September 4, 1996

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Vol. 16, Issue 01
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The educational rights of girls and women, so recently won, are already at risk. Only 20 years after women were allowed to attend Ivy League schools, only days before the Citadel finally opened its tax-supported doors to women, and despite a mountain of research documenting the gender gap in schools, the conservative backlash against women is in full swing.
You'll have to excuse the brevity of this response to the recent General Accounting Office report that America has 80,000 public schools in disrepair. (See "Schools in All States Need Repair, Report Says", July 10, 1996.) The reason I don't have much time to write is because the parents and staff at our public charter school have been spending our summer repairing, repainting, re-landscaping, repaving, and cleaning up our site. We figured we had a choice to make (and it's the same choice I've made at four previous schools I've fixed up during the last 16 years). Our choices were the same ones that every school in disrepair faces: Continue to whine and gripe about the lack of government funding while our schools remain humiliating testaments to indifference and neglect, or ante up a few bucks each out of our own pockets, contact a few local businesses for support, and commit large amounts of our own "sweat equity" to fixing the buildings ourselves.
What do public school superintendents talk about when they get together? In July, we had a chance to find out when about 60 practitioners of this beleaguered calling from all parts of the nation gathered at Teachers College, Columbia University, for some R&R and reflection on the parlous state of the schools they lead.
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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