November 17, 1999

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Vol. 19, Issue 12
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American education grew up from the community outward. From Colonial times onward, local citizens built the schools, raised the money, hired the teachers, and chose which books to use. They also elected local leaders to oversee the job.
Not long after she finished work on her elementary education degree from Pennsylvania State University last spring, Denise Wisniewski packed her bags and headed for Columbus, Ohio, with the promise of teaching a small class of 1st graders.
Three years is enough time to get most students who are new to English up to speed in the language, the Clinton administration believes.
It's been a year since California voters narrowly approved a measure called the Children and Families Initiative and radically changed the way services for young children are paid for in this state. But now, just as the money is starting to reach the hands of those who will decide how to spend it, the new law and its celebrity spokesman, the director and actor Rob Reiner, are facing challenges, both legal and academic.
Departments
The national media spotlight descended last week on the Decatur, Ill., schools, as educators there scrambled to defend what critics, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, characterized as unduly harsh penalties meted out to students involved in a brawl at a high school football game.
After a hard-fought campaign, the Puerto Rican affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers has won the right to represent the American commonwealth’s teachers in collective bargaining.
Departments
  • Ban on Religious Display Upheld by Federal Court
  • Power Play in Oakland
  • Gun Brings Pre-K Suspension
  • Athlete’s Penalty Upheld
  • S.F. To Revise Diversity Plan
  • Racial Forum Goes Awry
  • School Board Member Resigns
  • Iowa Threats Lead to Charges
  • New Voucher Figures Posted
  • Kinkel Sentenced for Shootings
Less than four months into his tenure as Dallas superintendent, Waldemar "Bill" Rojas has become embroiled in the sort of internecine struggles that have long plagued the 162,000-student district.
Departments
Community centers that provide low-income families access to computers and the Internet could receive support over the next few years from several major technology companies and nonprofit organizations, under an initiative unveiled here last week.
Edison Schools Inc. received just barely passing grades from Wall Street last week.
A new guide written to help teachers and school administrators navigate the thorny legal terrain of teaching about the Bible in public schools has been endorsed by a broad coalition of education, religious, and civil liberties groups.
In Philadelphia last week, Philadelphia Superintendent David W. Hornbeck welcomed 300 educators and representatives from a broad range of religious organizations for four days of sermons, speeches, and workshops.
The Walt Disney Co. planned to play fairy godmother to schools and their teachers around the nation this week, with the unveiling of a multimillion-dollar education initiative.
State policymakers throughout the country deserve low marks for their efforts to raise teacher quality, according to a report card to be issued this week by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Includes: Teacher Quality Score Card.
  • Scoliosis Screening Spurs Disagreement
  • At-Risk Youths
Departments
Auctions aren’t just for farmers and their livestock anymore. A new Internet site that launched its interactive matching process this month now allows price-conscious students and their parents to bid on a college education.
Taking the advice of Gov. Gray Davis, the California state board of education decided last week to require schools to report the test scores of their English-language learners for the state’s new accountability index. Schools will be permitted to drop scores only for such students who have been in their district for less than a year.
Departments
The Texas state school board has approved a last-minute rule change that requires publishers to beef up on phonics in their 1st grade readers or risk losing some of the $91 million market in the nation’s second-largest textbook-adoption state. The change has publishers crying foul, as they contemplate legal action against the board for what they say is breach of contract and scramble to print additional materials to bring their products up to the new standard.
Ten years along, Kentucky’s singularly ambitious overhaul of its K-12 schools has shown solid, if not yet adequate, results for students, says a report from a statewide citizens’ group.
The White House and congressional leaders struck a deal last week on President Clinton's class-size-reduction program that basically keeps it intact, but makes changes concerning the hiring of licensed teachers and districts' flexibility in spending class-size dollars.
Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Marshall S. Smith announced his resignation last week, following months of rumors about his impending departure.
Departments
Nearly 800 Cleveland schoolchildren returned to religious schools at government expense last week after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an injunction that had barred new participants from the city’s controversial voucher program.
Before the 20th century, education was a decidedly local affair. The young American democracy, which had grown up in opposition to the hierarchies of Europe, operated on the simple premise of keeping government limited and close to home. Local citizens decided whether to have schools, raised the money, hired the teachers, and chose which books to use. They also elected lay leaders, in the form of local school trustees, to oversee the job.
In 1900, when the town of Stow in eastern Massachusetts was paying Josephine Newhall the less-than-princely sum of $323 to teach three grades for one semester, the townspeople more than likely picked up the tab.
When a former student and colleague sought an affectionate nickname for Ellwood P. Cubberley, the Stanford University professor who would become one of the century's most influential educators, the young man chose "Dad." The name stuck, and from about 1903 to his retirement in 1933, "Dad" was how Cubberley was known to his students.
It was a moment steeped in symbolism. President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before the one-room schoolhouse in Stonewall, Texas, that he once attended. Flanked by his former teacher at the school, he signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Who should be in charge of the publish schools, and how should they be run?
Without a system of local control by elected trustees in the 19th century, this country might not have created the most comprehensive and popular system of public education in the world.
Boys are being ignored in the gender equity debate. A sociology professor points out that most research focuses on the problems and disadvantages that girls face in school but the research fails to address the problems that boys experience.
Teacher Philip Manna discovers that the qualities of a school he thought mattered really don't.
Early abuse of animals is a "rock-solid sign of trouble."
Why launch a national voucher experiment when we have not fully examined the one we have?
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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