April 19, 1995

This Issue
Vol. 14, Issue 30
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Suspension and expulsion are becoming the weapons of choice in the battle to keep schools safe. States and school districts, prompted by a federal mandate to keep guns out of schools and an increasing public outcry about violence on campuses, are passing strict policies to oust students.
Amy Evans has only to say a few words before she marks herself as an outsider here. Although the jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains leap virtually from her backyard, her soft Southern accent speaks of magnolia blossoms and sweetened iced tea.
Rebuffing a novel legal argument with potentially broad implications, a judge ruled last week that the Connecticut constitution does not obligate the state to remedy school segregation it did not cause.
In a rare foray into the realm of secondary school athletics, lawyers have filed federal suits on behalf of high school girls in western Nebraska, alleging that their school districts have violated the federal law barring sex discrimination in education.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has agreed to take a leading role in restructuring some of the city's most troubled schools. In pledging to establish "Philadelphia Quest," a professional-development unit, the union staved off a program that would have replaced 75 percent of the teaching staff in failing schools.
An Ohio mayor's greeting to visiting French students has sent U.S. military veterans to the barricades.
Milestones April 19, 1995
Corrections April 19, 1995
News Update April 19, 1995
National News Roundup April 19, 1995
District News Roundup April 19, 1995
A California school district is headed to the state supreme court in hopes of escaping the fallout from a six-year-old bond deal that went awry. The 10,000-student Temecula Valley Unified district has petitioned the high court to overturn a lower court's ruling that denied repayment of more than $20 million to investors in bonds issued by the district.
The only school in Angle Inlet, Minn., may lose its state funding. If that happens, three little girls will face a 90-minute bus ride each morning to a school 65 miles away.
People Column April 19, 1995
Child-care centers that employ qualified workers in manageable settings can significantly improve a child's intellectual and emotional development, two studies released last week show.
District of Columbia union leaders said last week that they will oppose a plan by the city schools superintendent to tie the evaluations of teachers and principals to student achievement.
District of Columbia school officials found cause for both relief and alarm last week as the federal government appeared poised to impose strict new fiscal controls on their city.
Nearly two-thirds of elementary and middle school principals believe national subject-matter standards will not improve American education, according to a recent poll.
Health Update April 19, 1995
The comedian Rodney Dangerfield made a name for himself by complaining that he got no respect. Now an international study suggests that American teachers will no longer be able to do the same.
At a time of widespread skepticism about whether schools can do anything to prevent young people from using drugs, a study released here last week offers some hope.
School officials seeking guidance on how to defuse conflicts over religion in public education now have another resource. A coalition of religious and civil-liberties organizations, spearheaded by the American Jewish Congress, issued a six-page guide last week titled "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law."
Testing Column April 19, 1995
A $50 million gift to the New York City public schools has managed to simultaneously unify and divide a sprawling array of players in the nation's largest district.
Vermont lawmakers are moving to scale back an ambitious school-construction-aid program that they say the state can no longer afford.
Dozens of states are drafting new academic standards for what students should know and be able to do. But few states are experiencing the public controversy now raging in Virginia.
State Journal April 19, 1995
The Illinois legislature returns this week to another month's worth of work that may have a lot to say about the future of the Chicago school district.
The Kansas Senate has effectively killed a proposal that would have eliminated property taxes as a source of revenue for public schools. As the legislative session drew to a close last week, the Senate simply declined to act on the measure passed by the House earlier this month.
The Michigan board of education, charged by the legislature with approving a mandatory core curriculum for schools, has come up with another idea: Let schools choose for themselves what they want to teach.
The Clinton Administration's goal of connecting every classroom to the "information highway" could be riding on a controversial amendment to a telecommunications bill now pending in the Senate
In a closely watched case, a hearing officer for the Education Department has ruled that the state of Virginia must continue to provide educational services to special-education students who are expelled or suspended from school for reasons unrelated to their disabilities.
The Clinton Administration has toted up several victories for its standards-based education-reform strategy in recent weeks, as fence-sitting states have decided to participate--and only one state has firmly rejected it.
A national board that will spell out the skills needed for success in the workplace met for the first time here this month. Congress established the National Skill Standards Board last year as part of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. It is charged with devising a voluntary national system of skills standards and credentials.
When Sharon P. Robinson, the Education Department's assistant secretary for educational research and improvement, officially opened the National Library of Education here last week, the ceremony marked a dramatic rebirth for a facility that not long ago faced an uncertain future.
A proposal unveiled by the Clinton Administration last week would consolidate 23 separate vocational-education programs into a single grant, giving states greater flexibility over how to use the federal dollars.
News in Brief April 19, 1995
News In Brief April 19, 1995
Principal Juanita Lampi leans over to sniff Brian Nagle's outstretched hand. Several of Brian's schoolmates have disputed the 8th grader's claim that the last time he smoked a cigarette was nearly a week ago. So Lampi wants to smell for herself.
We are living in an era of experimental democracy. Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union struggle to form independent republics while Mexico and other Central American countries grapple with the consequences of a representative system.
It is easy enough to explain the continuing assault on America's children that passes as education policy nowadays: Kids are invisible and powerless. But it remains almost impossible to comprehend.
There is a radical--and wonderful--new idea in the air these days in at least some of our public conversations: the idea that every citizen is capable of the kind of intellectual competence previously attained by only a small minority of citizens.
I asked a young boy in Maine why he thought spending six hours a month in a homeless shelter was an important part of his 5th-grade lessons. "Because I used to think that homeless people were really different and frightening," he said. "Now I know that a lot of homeless people are like me inside, but things didn't work out for them somehow. I'm learning about what they need."
The turbulent political weather in Washington bodes ill for public education, especially urban school districts. The threatened rescission of federal funding for urban schools, not to mention the talk of eliminating the U.S. Education Department entirely, means it is show time at last for systemic school reform.
Is America committed to its public schools? Of course it is. I've always believed that and thought that everybody else did, too. If you ask Americans about their support, people usually say, yes, we need public schools.
The phrase "public engagement" has become a regular staple in the vocabulary of many leading educators, and I take particular delight in that.
Letters To the Editor April 19, 1995
Letters To The Editor April 19, 1995
Events April 19,1995
Our culture is marinated in behaviorism. At work, at school, and at home, we take for granted that the way to get things done is to dangle goodies in front of people. Thus, it seemed perfectly reasonable to observers across the political spectrum when Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in February inaugurated a national campaign to pay children to read.
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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