April 12, 2000

This Issue
Vol. 19, Issue 31
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With the issue of accountability continuing to top the nation's education agenda, demands for greater information on student performance are starting to filter down to children who haven't even started school. Includes "Getting Serious About Kindergarten."
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics this week is planning to unveil its latest version of standards.

The impetus for inner turmoil in the hearts of American adolescents in recent years cannot be gleaned from superficial clues such as whether a teenager plays violent video games, listens to Marilyn Manson CDs, or dons black trench coats, school psychologists say. Young people, they say, rarely wear their angst so conveniently on their sleeves.
An estimated 3.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 12 are spending an average of an hour a day home alone after school, a new study shows. But that really isn't that much, considering the "hectic, highly scheduled quality of contemporary family life," according to the researcher who conducted it.
Public fear of school shootings has not abated despite statistics that show the number of violent crimes on campuses is small and continues to decline, according to a report scheduled for release this week.
  • College Board Launches Drive for AP Availability
  • Philadelphia Gets Hiring Help
  • Fund Seeks 'Venture Capital'
  • D.C. Advises Bus-Driver Review
  • Mayor Names 3 to Board
  • Groups Warns of Pesticide Risks
  • College Aid for Gay Iowans
Milton Brutten, a co-founder of one of the country's first private schools for children with learning disabilities, died of complications from a stroke in Wayne, Pa., on March 16. He was 77.
The qualifications Meira Levinson brought with her to the Boston public schools this school year speak for themselves: an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League college, an Oxford doctorate in political theory, and three years' experience teaching at an Atlanta middle school.
Members of the Students in Action group in tiny Arthur, Neb., have an ambitious plan to open a student-run grocery store in their ailing and isolated heartland community.

Wisconsin Study Finds Benefits
In Classes of 15 or Fewer Students

Children in classes of no more than 15 students do better than those in bigger classes, a study from a Wisconsin program that provided poor students with smaller classes suggests.

In Short

In the 1980s, the practice of "redshirting" children—delaying their entry into kindergarten until they are older—began to grow in popularity in schools nationwide. Some parents saw it as a way to give an academic edge to children who might be younger or less mature.

A federal report on Medicaid in schools accuses states, districts, and private companies of improperly charging the federal government for hundreds of millions of dollars in payments earmarked for poor, disabled children.
Although the particulars vary, educators in many regions have discovered that they have to jump-start the telecommunications revolution in their own communities.
Charter schools in this country are still too new to allow any firm conclusions about their potential, says a new book that looks abroad for answers and suggests that inequities across schools could increase under such a system unless adequate safeguards are put in place.
Although the pygmy owl is modest in size, it has been able to slow down bulldozers and confound a school system. As a result of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to add the creature to the endangered-species list in March 1997, environmentalists and developers in a southwest Arizona county are waging a battle, and a local school district is on the front line.
Schools should embrace activities that spur children to use their hands and minds together to solve problems more often, according to the International Technology Education Association, which has released national standards for technology education.
School leaders can positively influence race relations if they use several strategies simultaneously to defuse tensions and include parents and teachers in the dialogue, a recent study concludes.
As the 19 children in Karen Carter's kindergarten class rehearse their play about dinosaurs on the lunchroom stage, they squirm, fidget, and generally act like typical 5- and 6-year olds. The class stands on small risers singing, then takes turns prancing around the stage and growling in their handmade costumes.
When he killed himself nearly three years ago at age 16, Jason Flatt was a promising freshman football player who earned decent grades at the private Christian schools he had attended since 6th grade.
Classmates used to call Mekye Malcolm Houdini for the way he would deftly slip out of class and wander the hills behind his school, sketching pictures of butterflies and horses nipping at the green North Carolina grass.
The day Kerby Casey Guerra killed herself, the 13-year-old wore a perfect mask of happiness. A day earlier, Kerby's mother had treated her to a manicure at a fashionable Colorado Springs salon, and Kerby seemed elated. The 8th grader was transferring from a school she hated, and things finally were starting to look up.
Despite vehement protests by teachers' unions, Maryland legislators last week approved a measure that would use public money to buy textbooks for students at all but the state's most expensive private schools.
A South Carolina legislator hopes to abolish a 1996 state law that permits judges to jail youths who skip school without having valid excuses.
New York education officials pointed last week to the results for special education students on new state tests as early evidence that higher standards are pushing almost all students—including those with disabilities—to higher levels of achievement.
  • Kentucky Education Officials To Name Panel
    To Examine Academic Achievement Gap
  • N.H. Panel To Weigh Impact of School Funding Options
  • Students Getting Voice on Vermont School Board
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • West Virgina
  • Wisconsin
Congress has laid the groundwork for increasing its share of the costs of teaching students with disabilities, furthering a long-standing goal supported by a broad coalition of disability-rights groups, educators, and legislators from both parties.
Efforts to wrap up the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the House education committee got off to a rocky start last week, as Democrats charged that Republican proposals to increase flexibility for states and districts would undermine their top priorities.
  • The Case of the Mysterious Texas Achievement Study
At the author's school, everything that was absolute had to become a variable in order to make achievement an absolute.
There are many signs that we have accumulated enough knowledge about teaching and learning that we have little to look forward to that is truly new and mind-sweeping in educational research, concludes Maurice Bérubé.
Contrary to what some alarmists claim, private schools, on average, are better integrated by race than are public schools, says Jay Greene.
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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