April 19, 2000

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Vol. 19, Issue 32
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Most schools that teach suicide prevention generally opt for quick units in health class or school assemblies. Typically, they show videos of healthy-looking adolescents who have survived a suicide attempt. But psychologists warn that such an approach can do more harm than good.
An eagerly awaited report released by the National Reading Panel is unlikely to settle the rancorous debate over reading instruction.
The National Education Association got tired of waiting for federal lawmakers to act on proposals to combat gun violence. So the union quickly assembled a coalition, bought advertising space, and sent a message to Congress.
For a politician known more for his interest in issues such as the environment, technology, and "reinventing" government, a series of "school days" illustrates the increasing weight Mr. Gore has put on education. Includes excerpts from an Education Week interview with Vice President Al Gore, "'Number One Priority Is Education.'"
Several public events were being planned in Colorado this week to mark the anniversary of the deadliest schoolhouse shootings in U.S. history. But school officials, deluged with members of the news media, were taking steps to keep April 20 a low-key day.
  • Suit Blaming Violent Media for Ky. Rampage Dismissed
  • New Jersey Suspensions Questioned
  • Dallas Year-Round Plan Revived
  • N.C. Same-Sex Classes Dropped
  • Whistleblowers Get $1 Million
  • Ariz. Attack Claim Discredited
  • Test Probe Targets Teachers
  • N.Y.C. Board To Build Web Portal
New York City's summer school program, a $170 million effort that had originally targeted up to 320,000 struggling students for academic aid this year, has become caught in a crossfire between some of the city's most powerful political forces and one of public education's most controversial issues.
Science teachers of just about every experience level aren't satisfied with their jobs and are thinking about leaving the profession, a national survey suggests.
The fast-growing Clark County, Nev., school district has named a new superintendent, while leadership changes in several other big-city systems, including New York and Pittsburgh, continued to unfold last week.
The overhaul of the Los Angeles School District's management structure came amid news that former Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado had expressed interest in the superintendent's job in the nation's second-largest district.
In a protest against their state's embrace of high-stakes testing, hundreds of Massachusetts high school students and a handful of 4th and 8th graders refused last week to take part in tests that are a linchpin of the state's standards-based accountability system.
In another sign that business participation in education is growing, Harvard University has launched a program to monitor corporate involvement in schools and the for-profit education industry.
A report intended as an alert to education leaders says that in the next decade, the U.S. population of elderly and racial and ethnic minorities will grow rapidly, posing challenges of critical importance to schools.
The nation's teaching force can be strengthened by improving screening methods for prospective educators and making teacher-preparation programs more meaningful, a report from the American Federation of Teachers says.
Some types of alternative assessments and accommodations for special education students may present problems as states hurry to create new accountability systems, say researchers at the Council for Exceptional Children's recent annual conference.
  • States Still Struggling With Early Intervention Progrmas
Revised math standards released last week by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics show a greater emphasis on basic skills and content knowledge.
Even as some educators are going up against the National Rifle Association in the hallways of statehouses and the U.S. Capitol over gun control, others are bringing the organization's gun-avoidance program into their classrooms in a different kind of effort to safeguard children against firearms.
With the help of a district-run mental-health clinic, a city teeming with psychological clinics, and a $14 million annual investment from the district’s budget in mental-health services, the number of suicides in the district dropped from 35 in 1989 to 19 in 1997.
Squinting into the lunch-hour sunshine, Jackie Garcia scans the vast, blacktop playground for signs of altercations. Spotting a scuffle between a pair of 2nd graders playing kickball, Jackie, 11, bounds toward them, her bright-orange slicker, emblazoned with the title "Conflict Manager," flapping as she runs.
Architectural terminology glides easily off Barbara Jones' tongue. Metaphors of renovation come in handy, the associate superintendent of the Memphis public schools said last fall, when she began a campaign to systematically knock down the administrative barriers that stand between students and their emotional needs.
Like a one-man emotional ER, Tim Harmon bolts into a classroom and conducts a 15-minute one-on-one counseling session with a student who threatened to hang himself last year. Then, satisfied that the boy is stabilized, he speeds off to his next case, at a school more than 100 miles east.
The high school needs a new roof. The teachers want a raise. Half the bus fleet needs a maintenance overhaul. Joey is depressed. Which of these problems is a district most likely to tackle last?
When Manny was 14, he announced to his parents that he was gay. They promptly restricted his phone calls and locked him in his room, but when those actions didn’t "change" him, they threw him out of the house.
Six months after the 1999 National Education Summit, 38 states have met a deadline for detailing how they plan to make standards a reality in classrooms.
Hoping to end a lawsuit over the way it distributes school construction money to districts, New Mexico has passed legislation that would make available $600 million over the next decade for capital-outlay projects and give preference to cash-poor communities.
The Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who helped finance a doomed, $23 million campaign to make it easier for California's districts to raise money for facilities are hitting the pavement for better school buildings again—this time with the help of Gov. Gray Davis.
  • Science Textbooks Would Acknowledge God
    Under Measure Passed by Oklahoma House
  • Survey Predicts More Teacher Vacancies in New York
  • State Chiefs' Group Gains New Texas Commissioner
  • Arizona Enacts Law Aimed at Making Schools Safer
Nebraska's enactment last week of a new plan of statewide academic standards and assessments leaves Iowa as the nation's lone holdout in the movement to embrace at least some variety of uniform state testing.
More young children then ever are receiving special education services, and an increasing number with disabilities are earning high school diplomas, according to the Department of Education's latest annual report on such students. Includes the table "Enrollment Figures."
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week blasted the use of "percentage plans" that replace racial preferences in college admissions with guaranteed admission for all students who graduate near the top of their high school classes.
Congress last week approved a Republican spending blueprint for the coming fiscal year that promises more money for education, but substantially less than President Clinton has requested.
  • House Panel Passes ESEA Reauthorization Measure
  • Bllls Target Science Instruction
  • 'High Stakes' Tests Criticized
Following is the transcript of Staff Writer Joetta L. Sack's April 11, 2000 interview with Vice President Al Gore about his education platform and presidential bid. This is an expanded version of the interview that appears in the print edition of Education Week. The interview took place in Columbus, Ohio, after Mr. Gore spent the day at Avondale Elementary School.

The student-intake center for the Fairfax County, Va., public schools is an educational Ellis Island. Includes: "First Words."
Twelve-year-old Emilio Aranzana doesn’t say much of anything during his first day of school in the United States. Mostly, he nods.
The greatest need in American education reform is for better interventions for disadvantaged students in grades 4-8. It's time to stop overinvesting in grades K-3 and pretending that there are easy or across-the-board fixes.
Many believers in the tough standards and assessments movement are well-intentioned. But is the problem with tough standards far more deeply rooted than its proponents imagine?
Knowledge of facts and how to interpret them will not result in an educated population unless some wisdom—or the goals and priorities that justify the use of knowledge—is also acquired, says this well-known author.
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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