November 3, 1999

This Issue
Vol. 19, Issue 10
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While school districts in much of the United States are scrambling to build new schools to serve a growing cadre of students, districts in sparsely populated areas of the West and Midwest are contending with the opposite extreme and fighting the threat of extinction. Includes "Dealing With Declining Student Numbers."
The dean of Northeastern University's new school of education doesn't appear to be a man who usually lives on the edge. Yet as James W. Fraser crunches through the leaves on his Boston campus one warm fall day, he talks of risking his professional reputation to change the way teachers are educated.
As urban and larger suburban districts search a shallow pool of proven leaders who can improve their public schools, the price of superintendents is rising--in several cases above the $200,000 mark.
Departments
The Kansas City, Mo., school district asked a federal judge last week to void a vote by the state board of education to strip the system of its state accreditation. Loss of accreditation, the district argued, would impede court-ordered efforts to desegregate the city's schools and promote local control.
Departments
The dawn of the new year may catch many schools unprepared for the Y2K computer bug, a U.S. Department of Education survey suggests.
  • Phila. Board President To Step Down Dec. 1
  • No Bible in Class, Court Says
  • Mercury-Scare Sequel
  • Suit Over NHS Settled
  • Wrong Forms Used for Scores
  • Rough Start for S.C. Test
  • Sex Education Must Go On
  • Girls Charged With Sex Crime
  • Unusual Outreach in Illinois
  • Center Targets Violence
Nearly two months into the school year, some big-city districts are still working out kinks in their payroll systems that have caused embarrassing and frustrating problems.
To stem further middle-class flight to the suburbs, big cities must offer parents as much choice in public schools as they have in food and entertainment, Mayor John O. Norquist of Milwaukee said at a gathering of mayors and education experts in Washington, D.C., last week.
While educators concentrate on keeping gay and lesbian students safe from bullying and other harassment, a Massachusetts advocacy group is offering a new program intended to take the issue out of the hallways and into the classroom.
"Fooling With Words," a weekly program airing on public-television stations throughout this month, is chock-full of poetry on childhood and family life, politics and history, faith and skepticism--topics intended to capture students' attention.
Departments
College presidents must take the lead in upgrading teacher-preparation programs now or risk seeing the growing demand for teachers stymie efforts to improve K-12 schools, the nation's largest association of colleges and universities argues in a new report.
  • Chicago Study: Students Rise to Challenging Assignments
  • Where Are the Men?
  • Vouchers and Equity
  • Research vs. Diversity
Departments
The ongoing drama surrounding Ruben Zacarias, the embattled superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, reached new heights last Thursday when the school board voted 4-3 to begin negotiating a buyout of the remaining 20 months of his contract.
Teaching intern James Heffron can't use English to teach the concept of surpluses in his 6th grade social studies class--half his students rely on Chinese as their first language.

The Consolidation Quandary

In North Dakota and other states, educators often clash on the wisdom of merging smaller districts into larger units. Common cases for and against consolidation break down as follows:

Departments
Four major education stakeholders in California came together last week in an unprecedented collaboration aimed at helping alleviate concerns over the nation's first statewide peer-assistance and -review program for teachers.
Mailboxes across Texas have been filled this fall with letters notifying parents that their children are being taught by teachers who are either unlicensed or have emergency credentials.
A new twist in the ongoing controversy over Florida's voucher program emerged recently, when two families whose children had transferred to a private school using state vouchers were initially denied permission to return the students to the failing public school they previously attended.
Kentucky's education commissioner announced last week that he will leave his post at the end of the year.
Veto pen in hand, Gov. Tommy G. Thompson of Wisconsin inked out complicating requirements last week from a plan that will make up to $170 million, which had been earmarked for busing Milwaukee schoolchildren, available to help build neighborhood schools instead. The governor also let pass with scant change a weakened version of the high school graduation test he had strongly backed.
Departments
Bilingual education advocates aren't happy with the bill passed by the House last month to reauthorize funding for the instruction of children with limited English skills.
The House wants to add science to the list of subjects that would have to be taught under the largest federal education program, ending Title I's historic emphasis on reading and mathematics.
House Republicans last Thursday succeeded in passing an education spending plan that would provide about the same increase for the Department of Education-- roughly $1.2 billion-- as President Clinton had requested earlier this year.
  • Bradley Proposes Plan To Reduce Child Poverty
  • Bush Urges Teens To Abstain
In five years as Philadelphia superintendent, David Hornbeck has raised achievement--and made some enemies. Includes "Status Report: Children Achieving."
Several success stories show that students can achieve at high standards regardless of race or socioeconomic status.
An English teacher outlines the pitfalls of showing films during class.
Pay-for-performance plans cause more harm for students than good.
Letters
Departments
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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