April 29, 1992

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Vol. 11, Issue 32
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PORTSMOUTH, N.H.--For the Educators, parents, and students of this charming port city, the end of the Cold War has meant not only an epochal shift in world geopolitics, but also a drastic educational upheaval.
WASHINGTON--Between 40 percent and 50 percent of all students with disabilities are excluded from the sampling procedures used in some of the most prominent surveys and assessments used to measure the nation's educational well-being, according to a new study.
Last July, Massachusetts abolished the nation's first elected school board.
Kindergartners will not have to face a familiar rite of passage in Minneapolis this spring: a 20-minute test that could determine whether they enter the 1st grade.
MIAMI--Business involvement in the public schools is being taken a step further at the Corporate Academy here.
Public-school boards have over most of their history faced challenges from education professionals on the one hand and from larger units of government on the other.
The nation's Catholic schools appear more successful than public schools at closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged 8th-grade students, according to a study released here last week during the annual convention of the National Catholic Educational Association.
Boston University will open a private high school in the fall of 1993 that will require students to complete their first year of college coursework during their senior year, university officials announced last week.
A Florida group that opposes the state's child-welfare policies promoted its cause this month with an advertisement that accuses state officials and child-welfare advocates of "kidnapping" hundreds of children whose parents spank or scold them.
In 1990, the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, a project of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, created the Task Force on Youth Development and Community Programs.
Significant improvements in education will occur only when the education system is redesigned to place the primary focus on the learner, a draft document from the American Psychological Association states.
GAINESVILLE, FLA.--On many questions related to school finance, Craig Wood is quick to note there are no sure answers. After explaining how state.
The Channel One classroom television news show did not significantly increase the current-events knowledge of most high-school student viewers, according to the results of a one-year study released last week.
A new national study suggests that young women with disabilities face more dismal prospects for life after high school than do their male counterparts.
The National School Boards Association and its state affiliates have not exactly made names for themselves as reformers.
WASHINGTON--Providing new ammunition for the nation's telephone companies in their quest to revise federal laws to gain access to the lucrative video programming market, a national polling organization reports that educators it surveyed endorse the establishment of a nationwide fiber-optic-based telecommunications system.
SAN FRANCISCO--Despite their higher levels of achievement in 10th grade compared with 8th grade, many students may be academically ill-prepared for the transition to high school, data from a massive federal survey suggest.
Rape is a "tragedy of youth," with girls younger than 18 years old accounting for more than 60 percent of all victims, according to a federally funded survey released last week.
The notion that smarter graduates I are needed to meet the demands of rural economic development is not justifiable by economic data, which instead suggest that the trend toward high-skill jobs is far from reaching rural areas, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute.
WASHINGTON--Extensive new data from federal health officials confirm what other smaller studies have shown: Pregnant women who smoke are much more likely than nonsmokers to deliver low-birthweight babies.
The financial crisis that many urban districts face has focused renewed attention on the pay, perquisites, and spending of school-board members.
Officials at the City University of New York have proposed what is believed to be the nation's first tuition program that would provide a free final semester of education to graduating seniors.
A growing percentage of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, according to data from the 1990 U.S. Census.
WASHINGTON--Teachers often do not know when students come from a home where a language other than English is spoken, a recently released federal study concludes.
While the problems in Dallas have been laid out for all to see, those facing Parsippany-Troy Hills, N.J., are not the kind that make newspaper headlines. But the moderately sized, moderately well-functioning school system is grappling with many of the same issues that confront suburban and small-town school boards nationwide.
Many of the criticisms that have been leveled at big-city school boards have been thoroughly documented in the Dallas Independent School District. In fact, the Texas Education Agency was so appalled at what it found in Dallas that last August it appointed a special monitor to help the school board clean up its act. Now, the board is struggling to surmount its difficulties.
WASHINGTON--While Portsmouth, N.H., educators had to contend with major uncertainties over the effects of the closing of their local military base, U.s. Education Department officials may be facing even bigger questions about how upcoming base closures will affect the impact-aid program and the school districts that have come to depend on it.
I n 1989, after a bitter teachers' strike, United Teachers of Los Angeles campaigned hard to get four candidates who were sympathetic to the union's views elected to the board of education.
In a move that will make health insurance available to thousands of uninsured children and their families, Minnesota lawmakers have adopted a sweeping health-insurance- reform bill.
The health of state budgets continued to decline for the third straight year and year-end balances are expected to near rock bottom, according to a report issued last week by the National Governors' Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.
