October 22, 1997

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Vol. 17, Issue 08
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The likely departure of the Indianapolis schools chief amounts to a watershed event for that district. Or not, depending on whom you ask.
For teachers across America, Independence Day fell a day later than usual this year. On July 5, by a decisive vote of its 9,300-delegate Representative Assembly, the National Education Association gave its blessing to local affiliates that seek to create peer-assistance and -review programs. For those of us who seek an end to the professional isolation of teachers--and to the insult of superficial, drive-by evaluations--this was a declaration of independence. Teachers were voting to take charge of their profession.
For those educators serious about taking up President Clinton's call for a yearlong dialogue on race, and I imagine some schools will take up this important challenge, one reality is extremely clear: Others have traveled this path before, and it is perhaps foolhardy not to take the marked trail.
The idea of "access" to higher education has been enshrined in rhetoric for three decades, during which time the number of undergraduates in the United States more than doubled, from 6 million to nearly 13 million, while the proportion of college students completing degrees of any kind remained flat. This contrast strongly suggests that "access" may not be the word we need in 1997.
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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