February 6, 2002

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Vol. 21, Issue 21
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A.A. Dixon Elementary School in Pensacola, Fla., will likely be closing its doors for good this spring, three years after a state accountability program branded the school with an "F" label and offered its students private school vouchers.
District officials embarking on shopping trips to their insurance agencies this winter had better take along smelling salts: Over the past year, the cost of liability insurance has skyrocketed, many of the longtime vendors have quit the market, and those that do remain are requiring policyholders to shoulder more risk.
In a nationally watched move last December, Pennsylvania took over the country's eighth-largest school district. As part of that shift, nonprofit community groups will run low-performing local schools in partnership with for-profit school-management companies or other organizations by fall.
Parents will be able to withdraw their children from the federal assessment program, and students themselves now will be able to bow out, under a provision that experts warn could undermine the accuracy of test scores.
The last five of a group of New York City schools closed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack are reopening, one by one, in a tumble of emotions ranging from anger to jubilation.
Departments
  • Roosevelt Averts Layoffs With
    $1.4 Million in N.Y. Aid
  • Former Ky. Education Official Named
    No. 2 at Los Angeles District
  • Groups, Firms Seek to Provide
    Services to Phila. Schools
  • Parents Want 'Traffic Signal'
    Removed From Mich. Cafeteria
  • R.I. Teachers Are Ordered to Remove
    Personal Items
  • Okla. District Gets Flak for
    Black-Themed Poem
Departments
Urban school superintendents stay in their jobs an average of 4.6 years, much longer than the 2.5 years widely cited by the education community, concludes a report released last week by the National School Boards Association.
The federal government should establish a new grant program for states to help pay for preschool education for all 3- and 4-year-olds, urges a report scheduled for release this week by the Washington-based Committee for Economic Development.
Departments
When the box arrived, school officials took turns gently stepping inside so their feet could get a feel for the small patch of soft surface. A few seconds later, like food critics carefully ruminating over the quality of food resting on their palates, they stepped out with their individual reviews.
A National Academy of Sciences panel warns against using standardized tests; a local school board bars a high school production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; lawmakers in Kentucky scrap a proposal that would have made kindergarten attendance a prerequisite for 1st grade; and more.
Some researchers are wondering why the Bush White House, in its 13th month in power, still has not named a new head for the National Center for Education Statistics.
Students from Community High School District 155 in Crystal Lake, Ill., often took field trips to Chicago, just 50 miles to the south. But district officials, fearing an increased risk to student safety, called a halt to all trips after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Departments
The New York state legislature has voted to postpone community school board elections in New York City, marking the latest development in a growing debate over how best to run the nation's largest school system.
A survey given to a handful of students at a California elementary school has prompted angry protests from parents who learned the poll included several probing questions about sexuality.
Departments
At a time when federal lawmakers are shining a harsh spotlight on educational research, a group of leading researchers gathered here recently to celebrate some of the field's successes over the past 30 years.
Departments
Maine's ambitious plan to provide middle schoolers with laptop computers faces a fight for its life as state legislators eye it as a source of budget savings.
Idaho's schools chief has warned legislators that an innovative testing plan approved by the state board of education would fail to meet federal testing requirements and could cost the state millions of dollars in federal aid.
Departments
After a two-month delay for experts to vet some surprising ups and downs in the most recent state-test results, Maryland officials last week gave the scores a clean bill of health and released them.
The California legislature adopted $857 million in education budget cuts last week, meeting the governor's goal for reining in state spending in the face of a significant budget shortfall.
  • Ala. Board Takes a Stand,
    Favors Constitution Review
  • Bartlett Leaves Md. Board
  • N.J. Ruling Leaves Questions
  • N.D. Schools Face Violations
  • New Mexico
  • Alaska
  • Maine
Education issues were sidelined at the State of the Union Address last week. But President Bush did offer support for boosting teacher recruitment, improving early-childhood education, and expanding national service programs.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy journeyed from the court's marble halls last week to a classroom in a public high school here, where he led students in an unusual discussion about democratic values in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Departments
The Department of Education plans a three-year, $15 million study to gauge the effectiveness of using technology to improve learning. The congressionally mandated study will address a gap in knowledge that for years has frustrated both educators and policymakers.
The leader of a scheme to defraud the Department of Education of more than $1 million has pleaded guilty on two criminal counts. The Jan. 17 plea brings to 15 the number of individuals who have pleaded guilty to criminal charges under the plot, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington.
  • Congress Passes Bill
    Freezing Low Loan Rate
  • Bush Names 10 to Literacy Board
  • Hispanic Education Panel Formed
Following are highlights from President Bush's Jan. 29 State of the Union Address and the Democratic response from House Minority Leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.
With race-based admissions policies in legal jeopardy, an elite magnet school dropped affirmative action. The results: plummeting diversity and hard feelings.
Fairfax County school officials discontinued the district's affirmative action policies for Thomas Jefferson High School in 1998, on their lawyer's advice. The change had a noticeable effect on the racial composition of the next freshman class, the class of 2002, and on subsequent groups of freshmen. Although the number of African-American and Hispanic applicants has not trended downward since then, the numbers accepted to Thomas Jefferson have fallen from 49 accepted in the class of 2001 to nine in the class of 2005.
"The model of one tireless, constantly available leader to one school building is no longer tenable," according to Sheryl Boris-Schacter and Sondra Langer. They propose new ways of defining the principalship to fit today's principals.
Patrick F. Bassett claims that if we are unhappy with the character of American culture as reflected in its schools, we should look to schools that are countercultural and encourage their growth.
Richard M. Merelman laments the apathy that is leading to resegregation in public schools and refutes various arguments that support ending integration.
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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