June 16, 1999

This Issue
Vol. 18, Issue 40
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Faced with what they fear will be monumental cuts in federal funding, education groups, the White House, and some congressional Republicans are looking for a way to wiggle out of the tight budget framework set for the coming fiscal year.

In January, Spencer Frost broke his leg playing basketball for his high school team in Waterford, Wis.

After squabbles with state school board members, public relations blunders, and clashes with such well-respected groups as the PTA, it would have been understandable if Linda C. Schrenko had let her first term as Georgia's schools superintendent be her last.

A plan that would dismantle 25 years of mandatory busing in Milwaukee and provide millions of dollars for building and improving neighborhood schools is moving through the Wisconsin legislature and could be on the governor's desk by summer's end.
High-quality child care not only prepares children for school, it can also help them succeed once they get there, according to the latest results of a four-year study that followed children through the 2nd grade.

Seattle Narrows Search
For Academic Administrator

At age 18, Jonah Knobler has accomplished what usually takes a young historian years: the publication of his work in an acclaimed academic journal.
In 1899, the industrialist Andrew Carnegie began a historic quest to create free public libraries around the world. Now, a century later, one of the foundations that bear his name is doling out $15 million in grants in the same spirit to libraries across the country.
School buses are far safer than vans in crashes, and states should allow only the special yellow buses to regularly transport groups of children, a federal safety panel declared last week.
An ambitious, federally financed partnership aimed at improving knowledge about teaching will undergo a change in leadership.
Colleges and universities will have to change the way they do business if they want to accommodate the increasingly heterogeneous population of women yearning to earn a degree, a report released last week concludes.
Private contributions to many independent K-12 schools and all U.S. colleges and universities grew in 1998 by the fastest pace in years, thanks in part to a surging economy and stock market, an annual report says.
Teachers' union officials in California have backed away from their push to mandate collective bargaining for charter school employees. Instead, they have thrown their support behind compromise legislation that would formalize the employees' rights to seek union representation or negotiate their own contracts.
With a mingled sense of hope and frustration, state lawmakers are passing scores of measures designed to help make schools safer and prevent the kind of incident that left 15 people dead at a Colorado high school this spring.

Illinois Governor Signs Bill
Allowing Tuition Tax Credits

Parents in Illinois who pay tuition to send their children to private, religious, and out-of-district public schools will be able to receive a state tax break of up to $500, under a measure Gov. George Ryan signed into law this month.

Fifth graders attending private and parochial schools through the Cleveland voucher program would not receive taxpayer-funded tuition payments to attend 6th grade, under a measure passed last week by the Ohio Senate.

The following is a summary of fiscal 2000 state budgets for schools and highlights of education-related action in legislatures. The totals for K-12 education include money for state education administration, but do not include federal, flow-through dollars.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to hear the appeal of a Maryland lawyer-parent who sought an award of attorney's fees in his legal battle with a school district over his son's special education plan.


"Accountability" has become a watchword in recent years for state legislators looking for ways to revamp K-12 education and hold schools, educators, and students responsible for showing results.

A proposal to substantially step up federal aid for gifted and talented students won a sympathetic ear from Republican lawmakers during a Senate hearing last week.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week struck down a Chicago city ordinance that prohibited loitering by suspected street-gang members and allowed police to arrest those who refused an order to disperse.

Clinton Unveils Safety Initiative

President Clinton announced a new school safety training program for teachers and others during the White House Conference on Mental Health last week.

Over the century, students have been faced with various forms of assessments. What follows is a sampling of questions; wording and punctuation are as they appeared to test-takers.
Come every spring, Texas students from the 3rd to the 10th grades take the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.
Gauging the knowledge students acquired was an endeavor of educators long before the 20th century dawned, but it has become a national obsession as the century ends.
Over the 20th century, the tests designed to measure what students know have changed like the seasons, but one thing has remained a constant: the tool necessary to record such measurement--the lead pencil.
Three pioneers of the testing field: Thorndike, Terman, and Yerkes.
How the standardized testing of students grew into a big business.
Standards, tests, and accountability programs are today's favored tools for raising overall academic achievement. Testing policies are also meant to increase equity, to give poor and minority students a fairer chance by making expectations clear and providing instruction geared to them. In practice, though, it is proving hard to meet the twin goals of equity and higher achievement. This is because our schools are trapped in a set of beliefs about the nature of ability and aptitude that makes it hard to evoke effective academic effort from students and educators.
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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