May 1, 1996

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Vol. 15, Issue 32
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You don't hear so much lately about the once-trendy notion of "break the mold" school designs. But the New American Schools Development Corporation quietly toils on as its seven design teams work to put their model schools into mass production.
The pressure is on. National and community leaders are sending signals to schools to get with the program and find ways to prepare schoolchildren to address the needs of a changing nation.
The idea that effective and exciting learning can happen throughout the community, not solely in the classroom, is enjoying something of a revival in American education. The school-to-work movement, national and community service, and service learning are integral parts of this rediscovery.
Once again, we have a new federal education plan: the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994. This time, the plan is jointly funded by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education and is heralded as the savior of American education. Advocates of this federal program claim that it is the remedy for all of society's ills, from poor citizenship and lazy or illiterate workers to spoiled and undisciplined children.
Middle school students visit a senior citizens' home once a week to discuss with the residents historical events such as the Great Depression, World War II, and Watergate. The result is a vivid, firsthand account of history that their textbooks could never convey. The students also learn about communicating with hearing-impaired people and about the natural aging process. The seniors find companionship and make a contribution to students' learning. This is service learning.
"Many of us don't realize how important it is to look around us once in a while and figure out what we can do to help the community, because basically it all comes back to us and our quest for success. And I must admit I am one of those people. You don't really realize that working to improve things ... is what's gonna help keep you going down the road. So that's basically what I'm looking for. A method to keeping my mind open to the community and to achieve my goals in life."
The poem fragment that gives writer Stephen O'Connor the name for his book, Will My Name Be Shouted Out?, was penned by a 17-year-old boy killed at a school in Brooklyn in 1992. "When I die, will I be thought about?" the boy wrote. "Will my name be shouted out?"
Many school districts are beginning or are in the midst of major upgrades of their technological infrastructure. President Clinton has called for computers in every classroom, yet most classrooms today look remarkably like they did 25 years ago.
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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