August 8, 2001

This Issue
Vol. 20, Issue 43
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It may not have the same ring as "See You in September," but more and more school districts are telling students to make sure they're back in August for the first day of school—sometimes as early as the first week of the month.
Teachers' unions from around the world have issued a collective warning about the potential downsides of globalization, contending that the new global economy based on free trade and deregulation, if left unchecked, threatens the quality of, and access to, education in rich and poor countries alike. Includes a Reporter's Notebook, "Delegates Reminded of Elusiveness of Universal Schooling."
The nation's 4th and 8th graders have earned another positive report card in mathematics, as their performance continued on a path of steady improvement that began a decade ago, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Ten years ago, a group of some of the nation's best-known education thinkers assembled 450 educators to lay the groundwork for changing the nature of American schools. Today, though, the initiative's leaders acknowledge they fell short of achieving their vision.
FUTURE EDUCATORS: Kelly Wise, center, has recruited minority students such as Calvin Warren, left, and Carlos Miranda, right, for graduate study leading to education careers through a program at Phillips Academy, Andover. See story, Page 6.
Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania took the first step toward a possible takeover of the Philadelphia schools last week by naming Edison Schools Inc., the nation's largest for-profit operator of public schools, to review the 210,000-student system.
  • Panel Studying Change in N.Y.C. School Board
  • Desegregation Suits Settled
  • Compton, Calif., Names Chief
  • No L.A. Schools Job for Ex-Mayor
  • A 'First' for Bronx Science
  • Teen Gets 28 Years in Shooting
  • NEA Boosts Death Benefits
American children made gains on key indicators of well-being during the 1990s, according to "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2001," by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. It cites more mothers working as one reason.
Just over a year ago, anyone armed with an idea for improving education and a business plan could get a lot of money from venture capitalists, or so it seemed in the supercharged economy. Now, that well has all but dried up.
The amount of money invested by venture capitalists in education companies reached a peak in the first quarter of 2000, which was the heyday of Internet business creation. The amount invested has been declining steadily in each succeeding quarter.
For 26 years, a small army of school-age journalists has been fanning out in cities and suburbs with notepads and microphones, asking questions about things they rarely see in grown-up papers and news shows: things important to kids. Now, the news service that dispatched them is on the brink of collapse.
Over more than a decade, Kelly Wise, the founder of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers at Phillips Academy here has helped 364 African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans complete master's and doctoral degrees leading to education careers.
Teachers, administrators, parents, and advocates nervous about federal proposals for high-stakes testing are suddenly making more noise over the issue than all the jackhammers chewing away at the nation's roadways this summer.
The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have gotten the go-ahead to forge an ongoing alliance to pool their advocacy efforts.
In the federal government's most comprehensive study to date of the nation's home-schooling population, a survey released last week shows that 850,000 children—1.7 percent of the school-age population—are being taught primarily at home.
Hoping to drastically cut polluting fumes, several of the largest districts in California are investing in environmentally friendly technology for school buses.
The American Federation of Teachers hopes to help change such cultural norms and ultimately curb the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa by creating an awareness campaign targeted at educators
To help establish a more consistent process for providing financial aid to low-income students, the presidents of 28 private colleges and universities have agreed on a set of common standards for determining a family's ability to pay the cost of an undergraduate education.
Two years ago, a National Research Council panel published a report sketching out the "big picture'' for a 15-year strategy to make education research more useful. Last month, a second panel began the painstaking work of filling in the details.
Despite the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court nearly a half-century ago that school segregation was unconstitutional, the nation's schools became increasingly more separated by race in the 1990s, according to a report by the Harvard Civil Rights Project.
American schools became increasingly more segregated in the 1990s, a rise that a researcher attributes to white flight to suburban areas, federal courts' ending the strong desegregation plans of the 1960s, and the fact that Hispanic students were not included in desegregation efforts.
The members of the National Research Council's newly formed Strategic Education Research Program panel are:
  • Districts Raise Scores, Narrow Racial Gap
  • Girls in Math and Science
  • Children's Welfare
  • Risks in Dating
  • Teen Drug Use
  • African-Americans' Opinions
  • Views of Hispanics
  • Technology and Learning
  • School Partnerships
  • Values and Schools
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Use of 'Ecstasy'
  • Job Corps
  • Immigrant Children
  • AFT Leader Calls for Universal Preschool
  • Civics Knowledge
  • Middle School Help
  • College Board Success

