September 6, 2000

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Vol. 20, Issue 01
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Opponents of bilingual education are welcoming improved standardized-test scores in California as new ammunition in their fight for English-only instruction.
Participants in the Massachusetts signing-bonus program head into their first year of teaching with less than two months of training.
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas and Vice President Al Gore are doing their utmost to impress the public with their plans for fixing America's schools. Includes a table, "Bush vs. Gore: The Candidates on Education, Issue by Issue."
The federal testing program that states rely on to validate the success of their school improvement policies is in danger of losing the ability to compare current scores with those dating back to the early 1990s.
Departments
An article in the Aug. 2, 2000, issue of Education Week about the indictment of a former mayor of Newark, N.J., on federal charges related to his firm's management of a school construction project misidentified the district involved.
Philadelphia and Boston school districts among the big-city districts on the verge of labor breakdowns late last week.
Departments
  • Ex-Chief, Board Wage Legal Fight in Dallas
  • Rockford, Ill., Case To Continue
  • Edison Role in Baltimore Upheld
  • ETS Invalidates Teacher Scores
  • Chicago Changes Promotion Rule
  • Boys Town Gets New Name
  • S.F. Drops HUD Housing Plan
  • Death
Departments
Backing away from a legal showdown that neither side wanted, New York state has agreed to allow New York City's worst-performing schools to open this week with some unlicensed teachers in exchange for a plan that would end the practice next year.
Fifteen companies and nonprofits are vying to manage some of New York City's most troubled schools in what could be one of the nation's largest experiments in privatizing public education.
The slowly rising tide of U.S. student achievement isn't lifting minority children enough to catch up with their white classmates, data from the federal testing program reveal. Includes the charts, "Three Decades of NAEP."
Students have made slow but steady gains in math since the early 1970s, but their reading achievement has barely budged, says a report scheduled for release this week by the Brookings Institution.
The following charts track student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress dating back to the late 1960s. The data reflect the scores on NAEP's 500-point scale for the same mathematics, reading, and science tests given under exactly the same conditions at several points over the past 30 years.
Over 650 low-income Philidelphia high-school students spent the summer in college enrichment programs.
As summer school wound down in recent weeks, New York City and Chicago school districts reported mixed results from unprecedented efforts to squeeze more instruction into the calendar.
Rather than seek a new superintendent, the Philadelphia school board is working to assemble a corporate-style management team to lead the 217,000-student district.
When it comes to fixing the nation's schools, policymakers who champion alternatives to traditional public education are out of sync with most Americans, the new edition of an annual poll suggests.
Black students who used privately financed vouchers to switch to private schools in four cities are showing steady academic gains over their public school peers, according to two studies released last week.
The average SAT mathematics score this year hit the highest mark in 30 years, College Board officials said here last week, pointing to the increasing number of students taking higher-level courses as a significant reason for the improvement.
Almost half the high school students responding to a national survey said they had been subjected to activities that fit a broad definition of hazing to become members of sports teams, cheerleading squads, gangs, and other groups.
A statewide mandate requiring Florida's public schools to meet fire and safety standards before starting classes this school year has districts scrambling to fix broken fire alarms and clear out electrical closets used for storage.
Elaine M. Schuster, the superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, will leave that post in December to become the chief executive officer of the Chicago-based Golden Apple Foundation.
Hear the noise? The "baby boom echo" is still resounding in the nation's schools.
Heeding the call for greater accuracy in its members' products, the Association of American Publishers has created a way for teachers and students to alert publishers online to possible errors.
Departments
Racial segregation is returning to the San Francisco school system, following a 1999 court order that forced the district to stop using race and ethnicity in assigning children to schools, a recent report concludes.
  • Early Exposure to Other Children May Ward Off Asthma
  • Drug Use
  • Smoking Declines
  • Ritalin Alternative
  • Grades Are for Students' Eyes Only, Federal Appeals Court Rules
  • Drug Testing
  • Textbook Fraud
Departments
Teachers and the growing number of districts desperately seeking them can now tap into a cyber-matchmaking service courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.
Schools—and more specifically, how to pay for them—are at the center of next week's primary elections the Granite State.
Seven months after Florida's state colleges and universities ended race- and gender-based admission policies, the number of minority students entering the system this fall increased by 12 percent, according to higher education officials.
Departments
Minnesota has added another year to its contract with National Computer Systems Inc. to score the state's standardized tests, despite an error by the company that mistakenly flunked nearly 8,000 students.
New Jersey education officials expect to have a better idea later this month about why the results on the 4th grade language arts exam given last spring were so much lower than on other areas of the state's assessments for 4th and 8th graders.
Some political watchdogs in Kansas are predicting that the state's controversial science standards adopted last year will soon be a thing of the past.
The New Mexico board of education has voted to change its new school rating system by lowering a test-score cutoff, a move that allowed more than 100 schools to escape the lowest rating of "probationary."
West Virginia's 25-year-old school funding lawsuit has moved closer to resolution, with the parties agreeing to tweak a system that has come a long way—but perhaps not far enough—toward setting the bar for a constitutionally adequate education.
  • Pa. Teachers Union Sues To Block Intervention Law
  • Ark. Teaching Awards Questioned
  • Former W. Va. Chief Reprimanded
  • W. Va. Names Permanent Chief
  • Nevada Superintendent To Leave
  • Tenn. Identifies Lagging Schools
  • New La. Tests Boost Retentions
  • Texas Medicaid Program Faulted
California must change its current system of distributing school construction money to place less emphasis on how quickly districts apply for the funds and more on how badly they need them, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's support for school voucher experiments and restructured education programs has raised some qualms among teachers' union officials who otherwise strongly support his selection as the Democratic nominee for vice president.
With an Oct. 1 deadline looming, many states have yet to submit their assessment systems for required reviews by the Department of Education and are still struggling with implementing the testing changes that a 1994 law mandates.
Departments
  • Conventions Put Education Front and Center
  • Repulicans Shift on Government's Role in Schoools
  • Shadow Conventions Offer Alternative Views
  • Teachers Well Represented at Democratic Convention
  • Buchanan Picks Teacher as Running Mate
  • Department Seeks Comment on HEA Rules
  • Riley Appoints New Director of Communications
Adding a new holiday to the calendar—on the opening day of school—is gaining currency around the country. With special events to woo parents away from work and into their children's classes, more schools are trying to forge stronger links between home and school from day one. The payoff, they say, can last all year.
A popular definition of insanity is "repeating the same action and continuing to expect a different result." Unless voucher proponents consider a different means to their end, they may end up meeting that definition, says David Barulich.
Mathematics education in Massachusetts will suffer if districts drop successful programs that achieve a balance between understanding and computation, says commentator Anne M. Collins.
Bruce E. Buxton offers a modest proposal: Allow teachers to bill by the hour.
Departments
Going public with tests, says Mark Musick, will address many of the criticisms aimed at them.
Letters
I was struck by the passion and obvious enthusiasm of James Nehring in describing his small "boutique" school in Devens, Mass. ("A Nation of Boutiques," Commentary, Aug. 2, 2000). I can only wonder what traditional schools would be like if the teachers who worked in them displayed equal enthusiasm and optimism.
The physical condition of schools is a topic regularly discussed by the media, government officials, politicians, and parents ("Facilities Gathering Highlights Importance of Involving the Public," Reporter's Notebook, Aug. 2, 2000). But while the debate goes on as to who should pay and how much to spend on facilities, students can get involved in improving the conditions in their schools now.
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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