November 25, 1998

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Vol. 18, Issue 13
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Cockroaches may make most people's skin crawl, but it's the pesticides many schools use to kill them that Kimberly Boyd wants to avoid.

The first teachers to be fired under North Carolina's 2-year-old accountability program are fighting their dismissals and, in the process, providing an early illustration of the struggles that may lie ahead as states push administrators and teachers to take more responsibility for student achievement.
Nearly every teacher, parent, and student across the United States is familiar with the fund-raising hullabaloo that grips most schools in the fall and spring. But not everyone is buying into the product-selling ritual.

The school-to-work reform movement doesn't stand a strong chance of surviving after the federal money for it winds down in 2001, predicts an evaluation that will soon be released to Congress.

Because sexual misconduct by educators is a little-studied topic nationally, no one knows what proportion of it is committed by women. Yet an examination of recent cases around the country suggests that women play a significant, if decidedly secondary, role in such abuse.

When Alaska legislators asked all 53 school districts in their state to incorporate parent feedback into their teacher evaluations, the largest district took the message to heart.

Percentage of the population that has completed at least an upper-secondary education, by age group (1996).
For the first time in decades, there will be no members of the National Honor Society next spring among the 850 or so graduates of Waubonsie Valley High School in suburban Chicago.
The United States is falling behind other economic powers in one category that defines an educated workforce: the high school graduation rate.
A federal appeals court last week struck down an affirmative action plan governing student admissions at the Boston Latin School, a prestigious public high school that has been at the center of the debate over racial preferences.
Departments
To settle a lawsuit brought by a group of parents, the San Antonio school district has agreed to destroy surveys completed by high school students this fall.
Mourning the loss of their popular superintendent, John Henry Stanford, school leaders in Seattle have pledged to keep his legacy alive.
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Students using vouchers to attend established private schools in Cleveland are slightly outperforming their public school counterparts in language skills and science, and doing about the same in reading, math, and social studies, according to the latest independent evaluation of the program.
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Students who spend hundreds of dollars for courses preparing for the SAT don't get much for their money, research underwritten by the group that sponsors the test concludes.
A longtime educator credited with raising achievement at several of New York City's worst schools has been named the new head of the Cleveland school system.
Departments
After four years of struggling against a divided and sometimes uncooperative school board, San Antonio Superintendent Diana Lam has thrown in the towel.

Court Finds Disabled Girl
Not Discriminated Against


Mass. School Board OKs Limits
For Bilingual Ed.


Class-Size-Reduction Plan Approved
For L.A. Schools

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A recently ratified teachers' contract in Chicago promises to make the next several Septembers as forgettable as the last few: no strikes, no heated picket lines, and no delayed school openings.
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Utah teacher who claimed she was denied a coaching position after her school's administrators learned she is a lesbian.
Although the majority of students performed poorly on Massachusetts' first standardized assessment aligned with the state's new standards, few school officials there say they will worry just yet.
Students at St. Aloysius now have access to the Internet at school, and they have the state of Wisconsin to thank.
A task force of teachers is urging the Jefferson County, Ky., school district to integrate its schools based on students' socioeconomic status and "at risk" characteristics rather than race.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, a survey of what parents want schools to teach about the United States reveals an appreciation for the American system of government, the personal freedoms afforded citizens, and a traditional view of the nation's history.
The medical community is still unclear about the best way to diagnose and treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the National Institutes of Health said last week. More than 2 million schoolchildren have ADHD, and many of them take strong medications to control their behavior.
Schools that want to have their own presence in cyberspace without taxing school budgets are finding a number of companies willing to help.

Federal Agency To Send Anti-Drug Materials to All Middle Schools: Every middle school in America is about to get a hefty dose of drug-abuse-prevention materials, courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

While policymakers and pundits hotly debate the merits of vouchers, national tests, and limiting class sizes, the American public is more interested in the qualifications of the people who work most closely with students, a survey shows.

A legal battle in Virginia is pitting a teenager's wish to attend public high school against her parents' desire that she be educated at home.
At a time when many politicians and educators are criticizing college-level remedial classes as expensive and inappropriate, a study released last week finds such help is a "core function" of higher education and proclaims it a "good investment" for society.

Not every parent can make it to every concert of a child's school choir or band. But parents and other fans of young musicians in the Clark County, Nev., schools have a unusual alternative: If they can't be there in person--and if they have a computer linked to the Internet--they can hear live concerts on-line.

