November 6, 1991
Vol. 11, Issue 10
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BLADENSBURG, MD--All eyes in Francois Lareuse's kindergarten class at Rogers Heights Elementary School here were glued to the little girl at the front of the room.
Not so many years ago, an elementary- or middle-school student eager to impress a classmate might have stuffed a live frog into the pocket of his windbreaker. Today, the object of choice might instead turn out to be a .32-caliber revolver.
DES MOINES--More than 700 people from 43 states and the District of Columbia gathered here last week for what was described as a "strategy session" to help achieve the six national education goals.
State education programs, which were largely spared from significant spending cuts in this year's austere budgets, can no longer be guaranteed immunity when the legislatures begin meeting again, fiscal experts warned last week.
WASHINGTON-- The House Education and Labor Committee's approval last month of compromise legislation that would allow school districts to use federal funds for private-school choice programs heralds a sea change on Capitol Hill, observers say.
Last winter's operation Desert Storm has turned into this fall's Thanksgiving harvest for schools, homeless shelters, and other organizations in need of aid.
A federal court has cleared the way for the Hillsborough County, Fla., school system, which includes Tampa, to dramatically change a school-desegregation plan the district adopted 20 years ago.
Teachers in Dade County, Fla., which has gained a reputation for its lucrative and innovative teachers' contracts, will vote this week on a new three-year agreement that focuses mainly on classroom conditions and contains no salary increases at all.
The Seattle City Council has voted to repeal Initiative 34, a measure passed by voters in 1989 that prevented the city government from spending money on public schools until the school beard ended mandatory busing.
A fact-finding report examining the Los Angeles Unified School District's financial condition urges employees to accept pay cuts this year to help the district avert bankruptcy, noting that a "conscious and consistent effort" by the district to raise its employees' salaries is a leading cause of its current budget problems.
Boston's bitter, five-week-old strike by school-bus drivers ended last week with an agreement that left city and union officials both claiming victory.
Moving swiftly to name a leader to carry on the district's path-breaking school-reform program, the Rochester, N.Y., board of education announced last week that it would appoint one of the system's top administrators, Manuel J. Rivera, to succeed Peter McWalters as superintendent.
NEW HAVEN, CONN.--Years ago, Carol Donovan and a group of like-minded teachers wrote a proposal to create an elementary school where students could work at their own pace, without being labeled as kindergartners or 3rd graders.
In January, Gov. Arne Carlson of Minnesota appointed Gene Mammenga as the state's commissioner of education. While such appointments seldom make headlines outside the state, Mr. Mammenga's selection drew interest around the country because of his somewhat unconventional route to the job.
WASHINGTON--The number of parents enrolling young children in child-care centers or preschool programs has risen dramatically in the past two decades, even among families in which the mother does not work outside the home, a report scheduled for release this week says.
WASHINGTON--A decision by the Federal Communications Commission to allow telephone companies to transmit television programs is a major step toward providing new telecommunications services to schools, according to industry spokesmen.
The University of Pennsylvania has failed to live up to its promise to provide 125 full-tuition scholarships a year to students from poor and working-class families in Philadelphia, according to a lawsuit filed last week.
NEW ORLEANS--Restrictive health-insurance policies and the high debt incurred by medical students will adversely affect the way health care is provided to children, a panel discussing the future of pediatrics said here last week.
Representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics will meet with business leaders early next year to determine what role business should play in child-health issues.
The amount of time devoted to arts education in the nation's schools is "totally inadequate," according to the first comprehensive national survey of school fine-arts programs in nearly two decades.
Schools in several Massachusetts communities are in "deplorable" condition and will not improve without emergency assistance and a long-term state effort to ensure that all districts have adequate funding, a state Department of Education panel has concluded.
Gov. Ned McWherter of Tennessee and his predecessor, U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, made another chummy joint appearance in Nashville recently, each praising the other's education-reform plans.
Massachusetts educators and politicians are busy these days laying the foundation for--and maneuvering for political advantage over--what could prove to be a major effort next year to overhaul the state's fiscally strained school system.
After making a number of changes aimed at increasing the chances of winning voter approval, sponsors of a ballot initiative that would enable California parents to send their children to public, private, or parochial schools at taxpayers' expense have formally filed a final version of their proposal.
Maryland would become only the third state to create an alternative route to the certification of principals that would allow non-educators to run schools, under a proposal considered last week by the state board of education.
Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado was to decide by late last week whether to sign a compromise school-finance bill or veto it and force another round of legislative deliberation.
All four former U.S. secretaries of education will participate this week in a discussion of education policy and the current state of education.
WASHINGTON--House and Senate conferees last week agreed to a $204.9 billion social-services spending bill for fiscal year 1992 that includes approximately $31.5 billion for Education Department programs.
WASHINGTON--Several members of the Congressional committees that oversee social-service spending last week criticized education lobbyists here for using what one member termed "pressure tactics" to protect education funding increases.
WASHINGTON--The Senate last week overwhelmingly approved a compromise civil-rights bill that would make it easier for employees to win job-discrimination suits.
WASHINGTON--The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee last week unanimously approved a bill that would make the Pell Grant an entitlement.
WASHINGTON--The House was poised late last week to give final approval to a bill allowing the Education Department to make early payments to impact-aid districts.
The House last week unexpectedly voted to declare child poverty a national emergency and to add more than $1.3 billion to programs aiding poor children.
PAGE 27 - Commentary
This time, when history prompted, our gift for improvising failed us. In June, my high-school graduating class--or part of it--held a 20th-year reunion. When I first heard that classmates who still lived in my hometown were organizing a gathering, I thought that, for reasons more compelling than social amusement, I might like to attend.
In 1985, one surprise best-selling book was crafted by the sociologist Robert N. Bellah and his colleagues from extensive interviews with fellow citizens on the forces that give meaning to their lives. The group of scholars have followed up their influential Habits of the Heart this year with a book that looks less at the personal codes and experiences than at the collective institutions that shape American life.
PAGE 36 - Commentary
Those opposed to alternative routes to teacher certification can stop the movement dead in its tracks. All they need do is start preparing teachers for all the children and youths of America.
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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