June 12, 2002

This Issue
Vol. 21, Issue 40
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By knitting together the thousands of data elements now collected by districts and states into a centralized computer bank, educators can look for patterns that could help improve both the management and productivity of schools.
More than half the nation's middle school students and a quarter of its high school students are learning core academic subjects from teachers who lack certification in those subjects and did not major in them in college, a new federal survey shows. Includes the chart "Students' Exposure to Out-of-Field Teachers."
Arguing that they feel suffocated by increasing encroachments on their professional turf, teachers in several states turned to their legislatures this year in efforts to gain clout at the local bargaining table.
Some people wondered aloud last week how New York State education officials could believe they were helping students by engaging in what the critics characterized as censorship and foolishness. Includes "Former New York State 'Sensitivity Review' Guidelines" and "Sample Altered Passages."
In the face of steep declines in tax revenues, many school districts are scrapping or scaling back their summer school programs, despite pressure on students to meet higher standards.
Departments
  • Edison Gets Financing for Phila. Expansion
  • Massachusetts Teen Avoids Trial for Alleged School Attack Plot
  • Ohio Aids Rural School District After Bank's Loss of Funds
  • Newly Named Board in Maryland Votes to Retain District Chief
  • Ariz. District Seeks to Recoup Insurance Costs for Ex-Workers
  • L.A. Asks Fewer Teachers to Sign Commitments
  • Deaths: John A. Moore; C. William Brubaker
Departments
John A. Moore, one of the leaders of the Cold War-era changes in science education, died in Riverside, Calif., on May 26. He was 86.
Most schools must still comply with a federal law requiring them to install filtering software to prevent children from viewing Internet pornography on school computers, despite a ruling that struck down the law as it applied to public libraries.
A group of researchers is seeking answers to one of the biggest debates in math education: Do new, federally financed curricula based on voluntary national mathematics standards help raise student achievement?
Departments
Annenberg Challenge leaders from around the country will convene in Washington this week for the release of a report that paints a generally upbeat portrait of the initiative's contributions. Includes the chart "Urban Challenge Sites."
Lay teachers become the majority in Catholic schools; athletes face stricter academic-eligibility requirements; the Dade County, Fla., school system expects to keep more than half its schools open and operating over the summer; and more.
Now that the U.S. Department of Education has signaled its intent to ease long- standing federal rules that made it tough for public schools to teach boys and girls separately, some educators may be looking to research for advice on how best to do it.
Departments
In a study released last week, the Washington-based National Women's Law Center argues that vocational education steers too many girls into courses that lead to low-paying occupations, rather than into trade and technology tracks, which remain male-dominated and pay better. Includes the chart "Choosing a Path."
High school students receive little guidance about careers and postsecondary education, particularly when it comes to options other than attending four-year colleges and universities, researchers at Michigan's Ferris State University have found. They concluded that teenagers' career goals were defined overwhelmingly by parents, rather than guidance counselors and others. The researchers interviewed 809 high school juniors and seniors around the country.
Young children who take part in Early Head Start have stronger cognitive skills, better vocabularies, and more positive attitudes than children who are eligible to participate in the program but do not, according to a newly released, seven-year evaluation of the federally financed child-development effort.
Child-adult ratios are not nearly as important in family child-care settings as they are in center-based programs. Rather, it's the provider's level of education and training that counts the most in home-based programs, according to a pair of reports in the spring issue of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Departments
More than half the school districts in the United States depend on students to keep their communications networks and computers up and running, according to a survey released last week. Includes the chart "Tracking Technology Trends."
A survey of technology leaders from 811 school districts revealed some interesting trends. One especially noteworthy one involved the use of students to provide technical support for district computers.
In what could be a first-of-its-kind policy, school officials in Washoe County, Nev., will have access to court and police records for all of their high school student athletes this coming fall.
A new push is under way to jump-start stalled efforts to create a system of advanced certification for principals and superintendents, akin to the national certification process for teachers.
As is common across the nation, some schools in Massachusetts are succeeding while other, often similar schools in the state are struggling.
  • Group to Grade Pittsburgh School Chief, Board
  • Enhancing Accountability
  • Teaching Difficult Students
  • Pay for Performance
A report by the Louisiana state auditor has raised questions about how a New Orleans school janitor could possibly have earned $85,144 in overtime in 2½ years. The janitor, Alphonse Davis, is the father of the superintendent of the New Orleans public school system.
This table shows the change from 1987-88 to 1999-2000 in the percentage of middle and high school students taught by teachers who either lack certification and a college major in the subject they teach, or lack certification and a college major or minor in that subject.
Ohio's first-ever release of student-performance data by race and ethnicity this spring has sparked new alarm over the large gap that often separates students from different groups and is inspiring an urgent drive to close the disturbing academic divides there.
When the Ohio Department of Education released statewide student-performance data this spring, the results were broken out by race and ethnicity for the first time. The data below show the percentages of 6th graders who met or exceeded the minimum state performance standard on 2000-01 state mathematics and reading-proficiency tests.
Departments
Alabama students have a constitutional right to an adequate and equitable education. But don't expect the state's court system to make sure they get one.
  • Arizona
Enrollment in Minnesota's public-school-choice programs grew enormously during the 1990s, particularly among students who moved from traditional public schools to alternative schools, according to a new study.
  • Florida Ballot Questions Seek Changes to New K-20 System
  • Legislature to Curb N.Y.C. Board's Power
  • Calif. Lawmakers Take Up Backpacks
  • Study: Kansas Students Need More Money
  • La. Teachers Get a Hand Buying Homes
  • Mo. Law Aligns Requirements for Disabled
Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills ordered last week that these guidelines be replaced with less restrictive ones.
A new study suggests that the government's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, aimed at persuading young people not to use drugs, has not been effective in influencing youths.
The "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 gives clear mandates to states to begin measuring students' scientific knowledge by 2008. But what the law means for the science curriculum is still up for debate.
Departments
Students who attend private schools are twice as likely to get a college degree than students who attend public schools, according to data released in an annual analysis of education by the National Center for Education Statistics.
After a year of harvesting opinions from campuses nationwide, several members of Congress are backing legislation aimed at streamlining the financial-aid process for college students and administrators.
  • Federal Guide Helps Schools Evaluate Student Threats
  • Interest on Student Loans Falls Sharply
  • First Lady Hosts Library Experts
  • Agency Hires Public-Affairs Head
Teacher-researchers use their own classrooms to investigate questions in education—and they are producing knowledge that other teachers pay attention to. Includes a resource list, "The Movement for Teacher Research."
These publications and World Wide Web sites offer some additional information on the teacher-research movement:
Schools need a new model of accountability that allows them to focus solely on academic achievement, without being held accountable for providing all the social needs of students, according to Ronald S. Thomas.
Jane Ehrenfeld, a 1st grade teacher, defends her digressions from her school's curriculum by recounting how much learning can occur when minds are allowed to wander.
Jay P. Greene proposes that special education is not draining schools of needed funds, as is often believed, but that schools are actually getting more money to educate the same number of special needs students as they ever had.
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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