Mass. Union Suggests Ways
To Improve Teachers
: As a storm continues to rage around the state's new licensing exam for prospective educators, a Massachusetts teachers' union is calling for a broader approach toward improving teacher quality--including an end to the traditional undergraduate education program.
Departments
The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared," and that apparently includes adapting to life in the late 1990s.
More than 36 million copies of The Boy Scout Handbook have been printed since the first edition in 1910, which included an illustration of a Boy Scout helping an elderly woman cross a street. One requirement to become a First Class Scout at the time: be able to stop a runaway horse. Later editions of the manual were also representative of their times, as the following examples show:
Charter schools in California have not yet lived up to many of their promises, a team of university researchers concludes in a new study.
In a survey of parents and the public, the following percentages of respondents said they agreed with these statements.

Toronto

International Cooperation Focus of NAEYC Conference: More than 20,000 educators from several nations gathered here recently to discuss international approaches to improving early-childhood education.

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New York state's annual compilation of its lowest-performing schools places nearly 10 percent of New York City's schools at risk of being shut down, prompting criticism that too many city schools are being left behind.
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The upcoming session of the New Hampshire legislature should reveal whether the just-concluded November elections will change the state's response to the challenge of financing public education.
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Looming fiscal trouble in a number of states could inhibit current and future efforts to improve their public schools, a report from the National Education Association concludes.

New Orleans

Teacher quality and children's literacy emerged as prominent issues during the featured policy discussion at last week's annual conference of the Republican Governors Association.

When the General Accounting Office tried to verify statistics from the Department of Labor on the success of its Job Corps program, it found some sloppy work.

Departments

The Title I administrators gathered here on a chilly November morning were eager to talk about what's working in the federal government's largest K-12 program and what Congress should change next year.


Tirozzi To Take Top Job at NASSP

Gerald N. Tirozzi, the Department of Education's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, will leave the post in March to join the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Union members may sue their employers in discrimination cases even if their labor contracts contain general language requiring such disputes to be submitted to arbitration, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week.

Departments
Owning up to his campaign promise to make education a top priority, Gov.-elect Gray Davis of California plans to convene a special legislative session on schools after he is sworn in next month.
The two school buildings in the Langdon district in northern North Dakota are typical of many others built in the state nearly three decades ago. In both, glass around the classroom doorways allows natural light to penetrate the schools' sheltered corridors.
New Jersey lawmakers and Commissioner of Education Leo F. Klagholz are working out the finer points of a proposal that would allow students to attend schools outside their home districts, tuition-free, as early as next September.
Colorado districts that failed to raise student scores on state tests and fell short in other school performance areas would lose their accreditation, under a proposal the state school board is to vote on this week.
Departments
Wash. Education Department; Arizona Postpones Exit Exam; Texas Agency Finds Dallas Errors
Eight months after fining the state's largest teachers' union for campaign-finance violations, the Washington state attorney general's office has been fined for allegedly dragging its feet in releasing information about the affair.

N.H. Court Won't Extend
School Funding Deadline

New Hampshire's highest court has denied the governor and the legislature a two-year extension to fix the state's school funding system.

As blinding lights bear down on the guests in a hotel ballroom's makeshift studio, the camera crews hastily position their equipment for the live broadcast and a chirpy talk-show moderator greets the 100 or so audience members.

Departments

Heading into his last term in Congress, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is moving to take a stronger-than-expected role in updating the law that governs most federal elementary and secondary school programs.

Three thousand and sixty letters were on the way to school and library mailboxes last week, bearing news their recipients have waited a long time to hear: You are getting your "E-rate" discount.

Departments

Washington

When the National Research Council called the process of setting achievement levels for the nation's report card "fundamentally flawed" in a recent report, it provided only sketchy details on how to make the system better.

The office charged with enforcing civil rights laws for the Department of Education has overstepped its mandate and pressured schools to use or expand bilingual education, says a report from a Washington-based think tank that opposes such classes.

Federal taxpayers will spend $2 million in fiscal 1999 to archive former Sen. Bob Dole's papers at the University of Kansas, and that, says one budget watchdog, is an example of higher education "pork."

Riding the wave of the gop 's congressional takeover in the 1994 elections and spurred by a budget-conscious House majority, Republicans vowed to streamline education and the rest of big government, even to the point of targeting 80 programs for elimination and threatening to abolish the Department of Education.

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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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