May 3, 2000

This Issue
Vol. 19, Issue 34
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Judged solely on its students' test scores, SER-Ninos Charter School looks like a failed experiment. Includes the chart, "Conflicting Studies," a summary of recent studies on school choice.
What if the schools gave a test and nobody—or at least not many of the students taking it—cared?
With many school improvement measures in place, states now want to improve the skills of teachers to meet the tougher demands.
Girls are doing as well as or better than boys in school, though they still trail boys in math and science.
Departments
Milwaukee school board President Bruce R. Thompson is accustomed to parents' airing their views at board meetings. Early last month, though, dozens of parents began taking the unusual step of picketing in front of his house on Saturday mornings to bring attention to recent budget actions by the board.
Thousands of Miami teachers and students skipped school last week on a day set aside by community leaders to show opposition to federal authorities' seizure of a Cuban boy who has been the center of a politically charged custody and asylum dispute.
Departments
  • Beginning Teachers in L.A. To Receive Hefty Raises
  • Columbine Tape Angers Many
  • Explosive Disaster Averted
  • No More Free Lunch in Buffalo
  • Diversity Program Survives
  • Dispute Over Teaching on Bus
  • Criticizing Board by Name OK
Jay Robinson, a North Carolina educator for 50 years who was best known as the superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, died last week of lung cancer. He was 71.
Departments
Several of the most widely used algebra textbooks provide an inadequate framework for teaching the mathematical system and have little potential for helping students learn it, a study released last week concludes. Most others, though adequate, have major shortcomings, it says.
Prize-winning scientists and engineers will venture into middle schools across the country as part of a program the National Science Foundation announced last week.
The national movement to establish "high stakes" tests for students, and the widely publicized problems in several states with the implementation of such policies, provided a dominant theme last week as education researchers gathered here for their annual meeting.
  • Larger Teacher Presence at AERA Meeting
    May Mark Change
Proposition 227, the 1998 California ballot initiative that ended most bilingual education programs in the state, has made instruction for English- language learners even more inconsistent than it was before, University of California researchers conclude in a study released last week.
New Jersey's 4-year-old academic standards have started to influence what is taught in math and science classes throughout the state, but they have yet to significantly alter how teachers teach the subjects. That, in part, is because professional-development opportunities for teachers have been inadequate, a new report says.
  • National Board Certification Shows Little Ripple Effect, Study Finds
  • Recruitment Guidance
  • Union Roles
  • America's Story Online
  • Reading-Writing Perspectives
The Baltimore Teachers Union has filed a lawsuit to try to stop a private company from operating three low-performing public schools.
Edison Schools Inc. will announce this week that it is launching an ambitious research effort into the viability of opening its own teacher education colleges.
  • Ore. Program Shows Success in Preventing Steroid Use
  • Autism Investigation
  • Tougher Justice Seen for Minority Individuals
  • Violent Children
  • Flunking Finance
  • Student Achievement
  • Computer-Savvy Students
  • Successful Partnerships
  • School Choice
  • Fighting Juvenile Crime
  • Helping Vulnerable Families
  • Student Achievement
  • Spending Not the Solution
Nearly 1,700 charter schools are now operating in the United States, and the movement to create more of them enjoys widespread support. But so far, policymakers looking for proof that such schools can best the traditional public school system at improving student academic performance would find a patchwork quilt of conflicting evidence.

The following are highlights from the results of seven recent studies:

Delaware would temporarily relax testing requirements for students but start holding teachers and principals more accountable for those youngsters' achievement, under legislation that Gov. Thomas R. Carper is expected to sign into law this week.
The Kentucky Department of Education violated state law by transferring unspent money to various school districts and education cooperatives rather than returning it to state coffers—a practice that enabled a former department official to embezzle more than $500,000, the state auditor asserts in a recent report.
Departments
School choice proponents in Florida applauded a court ruling last week that allows them to continue implementing the first statewide voucher program in the country, even as they acknowledged that doubts about the program's future persist.
The Education Leaders Council unveiled a partnership with the Milken Family Foundation last week to pilot a program that aims to improve the quality of the nation's teachers. Organizers say that mission will be accomplished by changing the way educators are paid, utilized in schools, and made accountable for their work.
  • Pa. Gov. Seeks $1 Million for Possible Philadelphia Takeover
  • Ky OKs Posting Commandments
  • Judge Upholds Illinois Tax Credits
  • Ky. Enacts Teacher-Quality Law
  • Special Session Planned in Ariz.
Departments
Arguments over whether the Boy Scouts of America should be required to accept an openly gay man as a leader were heard by U.S. Supreme Court last week.
While heated debates over flexibility and accountability are attracting the most attention as Congress seeks to pass major K-12 education legislation this year, a side battle has emerged over civil liberties and religion in public schools.
  • Literacy Bills Would Emphasize Phonics, Annual Reading Tests
  • States Warned About Rules on Inclusion
  • Dept. Soliciting Thoughts on Special Ed.
Principal-training programs are getting more practical.
This two-year special project to examine leadership issues in education is underwritten by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Recent articles include:
Mary E. Diez questions the meaning of the standards movement.
Schools can develop considerable unity of purpose and shared vision, David S. Seeley maintains, despite many unresolved policy problems in the larger community.
It is foolhardy to debate strategies to improve American education without considering the growing role of the GED, argue Richard J. Murnane and John H. Tyler.
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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