July 12, 2000

This Issue
Vol. 19, Issue 42
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The call for higher standards for students is making unprecedented demands on teachers, say the leaders of the nation's two largest teachers' unions.

Capping off a busy year of legal masonry, the U.S. Supreme Court added some new bricks to the wall of separation between church and state while lowering it elsewhere. Includes links to full texts of decisions.

Florida's accountability program that offers vouchers to students in the state's lowest-rated schools had proved so successful in raising test scores that the tuition aid won't be offered to any new students this fall. Includes a chart, "Fla. Schools Get Better Report Cards".
For a small school, the Academy for Community Education always had a decent basketball program. The boys' team at the alternative high school in Coral Gables had been competitive against other small Miami-area high schools. It even made it to the Florida state finals in 1995.
Departments
Eleven months of contentious relations between Dallas Superintendent Waldemar "Bill" Rojas and the city's school board came to a head last week when the board voted to fire the embattled schools chief following a three-hour closed session.
The financial-control board that oversees much of the city government in the nation's capital last week named Paul L. Vance, a former superintendent in nearby Montgomery County, Md., to head the District of Columbia schools.
Departments
  • Ruling Ends Louisville Desegregation Case
  • Rochester Considers '3-4-5' Plan
  • Palo Alto Schools Chief Indicted
  • Court Presence To Remain in K.C.
  • Miller Steps Down in L.A. Unified
  • Oakland Principals Reassigned
  • Probe of NEA Spending Sought
  • Chicago Schools Reorganized
  • Schools Make 'Endangered' List
  • Md. Aid to Baltimore Faulted
Departments
The Educational Testing Service has named a businessman who promises an aggressive growth strategy to be its next president.
The proportion of students who get college credit for passing grades on Advanced Placement exams may be far lower than policymakers, educators, and students commonly believe, a study suggests.
Departments
A new report on early-childhood education lays out a vision that includes having all preschool classes led by college-educated teachers with specialized training.
A Phoenix elementary school principal has pleaded guilty to criminal charges of failing to notify authorities of evidence that a student was being sexually abused by a staff member at her school.
State leaders have compromised the educational future of Hispanic students by making high-stakes decisions based on "inaccurate and inadequate testing information," a presidential panel contends.
The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged Michigan's new college- scholarship program on the grounds that using a state test alone to make the awards discriminates against poor and minority students.
Harcourt General Inc., one of the nation's largest educational publishers, surprised observers recently with the news that it was putting itself up for sale.
Practically every school technology company that attended the annual National Educational Computing Conference last month in Atlanta had something to announce, whether it was a new partnership, a new product, or simply a new price for an old offering.
The push to hold schools and students accountable for their performance based primarily on test scores has put unprecedented pressures on state testing systems, according to attendees at a recent conference.
A recent poll suggests that the public may be uneasy with the growing emphasis on using standardized tests to make important educational decisions about students.
Though many of the nation's schools are in adequate physical condition, a substantial number—especially in districts that serve poorer students in urban and rural areas—need repairs, according to new federal data.
Denver's closely watched pay-for-performance pilot has fallen behind the implementation schedule that district and teachers' union officials devised last fall, and several major hurdles still loom for the groundbreaking effort.
William L. Sanders, whose research on the "value added" effects of teachers and schools has made him a sought-after expert among education leaders and policymakers nationwide, has moved to the for-profit world.
As summer-jobs programs for youths get under way across the country, city officials are reporting varying degrees of success in dealing with a new law that eliminated federal funding earmarked for such programs in years past.
After studying the 150 small public schools that have sprouted up in Chicago since 1990, a group of researchers at Bank Street College of Education has concluded that smaller is better.
High school biology textbooks, a leading science professional group says, suffer from the same problem as the curriculum they're based on: They're a mile wide and an inch deep.
  • On the Technology Midway: Everything but Kewpie Dolls
  • Cooperative Software
  • New Reports on School Technology
  • Report: Poor Schools Lack Qualified Teachers
  • Teacher Education
  • Voucher Questions
  • Bilingual Education Critique
  • Child-Care Availability
  • Per-Pupil Spending
  • Southern States
  • Civic Education
In an attempt to inform and expand the nation's search for better school leadership, the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds has announced a $150 million initiative designed to forge a better understanding of what it takes to foster and retain outstanding educational leaders.
Babies born weighing less than 51/2 pounds are far less likely than other children to graduate from high school on time—even when compared with siblings who weighed more at birth, a study suggests.

