December 12, 2001

This Issue
Vol. 21, Issue 15
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Nearly a year after President Bush announced his plan to revamp the federal role in K-12 education, Congress appears on the cusp of delivering a final bill to the Oval Office. Includes the table, "ESEA Highlights."
A major review of scholarly research on private school vouchers and charter schools released last week concludes that there are no clear answers yet about whether they are an effective alternative to the traditional public school system.
Throughout California, and around the country, teachers are responding to the pressure of high-stakes testing by spending more time teaching writing and building written exercises. But many teachers, critics say, are simply adapting or reducing their writing instruction to a formula for success on state exams.
While the Buffalo teachers slated to be affected by budget cuts work to make peace with their pink slips—preparing their students for good-byes, or talking with recruiters from other districts—school officials and Buffalo citizens aren't swallowing the staff layoffs and cuts in programs without a fight.
Departments
Teachers and secretaries on strike in a New Jersey district were summoned to court and given a choice of returning to work or going to jail. In all, 228 had been put behind bars by the end of last week.
  • Catholic School Unions in N.Y.C.
    Stage Job Actions
  • Faced With Deficit, D.C. Board
    Votes to Cut the School Year
  • Mass. Budget Cuts Force State to Drop
    Educators' Internet Service
  • Michigan Students Unharmed After
    Exposure to Mercury
  • Annenberg Foundation Awards
    $10 Million to Boston Schools
  • Ariz. Orders Scottsdale District
    To Charge Charter School Rent
  • Md. District Receives Waiver
    To Continue Reading Schedule
  • Chicago Board Cracks Down
    On Student Absenteeism
  • Mass. Student Fatally Stabs Counselor
Some said it would devastate working relationships between teachers. It hasn't. Others hoped it would dramatically raise student performance. Not so far.
Baltimore schools have improved significantly under a partnership with the state of Maryland, an independent consultant's report has found, but the system still has much work to do before its students are performing on par with their peers throughout the state.
Departments
While many schools around the country try to make learning more concrete for their students, or require them to serve the community, service learning has become embedded in the academic culture of the 63,000-student Boston school district.
The Reagan administration says that education begins in the home; bilingual educators are alarmed and puzzled by government reports saying bilingual education is ineffective; the RAND Corp. says school systems operating more than one federal education program may experience conflicts; researchers worry that the Soviets are ahead in science education; and there are no schools in Christmas. ...
The United States scored in the middle on a new 32-nation study of educational achievement, experts say, because many of the best readers in the world live here—and many more of the worst.
After a bitter defeat at the polls on Nov. 6 taught them some lessons about the political strength of teachers' unions, the backers of a new Carson Unified School District are starting over from scratch— a process that could take several years.
Once again, lawmakers in Texas seem ready to challenge the state school board's role as the manager of investments for a $19 billion public education trust fund that provides aid to school districts statewide.
Until this fall, the Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition had never before trained school principals. But that changed when the organization won a $42,000 grant from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds.
The popular children's television show "Sesame Street" recently unveiled a Web-based music education program in which the Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and other characters help teach young children such concepts as rhythm and melody.
Departments
Pennsylvania's governor and Philadelphia's mayor have delayed until Dec. 21 the impending state takeover of the city's schools in an attempt to make more cordial and cooperative a shift of power that many Philadelphians already view as an unfriendly intrusion.
When it comes to guiding principles, research in education is not all that different from research in the natural or social sciences, a panel of prominent researchers concludes in a new report.
A federal study of violent deaths in American schools found that there were warning signs—such as verbal threats, notes, or suicidal behavior—prior to many of the incidents.
Departments
Officials of the New Hanover County school district in North Carolina are taking steps to discourage parents from giving up their parental rights in order to send their children to a preferred school.
The FBI has ended its 4½-year investigation of alleged fraud and corruption in the Dallas school district, a move that district leaders say lifts a cloud of suspicion as they attempt to gain voter approval for a hefty bond proposal.
Two school districts and a university were named last week as the first education winners in the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award competition.
It has been 46 years since the economist Milton Friedman proposed giving parents taxpayer-financed tuition vouchers to send their children to private schools.
Five months into the fiscal year, exhausted Massachusetts lawmakers have completed all but a small piece of the state's fiscal 2002 budget. The document, which was approved in an emergency legislative session Nov. 21, largely protects K-12 education spending, despite a slumping state economy.
North Carolina has devoted insufficient time, money, and staff to its testing program over the past few years—shortcomings that, if not properly addressed, could continue to jeopardize its overall reliability and credibility, a panel of testing experts told the state school board last week.
Departments
Tiny Rio Grande College in Uvalde, Texas, has retained its right to recommend prospective teachers for certification, after the state threatened to strip the institution of the privilege.
  • Michigan
  • Arizona Reports Scoring Errors
    On State Exams
  • New Georgia Report Card
    Goes Online With More Data
  • Illinois Construction Fund
    Shrinks; Crisis Looms
  • Hawaii Spec. Ed. System
    Avoids Federal Takeover
A new report calls for fixing—but not abandoning—the Department of Education's process for designating "exemplary" and "promising" educational programs.
The pupils at Mott Hall Elementary School in Harlem wonder whether their overseas peers might hate them just because they are American. Others want to know how the daily lives of students in the Islamic world differ from their own. Now, to find out the answers, all they have to do is ask their electronic pen pals in Egypt.
Departments
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 continues to funnel a steady flow of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, the justices heard oral arguments in a case that will help define what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation" for workers with disabilities.
Displaced from their home in New York's financial district, teachers and students at the High School of Economics and Finance remain focused on their mission.
Experience will take principals only so far. What's needed is a systematic problem-solving and decision-making process, say authors Robert A. Klempen and Cynthia T. Richetti.
New solutions can be too much of a good thing, says Irving H. Buchen. It's time to declare a moratorium on educational innovations and let teachers breathe.
One of the most difficult tasks teachers have is to convey to students the difference between pluralism (and respecting people who hold different views) on the one hand and relativism (the idea that no moralities or moral principles are more true, or objectively justifiable, than others) on the other. It is important to remember—and to remind students—that moral disagreements are almost always disagreements about what the truth is, what justice actually requires. ... If students come to believe that choosing a moral (or religious or political or scientific) position is like choosing what to eat from a buffet line, they will have misunderstood the nature of morality rather badly.
Departments
Letters
Departments
Americans suffer from a crisis mentality. As the nation gears up to face its next crisis, education is unlikely to remain a high priority much longer. Time to move into the endgame, says Arthur Levine.
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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