Delegates Reminded of Elusiveness of Universal Schooling

As delegates to this year's Education International conference here pledged to step up their efforts to improve school attendance worldwide, the site of the meeting itself served as a striking reminder of just how big a challenge that will be.
The following charts show the percentages of 4th, 8th, and 12th graders who performed at the "below basic," "basic," "proficient," and "advanced" levels on the NAEP math tests administered in 1996 and 2000.
When Dorian and Paul Neidhart went house-hunting in Miami 13 years ago, their search focused on the neighborhood where they had grown up. They wanted their own children, someday, to go to the same public schools that had meant so much to them.
Tennessee lawmakers were expected to continue their budget wrangling this week, after Gov. Don Sundquist vetoed a hard-fought state budget that he saw as shortchanging education and other spending priorities.
When the dust finally settled from the California legislature's weeks-long battle over a slimmed-down state budget, the schools proved to be the biggest victors.
Louisiana is launching what many in the state are calling a private-school-voucher program for poor 4-year-olds in New Orleans, sparking controversy in the Bayou State.
Education leaders in New York state say schools and students will suffer from the legislature's decision last week to approve a "baseline" budget that provides schools with only a minimal increase in state aid and leaves in doubt the amount of funding they will receive for the upcoming school year.
Mississippi teachers will see pay raises starting this fall—after the legislature decided in a one-day summer session that their pay shouldn't be held hostage to a sputtering economy.
Two states have enacted what are thought to be the nation's first laws to clarify that parents, not school districts, will have the final say on whether their children take drugs to control behavior.
  • States Urged To Invest in Children's Earliest Years
  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Louisiana
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Wash. Teachers' Union Fined
    for Its Spending on Politics
  • Vallas Running for Illinois Governor
  • Finance Case Dismissed in Texas
  • Md. Urges End to Indian Mascots
  • Bilingual Ed. Ban Pushed in Mass.
  • Minute of Silence Upheld in Va.
  • Few Pass Colo. Test
  • Mass. Shifts Focus of History Test
As the Bush administration's resident educator, the 54-year-old first lady is her husband's best argument that his often-stated commitment to education comes from an authentic and personal place. Mrs. Bush has pledged to make education a top East Wing priority, and now she's working to deliver.
The lights of the Department of Education's executive suite are not only on, but now, finally, more than a handful of people are home. Eight new members have joined what had for months been a skeleton crew of top-ranking political appointees, after the Senate confirmed more of President Bush's nominees.
President Bush urged Congress last week not to overreach in setting the bar for adequate school performance, just as several reports have been released suggesting that current language in both the House and Senate education bills would do just that.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige has curbed employees' spending authority and plans to put top managers on performance contracts in new efforts to hold his agency more accountable.
The Bush administration is launching a five-year, $50 million study to uncover the best ways to enhance all areas of children's development and readiness for school success.
  • House Begins Work on OERI Revision
  • Panel To Study NAEP Use as Check on Tests
  • President Approves Extra Title I Funding
  • Math-Science Bill Clears House
Little independent research has been conducted on what effects percent-based college admissions plans have had on racial and ethnic diversity. But some evidence shows that the often-difficult transition from race-conscious admissions practices has forced higher education systems to pay more attention to high schools that have traditionally sent few students to their states' universities.
Several major states have adopted or considered college admissions plans that give a top percentage of high school graduates automatic admissions. Among them:
Author and educator Harry K. Wong says that new teachers need systematic and sustained induction programs, not just mentors.
In response to edutopians, superintendent Ron Rude says that student "interest" shouldn't necessarily be a central factor in deciding the forms and functions of a school system.
Assistant professor of education Marianne B. Cinaglia says that the slow, inexorable course of reforming our schools can bear a surprising resemblance to a more exhilarating pursuit: rafting down the Yellowstone River.
Educators can combat persistent racism in schools by constructing "healing communities" in which people can learn how to listen and pay attention to others, writes Julian Weissglass.
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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