July 14, 1999

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Vol. 18, Issue 42
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Monica Viega describes what went on in her classroom earlier in the school year as "Jerry Springer fights." Displays of anger and incivility among the 5th graders sometimes grew so intense that furniture would get tossed across the room.

While most students and teachers have abandoned classrooms for the summer, thousands of schools are nonetheless abuzz with activity.
White parents in Boston and black parents in Louisville, Ky., are turning to the federal courts this summer in pursuit of a similar goal: eliminating race as a factor in assigning students to their local schools.

Staff Sgt. Paul N. Jackson can offer the world to high school graduates who join the U.S. Army, but these days he rarely has takers.

Brenda Mitchell
Brenda Mitchell has been elected the president of the 5,500-member United Teachers of New Orleans. Ms. Mitchell, a former elementary teacher and a member of the Educational Testing Service's teacher-programs advisory council, replaces Nat LaCour, who left after 19 years to become the executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers.
State and municipal officials have won a key victory in their attempt to overturn a federal court order requiring costly and far-reaching educational changes in Yonkers, N.Y., aimed at raising achievement among black and Hispanic students.
It's been two weeks since the results of California's statewide achievement test were released. But the answer to a closely watched question--what those scores say about the effects of Proposition 227, the ballot initiative that curtailed bilingual education in the state's classrooms--remains unclear.

Va. Toughens Standards
For Prospective Teachers

A news brief in the State Capitals section of the June 23, 1999, issue of Education Week failed to clarify that, under a rural education aid bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris John, D-La., any district that serves a rural area and has a student poverty rate of 20 percent or more would be eligible for funding, regardless of size.
In the waning days of the recently completed school year in New York City, the district's accountability ax fell on superintendents, principals, and even entire schools.

When applying to college in the late 1950s, Hugh B. Price was determined to aim for the top. So he ignored a guidance counselor who advised him to shoot low, and wound up winning admission to such top-ranked schools as Harvard University and Amherst College, his eventual alma mater.

With a sigh of resignation, many school administrators are looking ahead to a new form of reporting their district's financial health that most experts say will make more sense to the public.
Broward County, Fla., Denver, and Montgomery County, Md., are among the large school districts that will enter the new school year with changes at the top.

Education Minnesota broke the rules, and now it will have to pay.

NEA Runs Hot--and Cold--
For Hillary Clinton

Orlando, Fla.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 1999 recipient of the National Education Association's Friend of Education award, drew loud and enthusiastic applause with nearly every point in her policy-laden speech to delegates here--except when she praised charter schools.

From the get-go, facilities have proved a stumbling block for charter schools.

Judge Draws a Line on Technology Aid
To Religious Schools:
A federal judge has upheld a Wisconsin program that subsidizes Internet access at schools and colleges, including religiously affiliated schools. But the judge struck down a portion of the program that provided direct cash grants to religious schools as reimbursement for Internet hookups that they had already arranged for on their own.
California districts soon will see an influx of new funding geared toward raising their students' performance, thanks to the state's $81.3 billion budget for fiscal 2000.

The following is a summary of the 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.

Clevelanders may soon bear witness to an educational reincarnation: the death of two voucher schools and their rebirth as charter schools.

Wisconsin Caucus
Kills Test Amendment

The Republican caucus in the Wisconsin Assembly has voted to kill an amendment mandating the use of a high-stakes high school graduation test, a setback for Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson who had trumpeted such a plan.

When Florida recently released its first school-by-school "report card," the grading trends mirrored those for a tough exam: a few strong performers on top, a smattering of underachievers on the bottom, and nearly half the state's 2,500 schools earning C's.

When the House overwhelmingly approved a proposal authorizing the states to allow the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools, it surely was aware that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down a Kentucky law that required such displays.

The board that runs the federal government's student assessment is standing by the way it defines test-performance standards, but says it will investigate alternatives in the face of criticisms from prominent researchers.

The Department of Education unveiled final allocations last week for $8 billion in Title I aid that reflect changes in how the money is doled out but show few dramatic differences in funding for states and districts.


The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a New York state court ruling that struck down a state law authorizing the Hasidic Jewish village of Kiryas Joel to maintain its own public school district to serve children with disabilities.

Congressional Republicans and conservative organizations are lining up behind a new accountability measure unveiled with much fanfare last month, but the plan faces strong opposition from Democrats and education groups.

GOP Bill Would Restructure
Clinton Class-Size Initiative

The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a measure to restructure President Clinton's class-size-reduction plan on June 30, the day before $1.2 billion in fiscal 1999 funding for the program was mailed to states.

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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