March 22, 2000

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Vol. 19, Issue 28
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If the researchers studying the reasons why black and Hispanic students continue to trail non-Hispanic whites in academic achievement were pressed to say one thing for certain about their work, it might be this: The usual explanations aren’t good enough. Includes:
The federal government is requiring schools to collect and report more elaborate racial and ethnic data on students.

While teachers have been doling out extra credit for years, critics say that in this era of higher standards and harsher consequences for failing students and schools, bonus points are gaining too much influence over grades.
Advocates on both sides of the voucher debate are bracing for yet another legal fight.

Departments
The Los Angeles school district wants to pay teachers based on how much they improve their students' scores on standardized tests, an idea that has provoked a negative reaction from the teachers' union.
Ramon C. Cortines, the interim superintendent of the Los Angeles schools, wants to cut or restructure more than 800 administrative jobs in hopes of giving greater decisionmaking authority to schools and preparing the vast district for a new leader.
Departments
  • Access and School Choice Key to Deseg. Settlement
  • 'Indifference' Leads to Liability
  • N.J. District Sued by Parents
  • Hidden Message Takes Prize
  • Md. Teacher Falsely Accused
  • Grant Aids St. Paul Councils
The field of brain science, scientists say, is still too young to have much impact on practices used in the classroom. Despite these caveats, many experts have begun sensing a growing need to translate basic neuroscientific findings into a digestible form for parents and educators. Includes: "Study Suggests That Brain Growth Continues Into Adolescence."
Brain growth during the first three years of life has received considerable attention from the press and the public in recent years. But a new article in Nature, a weekly science journal, may help end the debate over whether the early years are the only important or "critical" stage of neurological development.
The Jason Project, led by Robert D. Ballard, the scientist who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic, is the best-known and most sophisticated of a growing number of "virtual field trips" designed for schools. Includes: "To Program's Founder, the Entire Universe Is a Classroom."
For a man of singular accomplishments, the undersea explorer and scientist Robert D. Ballard has a remarkably inclusive personality.
One year after taking the helm of the troubled National Association of Secondary School Principals, Gerald N. Tirozzi has engineered a major reorganization that has led to the departure of four top deputies.
A Florida school district's policy allowing high school seniors to vote on whether a member of their graduating class may deliver a commencement message that could include a prayer does not violate the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled last week.
Most high school students think it's more important to find a meaningful, secure job than to make a lot of money, preliminary findings from a new survey on youth and employment show.
A Washington-area billionaire who made his fortune in technology has pledged $100 million to start up an online university that he says will provide students worldwide with an "Ivy League education"—free of charge.
  • Investors Feeling Bullish About 'E-Learning'
Departments
  • Despite Eligibility, Millions of Adolescents Still Uninsured
  • Adolescent Dieting
  • Youth Hockey Injuries
  • Short Takes
The debate over whether to allow students to carry cellular phones on school grounds is intensifying.
One way to shrink the academic gap might be to make sure that every minority student gets a good teacher. A growing body of research suggests that those students who, arguably, most need the best teachers are getting just the opposite.
Many Korean students attend private after-school programs. And with Korean children typically outperforming their classmates, some say the after-school model—and the relentless focus on education that pervades the Korean-American community—offer strong lessons for those seeking to raise the academic performance of other minority groups.
Wanting to protect disadvantaged children from what they consider to be unfair state tests, a New Orleans lawyer and a Northern California dean are counting on outrage from the middle class to give them political momentum to win their battles.
Washington state is poised to begin testing prospective teachers under a bill expected to be signed by Gov. Gary Locke.
Departments
California education officials are revising statewide rankings that compare the academic performance of schools that share similar demographics, after learning that more than half the state's 8,000 schools supplied incorrect data on student poverty.
  • Wisconsin Schools Chief Announces Plan
    To Retire Next Year at End of Second Term
  • Utah Bill Would Require Schools To Teach Abstinence
  • New Michigan Law Lets Students Carry Inhalers
Students in schools with appropriate and sufficient library collections and qualified library personnel tend to perform better on standardized tests, especially in reading, according to studies of school library programs in Alaska, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.
Fueled by a new report on special education costs, a debate is heating up in Massachusetts over legislative proposals that would revamp for the third time in five years the way the state teaches its students with special needs.
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
In his first comprehensive address on Hispanic education during his seven years in office, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley last week promoted a bilingual teaching strategy intended to help students learn two languages at the same time.
Accountability, a watchword in this year's education debate in Congress, has become a big rhetorical selling point of a GOP plan to convert funding under a host of federal K-12 programs into block grants.
Departments
  • First Lady Draws the Line
    On Schools in Senate Race
  • Public Sentiments About Education
Education leaders last week largely applauded a bipartisan congressional panel's report on youth violence that recommends more federal money be given to schools to hire mental-health workers and identify potential schoolyard killers. But Capitol Hill leaders omitted what some educators see as a crucial ingredient in decreasing youth-violence rates: curbing minors' access to guns.
  • Clinton Signs Bill on Child-Abuse Prevention
  • GOP Moderates Outline Federal Role in Education
Underrepresented students don't perform as well in college as their white and better-off classmates because many students lack the nurturing mentors, supportive peers, and financial aid necessary to continue in higher education. The Posse Foundation aims to remove such formidable barriers to college success.
The indissoluble link between education and a good society dates back to ancient Greece. Americans rank character development second only to basic skills in a listing of educational purposes. So why is there so little of it in schools?
Teachers are encouraged to take on the role of pseudo-psychologists, and told that more emphasis on emotions is the key to learning. Fair is fair. Perhaps schoolteachers should reciprocate by moving formally into the practice of psychology.
Is the increasing involvement of the federal government in education benefiting local schools? The authors argue that existing federal education programs need fixing first, before launching new ones.
There is a high correlation between poverty and low achievement. Thus, Iris C. Rotberg concludes, we should direct more aid to lowest-income school districts. The best way to accomplish this is to undertake a realistic assessment of our educational problems, and policies that will address them, rather than focus on rhetoric.
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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