February 21, 1996

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Vol. 15, Issue 22
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Public schools have too easily accepted Afrocentric curricula based on pseudoscience and myth, a panel of predominantly African-American scientists told their colleagues here last week.
In the first of three speeches Vice President Al Gore delivered last week on the role of science and technology in American society, he criticized Congress for slashing spending on research, science, and technology.
Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, a co-director of the conservative think tank Empower America, last week endorsed former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, its other co-director, for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination and signed on as national chairman of Mr. Alexander's campaign.
It's a cold December evening in Washington. A light snow is falling, and over on Capitol Hill, members of Congress are debating whether to support President Clinton's decision to send 20,000 American troops to Bosnia. But here, amid the wood-paneled elegance of the Hay-Adams Hotel, a stone's throw from the White House, the atmosphere is warm and friendly. About 200 members of the education establishment have gathered in the hotel's John Hay Room to honor Albert Shanker, the longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers, on the 25th anniversary of his paid column, 'Where We Stand,' which runs every Sunday in The New York Times.
Not all educators are alike. More and more of us find ourselves dissenting from the established position' of the past three decades, positions that emphasize more money, complex federal programs, top-down regulations, and policies that defer to the interests of tho e in charge rather than tho e they are supposed to benefit-the children.
The Center for School Change, located at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute in Minneapolis, recently completed an intensive internal-review process marking its first five years--and pointing to the next five. The center's primary mission is to "help teams of educators, parents, and students transform existing public schools or create new ones, including charter public schools." Though this work centers on Minnesota schools, the CSC's impact--in terms of school-reform research and policy formation--reaches well beyond that state's borders. With new funding from the Annenberg and Blandin foundations, and expansion to a second Center for School Change created by the Graustein Memorial Fund in Connecticut, the ideas of this forum for promoting choice in public education are advancing. Below is an adapted excerpt from the CSC report "Looking Back, Moving Forward," which is available from the center at (612) 626-1834.
With the chalk in one hand and their backs to the slate board, American teachers' main technology can be said to be Neolithic. They write upon one rock with another.
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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