May 26, 1999
The April 20 shootings at Columbine High School have touched off a wave of bomb scares and threats of violence against schools that experts say is unprecedented in its intensity and duration.
When a 10th grader doodled a map of his New Mexico high school--complete with escape routes, bomb blasts, and booby traps--it sent a classmate running for a teacher and set off a series of disciplinary measures that left the young artist suspended and facing felony charges.
The entrance to Main Hall is boarded up, cordoned off by yellow construction tape and plywood fencing. Inside, signs warn: "Danger. Construction Area. Keep Out."
A far-reaching plan unveiled by the Clinton administration last week would greatly expand the accountability demands on states and school districts that receive federal K-12 education dollars.
The federal commissioner of education statistics unexpectedly announced his resignation last week after the White House refused to support his renomination because he failed to meet income-tax deadlines for eight consecutive years.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will spend $13 million over the next four years in an effort to broaden the use of service-learning curricula in schools.
Flap Over Teacher Bonuses Resolved
In North Carolina
If members of minority groups typically score lower on a standardized test than their peers, schools and colleges shouldn't use it in granting admission, determining student placement, or awarding scholarships except under very limited circumstances, according to a draft resource guide from the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights.
A federal appeals court has struck down a Florida school district's policy allowing students to deliver opening and closing messages at graduation ceremonies. The guidelines were a "wink and a nod" way of permitting prayer, the court said.
Washington zeroed in on school violence last week, as President Clinton traveled to the Colorado high school where 15 people were slain last month and victims of such violence gathered on Capitol Hill to speak to lawmakers.
Leave Standards in Place
Minnesota's controversial graduation standards will remain in place, after state lawmakers were unable to reach a compromise on how and whether to modify them. ("Minnesota Weighs Profile of Learning's Fate," May 12, 1999.)
A new tracking system in Texas has produced the most detailed report yet on where the state's students go when they don't return to their schools, though the picture in some districts remains fuzzy.
The Clinton administration is hoping this year to raise substantially the amount of federal education dollars distributed on a competitive basis. Such a move would build on a category of federal spending that, while still relatively small, has grown rapidly in the past few years.
Channel One was attacked in a Senate committee hearing last week as "the most brazen marketing ploy in the history of the United States."
Senate Passes Juvenile-Justice Bill
The Senate easily passed a broad-based juvenile-justice bill by a vote of 73-25 last Thursday, but only after Democratic lawmakers succeeded in squeaking though a series of gun-control measures that Republican leaders had spurned earlier in the week.
Vice President Al Gore has mapped out an education agenda that, perhaps not surprisingly, closely resembles President Clinton's ideas on teacher quality.
Following are major provisions of the administration's proposal for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:
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