June 23, 1999

This Issue
Vol. 18, Issue 41
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More than two months have passed, but Principal James E. Fish is still feeling the shock waves sent forth by the deaths of 14 students and a teacher in a high school 1,700 miles away.

Last in an occasional series.
The study of education is fast becoming one of the most studied issues in education.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to hear a Louisiana case involving government aid to religious schools in the form of computers, library books, and other educational materials.

Departments
After a verbal drubbing from San Francisco police, the mayor, the news media, and local citizens over a new policy limiting the role of police on campus, the city's school board appeared last week to be in retreat.
Citing their unwillingness to let the city's voucher program pit them against each other, Milwaukee's public and Roman Catholic school leaders have pledged to form joint efforts aimed at serving students in both systems.


Teenagers have had a hand in producing several sassy advertisements as part of the anti-smoking "Truth" campaign. Portions of one of the televised ads appear below. In this commercial, four teenage girls have a speaker-phone conversation with a tobacco executive named Bob.



Ann L. Brown, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who did pioneering work in cognitive psychology, died June 4 at the age of 56.

Delaware State Chief Named Md. District Superintendent

A months-long court battle seeking to close the books on 30 years of court supervision of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools has left the North Carolina community torn over whether traces of racial segregation linger.
New York City's book-length teacher contract is snarling principals in red tape, compromising their ability to lead their schools in an age of increasing accountability, a report by a university scholar argues.
Departments
California's massive effort to reduce class size in grades K-3 brought smaller classes to more than 1.6 million children in 1997-98 and a slight increase in student achievement.

Dubious scientists, health educators, and politicians have for years said it's impossible to stop young people from smoking. At least not quickly.

Using off-the-shelf tests for standards-based assessment is a "risky business," according to a forthcoming study conducted for the California education department.


Study: Voucher Parents Satisfied
With Schools

The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has launched a 20-month study of the measures states use to license teachers and ways in which they might be improved.


Group Seeks To Align Staff Development With Student Standards

Now that state policymakers have begun to realize that what teachers know directly influences what students learn, the National Staff Development Council is mobilizing to push for changes in teacher-development programs.

Like most parents, Patricia Scales wants her children to have the best possible education.
In the past year, five state supreme courts and one federal appeals court have spoken on school choice measures that include vouchers and tax credits for religious school students.

Calcium Can Cut Risk
Of Lead Poisoning:
Children in large urban areas continue to be exposed to excessive amounts of lead, but an increase in calcium in their diets can help reduce their risk of lead poisoning, a study says.
Samuel G. Sava and Vincent L. Ferrandino have some important things in common.
Departments
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida was expected this week to sign legislation that will create the first statewide voucher program in the country, setting in motion what will likely be a protracted legal battle that could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the 1999 legislative sessions wind down, two more states have joined the charter school fold.
Despite a flurry of last-minute activity, Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania was forced to concede early last Thursday morning that his school voucher proposal was dead in the legislature, at least for now.
Voicing their criticism in the strongest possible terms, members of a key Wisconsin legislative panel voted this month to kill their state's planned high school graduation test.

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.

Less than six months after New York state enacted a law authorizing the state's first charter schools, a university panel last week gave its blessing to eight such schools, including three slated to open in September.
On the heels of a new law that raises the performance bar for Indiana's K-12 students, the state education department is setting higher expectations for itself as well.
Departments

More money, a clearer mission, and a sharper focus made up the recipe advanced at a congressional hearing last week on improving the Department of Education's major research office.

When Carol Utay realized that nothing was being done to track all of the ways Goals 2000 was at work in her state's schools, she decided that she and her students should do something about it.

House Passes
Amended Juvenile-Justice Bill

Tacking on a slew of amendments, the House passed a long-stalled juvenile-justice bill late last week that would toughen penalties for juvenile offenders and provide schools and communities additional aid intended to thwart youth violence.

Studies show that moving from middle school to high school can be a pivotal transition in a student's schooling. But evaluations of the programs developed to ease students through that change are hard to find.

At a national conference in 1994, two prominent education researchers--Howard Gardner and Elliott W. Eisner--started a lively debate that would go on for two more years. The question was: Should novels count as doctoral dissertations in education?
Finding schools' danger zones

Studies on school violence usually focus on children and what can cause them to act violently.

Letters
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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