent years, librarians should be educated about the characteristics and needs of these children and work with community groups to extend appropriate services, a new book advises.
The National Geographic Society's television specials return to the Public Broadcasting Service next month with "Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise," which examines the ecosystem of the 50th state.
The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund has granted the Institute for Literacy Studies $2.9 million to greatly expand its efforts to upgrade the teaching of writing.
The following statement of the National Council for the Social Studies on the Columbian Quincentenary is to be released this week.
As members of the National Education Goals Panel were placing their "wake-up call"to the nation on the state of educational performance last week, a number of governors and state education officials were presenting reports outlining how they plan to meet the ambitious targets for improvement.
Acting for the first time under a new, more rigorous set of standards, the Washington State Board of Education has disapproved the largest teacher-preparation program in the state.
State education spending reached $185 billion in fiscal 1990 and accounted for slightly less than one-third of all state spending, according to a summary of state finances released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Members of the New York State Board of Regents have decided to back off from an effort to put the panel on record in opposition to slurs against racial groups.
Public support for education reform and the taxes needed to pay for it--will be put to the test next week in Oklahoma, where voters are sot to decide the fate of a five-year, $2-billion school-reform and tax bill passed last year by the legislature.
Minnesota educators are pondering the potential impact of a little-discussed measure passed by the legislature that, for the first time, makes church-sponsored schools eligible to receive public funds for educating high-school dropouts and those at risk of dropping out.
An independent review panel has recommended changes in Louisiana's controversial teacher-evaluation program that include the return of a large measure of the process to local jurisdictions.
The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on education-related matters.
WASHINGTON--Democratic lawmakers last week questioned the use of $26,750 in Education Department funds to have a Presidential address to schoolchildren staged and taped by a private company under White House direction.
WASHINGTON--The first national statistical portrait of child-care settings since the mid-1970's illustrates the complex "tradeoffs that are being made as localities, providers, and parents weigh their child-care options," the new report concludes.
WASHINGTON--President Bush's call for deep reductions in the nation's nuclear arsenal has increased the already growing Congressional clamor to shift funds from defense to domestic programs, observers said last week.
TOPEKA, KAN.--When Ellen Brentine switched on her car radio last week after a frustrating day at West/Indianola Elementary School, the airwaves crackled with bad news.
WASHINGTON--The House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education last week decided to postpone for a week consideration of the two most ambitious proposals in a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, after it became clear that debate would be more contentious than sponsors had expected.
WASHINGTON--The Education Department last week awarded 18 grants totaling more than $7.6 million to school-leadership and teaching academies, calling the state and regional centers "essential parts" of the Bush Administration's education plan.
WASHINGTON--Garnering what appeared to be enough votes to override an expected Presidential veto, the Senate last week passed a compromise version of a bill that would require employers to grant workers unpaid, job-protected leave to care for infants or ill family members.
WASHINGTON--The Defense Department has issued $18.3 million in grants to bolster education, childcare, and family-support services to assist the families of reservists and National Guard personnel who served in the Persian Gulf war.
Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander has reorganized several offices within the Education Department, creating two new positions and upgrading two existing ones.
Legislative Action
In their Commentary, "Alternative Certification Is An Oxymoron" (Sept. 4, 1991), Arthur E. Wise and Linda Darling-Hammond accurately describe the tragic situation that exists in many of our nation's urban and rural public schools when they state that students in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods are frequently subjected to a steady stream of substitute teachers alternating with a revolving door of inexperienced, underprepared, unsupported recruits.
California's pace-setting effort to reshape and revitalize the teaching of social studies is the focus of a cover story in the Sept. 29, 1991, New York Times Magazine.
I don't know when relevance in education was invented, but it sure wasn't around when I was in elementary school 50 or so years ago. And I say, "Thank goodness!"
Why School Reform Is Not Succeeding, Discussion Teaching: Four Fundamentals
In a book to be released next week, the Harvard University researcher Howard Gardner, acclaimed for his theory of multiple intelligences, applies what is known about how the human mind develops to an assessment of current methods and practices in American schooling.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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