AFT:
  • Backs Away From Charter School Support
  • Seeks To Beef Up Membership—And Clout
  • Reports Teacher-Salary Lag
  • Welcomes Vice President Gore
The nation's largest teachers' union momentarily considered cracking open the door to performance-based pay last week, and then slammed it shut.

NEA:
  • Trains Political Guns on NRA
  • Discusses Political Action
  • Votes on Spending Rules
  • Softens School Privatization Policy
  • Welcomes Vice President Gore
  • Reports on Merger Progress
California teachers will be starting the coming school year in line for higher salaries, better retirement benefits, and more money off their state tax bills, thanks to a broad package of recruitment and retention initiatives Gov. Gray Davis signed into law last week.
Departments
David S. Wolk has been guided by a simple maxim as he's moved through jobs as principal, superintendent, and now, state schools chief: Educate all children as if they were your own.
After seeing her $445 million education plan shot down and resurrected more than once in a rancorous battle with conservative lawmakers, Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull has emerged with a victory that will let the state's voters decide the proposal's fate this fall.
California's push to reduce the size of classes in the primary grades has delivered a second year of small gains in achievement, a report from a consortium of research groups concludes.
  • N.J. Plans Special Legislative Session To Finish Court-Ordered Facilities Bill
  • Mass. Unions Challenge Plan To Test Teachers
  • Colo. Board Urges Schools To Diplay Motto
  • ACLU Sues Virginia Over Minute of Silence
  • Oregon Board Alters Testing Program
  • Arizona Limits Scope of Its Math Assessment
  • New Mexico Adopts Plan for Rating Schools, Districts
  • Mass Legislature Overrides Early-Retirement Veto
  • South Carolina Charter School Law Still in Limbo
Gordon M. Ambach, the dean of Washington education association leaders, has announced that he will retire next summer after 13 years of leading the Council of Chief State School Officers.
California voucher opponents are mobilizing their resources to fight a Silicon Valley businessman with deep pockets, following a recent announcement that a proposal to give parents $4,000 a year for nonpublic school tuition will be on the statewide ballot in November.
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Tennessee
Departments
In what some see as a legislative change of heart, House Republican leaders have introduced a bill to help districts pay for school renovations and repairs.
When Al Gore and Jesse Ventura visited schools together late last month, it wasn't just the unlikely pairing of the earnest vice president and the flamboyant Minnesota governor that stood out. It was also the issue that united them that made news.
  • Bush Outlines Plan for Boosting
    Educational Technology Funding
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that the Boy Scouts of America has a First Amendment right to exclude homosexuals is likely to lead to more pressure on public schools and other sponsors to sever their ties with the organization.
The Senate has approved a spending bill that would provide a nearly $5 billion increase in the Department of Education's budget, substantially more than the House has put forward.
A round-up of the Supreme Court's decisions this term affecting education.
Following are excerpts from the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Helms, upholding federal instructional aid to religious schools, and Mitchell v. Helms, upholding federal instructional aid to religious schools.

An ambitious and long-running study of children, which so far has captured the attention of working mothers more than that of teachers or administrators, could soon provide the kind of insights that educators have long been seeking. Includes: "All Points of Compass Represented in Project," and "Going to Great Lengths To Keep Parents on Board."
The following is a list of investigators involved in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development:
Susan B. Dell talks about standing on a street corner in a housing project at sundown, just to get the phone number of someone who has moved away.
Market theory can explain much about our school productivity problems and is about to challenge and radically change schools, Herber J. Walberg argues.
While heaping blame on colleges for not controlling alcohol abuse, we might be overlooking the role parents and the media play in giving teenagers an unhealthy attitude towards drinking, writes Anne M. Weeks.
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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