The nation' "largest and most ambitious" state effort to move welfare recipients into employment led to decreases in welfare spending and increases in earnings after just one year, a new study shows.
AB Iowa legislators struggled late last week to determine how state funds should be divided in a lean new fiscal year, one of few certainties in the budgeting process was that the schools will lose some of their share.
A growing number of states have begun requiring school-board members to undergo formal training in an effort to improve local education governance.
Thanks to some deft maneuvering by Gov. Zell Miller, Georgia has enacted a law earmarking $50 million to establish an advanced telecommunications network to link rural schools with urban colleges and universities and interconnect the state's hospitals.
The state of Missouri will have the authority to annex "financially stressed" school districts to head off bankruptcy and to take steps to transfer students from bankrupt districts into fiscally solvent adjacent ones, under legislation enacted this month.
LONGMONT,COLO.--For William M. Soult, a member of the St. Vrain Valley Board of Education, Feb. 10 as just another routine day.
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week in the closely-watched challenge to a Pennsylvania law placing restrictions on abortion, including the requirement that minors obtain the "informed consent" of one parent or a judge's permission before ending their pregnancy.
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court last week set aside a 1989 appellate-court ruling that the Topeka, Kan., school system had not yet met its duty to desegregate more than 30 years after its central role in the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision.
William J. Bennett may no longer have a governmental soapbox, but he is still outspoken. The former Secretary of Education has surfaced frequently this year, commenting on the Presidential campaign and promoting his new book, The Devaluing of America.
WASHINGTON--At a time when state finances have been racked by the recession, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a number of cases that could have major implications--either adverse or positive for state tax revenues.
WASHINGTON--The chairmen of eight Congressional committees last week asked Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander to refrain from issuing final regulations on race-exclusive scholarships until after he has reviewed a General Accounting Office study on the matter that is now under way.
On April 7, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander spoke to a group of reporters, and The Washington Post quoted him as saying that education would not be a major campaign issue because President Bush and the probable Democratic nominee, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, generally agree on the subject.
Although many policymakers and practitioners agree that school boards need to be fixed, they are far from reaching a consensus on the solution.
WASHINGTON--As part of the Bush Administration's "war on crime," the Justice Department is contemplating steps to enhance the federal government's ability to prosecute juvenile offenders.
While school boards seldom initiate innovations, researchers who have studied school change have found, they are crucial to ensuring that they are carried out.
BALTIMORE--Seventeen national organizations in the mental-health and special-education fields are proposing, for the first time in nearly 17 years, that the federal definition o "emotionally disturbed" children be changed.
In 1989, the struggle by a group of Kentucky school boards to overhaul the state's school-finance system was rewarded with a landmark supreme-court decision that forced the state to throw out its entire public education infrastructure and start over.
In 1940, Kentucky law deemed Rudolph Turner qualified for a seat on the Owsley County school board. He had turned 24. He ran, and won.
Over the past decade, a torrent of major reports have focused on the problem of improving public education and services to children and families.
A 13-gear-old girl's view of the ghetto has become a bestseller for Landmark Editions Inc., which discovered the moving (and sometimes harrowing) manuscript in its "Written and illustrated by ..." contest for schoolchildren.
During the three years from 1987 until 1990, I spent considerable time with 117 notable Americans, gleaning from their writings ideas about what makes a great teacher. These individuals have all made extraordinary contributions to their chosen fields as well as to the American culture. In many cases, they had influence throughout the world.
Books: New in Print
In a recent essay by Richard Sagor entitled 'The False Premises of Strategic Planning" (Commentary, April 1, 1992), the author essentially contends that if we just make "reform in the current system," all will be well in America's educational future. Only the proverbial Rip Van Winkle emerging from two decades of blissful somnolence would make such a claim, given the failure of reform during the 70's and 80's inherent in merely rearranging the deck chairs on the educational ship of state.
New York City's public schools are reflections of the neighborhoods in which they exist. Often school supervisors and administrators have to resort to "street savvy" to keep their school buildings safe as more and more they come to resemble the mean streets that surround them (" This Has To Stop': Coping in the Middle of a War Zone at Jefferson High," March 25, 1992).
A verbal confusion is muddying the debate about a national system of standards and assessments: The words "tests" and "assessments" are being used as if they were synonymous. Because the word "test" fits better into headlines, the press is particularly prone to this confusion. It has to be cleared up if there is to be any clarity about what we can expect from national standards and assessments.
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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