March 18, 1992

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Vol. 11, Issue 26
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Once educators in his community decided he was gifted, Marcus Simpson began to do wonderful things in school. He created inventions, spent hours working on complex problems, and visited with a local television station to find out how weather reports are produced.
The Duluth, Minn., school board last week entered into an unprecedented agreement with a for-profit school-management firm to provide the district with an interim superintendent of schools.
WASHINGTON-Citing the need to be able to track student performance over time, the National Assessment Governing Board has adopted a scaled-back version of a proposed revision of its mathematics assessment.
WASHINGTON--Young people with disabilities are meeting with "mixed success" as they struggle through high school and search for meaningful, well-paid employment, data from three new federal studies indicate.
Inspired by a report estimating that public schools waste $1.85 billion in energy costs each year, a loose coalition of education groups, businesses, and federal agencies has undertaken a campaign to urge school leaders to invest in making their buildings more energy-efficient.
The four largest universities in Iowa announced last week that they were removing their teacher-preparation programs from the national accreditation process.
NEW YORK CITY--Communication problems, power struggles, and the red tape created by government regulations and school administrators are the major barriers to evaluating the effectiveness of grants to education, foundation officials and educators said at a conference here this month.
The Detroit Board of Education is slated to vote next week on a plan that would give teachers, parents, and students at individual schools substantial control over their educational programs, budgets, and resources--including the right to purchase services from vendors other than the central administration.
NEW YORK CITY--Sound like a group of middle-aged foundation officers, clustered around an oak conference table in their ornate Park Avenue office? Yes, these are the voices of foundation officers, but they are not run-of-the-mill ones by any means.
School driver-education programs foster sexist stereotypes of women, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has concluded.
Social-studies textbooks have long borne the brunt of criticism aimed at classroom materials. Attacked as bland, "dumbed down," and superficial, the books have also come under fire from representatives of minority groups, who complain that the books ignore the contributions of their cultures.
A federal judge has questioned the constitutionality of two New York State programs that loan computer software and library books to nonpublic schools, including religious institutions.
As part of its ongoing Promoting Independent Education Project, the National Association of Independent Schools this month released two publications aimed at helping parents find out more about independent schools.
Apple Computer Inc. has unveiled a working prototype of a Macintosh personal computer that appears to greatly advance the capability of computers to recognize and respond to commands in spoken English.
Nearly three-fifths of school districts administer commercially available standardized tests annually to almost every pupil in grades K-12, and more than three-fourths administer such tests I each year to pupils in grades K-9, a survey has found.
Welfare-to-work programs can be I "powerful catalysts" to improve the health and educational outcomes of children as well as the employment status of their parents, a new report, from the Foundation for Child Development concludes.
Building on the successes of Head Start and a state preschool program, New Jersey has launched an effort to expand the reach and scope of early-education services for urban poor children and ensure that elementary schools help them to sustain their preschool gains.
WASHINGTON-The Education Department and the National Assessment Governing Board have signed an agreement affirming the board's status as an independent agency.
WASHINGTON-Arriving at common ground in one of the most fractious fields in education, a group of educators and public officials has developed a draft framework for the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress test in U.S. history.
Stymied for nearly a decade in their attempts to mandate collective bargaining in every state, the nation's teachers' unions have made a breakthrough in New Mexico with the passage of a law that allows teachers and other public-sector employees to negotiate as a unit.
After dropping a pair of controversial proposals aimed at making it easier for school districts to raise funds locally, the California legislature last week approved a $1.9-billion school-bond issue on the state's June 2 ballot.
Ohio and Georgia officials have become enmeshed in legal battles with school districts over who should foot the bill for rising school desegregation costs.
The Oklahoma anti-tax activists who failed last October to force repeal of a massive school-reform and tax-increase law celebrated victory last week, after state voters passed a ballot initiative limiting the legislature's ability to raise taxes.
Gov. L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia has backed off one of his pet projects in order to help fund an $80-million package of additional aid to school districts in poor communities.
A $5-million difference in education funding has touched off a bitter partisan dispute between Idaho's Democratic Governor and Republican legislative leaders.
Digger Phelps, the former basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame, apparently was seeking a job in the Education Department last year, and officials confirmed he was being considered for an advisory post.
WASHINGTON-The General Accounting Office last week issued a stinging rebuke to the National Assessment Governing Board over its effort to set standards for student performance.
WASHINGTON--A Senate subcommittee last week unanimously approved legislation to reorganize and expand the Education Department's office of educational research and improvement, although less dramatically than would a comparable House measure.
WASHINGTON--A bill to reauthorize federal funding for public broadcasting has ignited a sharp legislative debate over a perceived liberal bias in programming and a lack of accountability for federal dollars, including those going to children's shows.
WASHINGTON--Amid continuing criticism that music and the arts have been left out of national education-reform efforts, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander earlier this month disclosed his intention to form a national "partnership" to strengthen schooling in those subjects.
WASHINGTON-Schools located in radon "hot spots" would be required to test for the presence of the odorless, colorless gas in their buildings, under a bill adopted by the Senate last week.
WASHINGTON-A request by the Internal Revenue Service for scholarship records from Harvard University has raised the possibility that the agency may be more closely scrutinizing students' compliance with a law making some scholarship money subject to federal income taxes.
WASHINGTON--House Democrats, apparently unsure whether they had enough support, last week postponed a vote on legislation that would permit funds to be transferred among defense, domestic, and international accounts and thus allow more generous funding for education.
The Rutgers University sociologists Jackson Toby and David J. Armour suggest in the Winter 1992 issue of The Public Interest that the General Educational Development program offers greater benefits in the long run than most high-school dropout programs because it appeals to the motivated:
What you are about to read I shall call the lamentations of an Unhappy Warrior-make that the tired Unhappy Warrior. Like Don Quixote, I am weary of fighting the battle, I am fatigued from trying to uphold standards, and I am exhausted from pulling the slings and arrows from my back daily. I am an ex-superintendent of schools who has left the arena of public service for the relative calm of running my own business.
If you can't do simple math, maybe you can become a public-school superintendent. No basic math skill is required for this job that pays a six-digit annual salary plus generous benefits. Not bad in a time of high unemployment for white-collar workers.
When three Washington-based research and consulting organizations, backed by five leading foundations, launched the "Superintendents Prepared" program this year (''Foundations Seek Th Expand Pool of City School Chiefs," Education Week, Feb. 5, 1992), I wonder whether they considered an alternative: abolishing the troubled office completely.
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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