September 4, 2002

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Vol. 22, Issue 01
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A recently approved plan to spend $100 million over the next five years to make preschool more widely available to youngsters in Los Angeles County is being touted as a national model.
With the rising use of high-stakes tests has come a backlash. Critics say many students would sooner drop out of school, possibly to take the General Educational Development test, than face an exam they feel sure they will fail. Includes: "Study Says to States: Don't Rush; Provide Support on Exit Exams."
Teach and talk about the wrenching but historic day—or ignore it. Teachers throughout the country face that dilemma as the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches. Includes: "NEA's 9/11 Web Site Sparks Debate" and "Sept. 11 Curriculum Resources."

As the school year begins, record numbers of Florida students are using an expanded menu of state-financed vouchers and other tuition-aid options to enroll in private schools—despite a recent state court ruling that is clouding the outlook for school choice in the state. Includes: "Applications for Cleveland Vouchers Soar After High Court Ruling."
FLORIDA cHOICE: Record numbers of Florida students are using an expanded menu of state-financed options to attend private schools. Mario Cabrera, center, attends 3rd grade at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Miami with tuition aid from the state.
Edison Schools Inc., already pummeled by falling stock prices and opposition to its work, is being booted out of school districts in Texas and Georgia, and has come under investigation by state and federal authorities who want to know how it secured two contracts in Pennsylvania.
  • Arkansas Parents Call Off Boycott Over Elections
  • Federal Judge Orders Switch in Michigan Girls' Sports Seasons
  • Georgia District Floats Policy on Teaching Origins of Life
  • N.J. Judge Blocks Takeover of Camden School Board
  • Inkster, Mich., School System Gets State Financial Oversight
  • Santana High Gunman Sentenced to Prison
  • Former School Worker Sentenced in Thefts
  • District Chief in Kan. to Quit After Flap Over Plagiarism
Officials from purveyors of the nation's two most widely used admissions tests linked lagging scores in different sections of the exams to high school students' failure to take enough of the core classes needed to prepare them for higher education. Includes a chart: "The ACT and the SAT: Scores Over Time."
Two school districts are shelling out hefty sums to settle lawsuits alleging they failed to protect gay students from harassment. Meanwhile, a third district last week agreed to a $1.2 million settlement with a teacher who was disciplined for speaking out on "controversial" issues, including advocating safety for gay students.
Shown below is a sampling of nationwide averages on the math and verbal sections of the ACT and the SAT (formerly the Scholastic Aptitude Test) since 1980. Officials with the College Board, which offers the SAT, have raised concerns over stagnating scores on the test's verbal section.
School districts in some Southern states are taking aggressive measures to protect students from being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes because of increasing fears of the West Nile virus.
English-language learners do better academically over the long term if they participate in special programs to learn English at the start of their school careers, rather than attend only mainstream classes, according to one of the largest longitudinal studies of such students ever conducted.
Americans' support for using public funds to pay for students to attend private schools apparently was growing even before the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision upholding the Cleveland voucher plan, findings from this year's Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll on public attitudes about education suggest. Includes the chart, "Voucher Questions."
A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll and a survey by the Center for Education Reform suggest that there is rising support for using government money to pay for students to attend private schools. Includes a table, "Voucher Questions."
A look at the stocks of a selection of K-12 education companies shows that most have performed poorly this year. Some have been downright abysmal, while a handful had racked up modest year-to-date gains in their share prices through late last month. Includes the table, "Wall Street Blues."
Public school spending on classroom Internet connections appears to have no measurable impact on student achievement in California, concludes a recent study by two University of Chicago economists.
Computer giant IBM is awarding $15 million in grants to nine partnerships between public schools and colleges of education in an attempt to strengthen teacher-preparation programs.
New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has assembled a senior staff of leaders drawn from education, philanthropy, government, and the military to advise him.
Union officials and right-to-work advocates are both declaring victory after two separate rulings involving fees for nonunion teachers in Massachusetts and California.
  • Bush Administration Calls for Reversal of Pledge Ruling
  • Voucher Analysis
The Los Angeles school district will ban all carbonated soft drinks from its schools in a move to curb junk food and fight childhood obesity.
As the nationwide popularity of high school exit exams continues to climb, a recent report contends that states have been lax in devoting money and services to students most at risk of failing the tests.
To date, 24 states have established—or are in the process of setting up— statewide exit exams or, alternatively, end-of-course exams that high school students are required to pass before they graduate. This map shows the 18 states that currently have the exams in place for students who want to graduate in the class of 2003, and the six states that are in the process of phasing in such tests.
The National Education Association, long a target of conservative criticism for its stands on political and social issues, is under siege again—this time for its advice to teachers on handling the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Here is a sampling of resources available to educators as they prepare to teach lessons or provide programs pegged to the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
In her quest for the Florida governorship, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno is all business, attacking incumbent Gov. Jeb Bush's support of school vouchers, railing against overcrowded classrooms, and pounding the lectern for higher teacher salaries.
They are an elusive population: faces that vanish from class yearbooks, then reappear in low-wage jobs, unemployment offices, and even at other schools. This year, educators in Arizona received what might be the most detailed snapshot yet of the teenagers who are dropping out of their schools by the thousands.
In a pleasant surprise for California educators, the legislature has managed to salvage this year's cash awards for schools that perform well on state assessments.
Nevada has imposed steep penalties on Harcourt Educational Measurement for errors in administering statewide exams, and Georgia is poised to do the same, following scoring glitches typical of the kind that have plagued state- sponsored testing programs in recent years.
California is revising its definitions of a qualified teacher, after a draft submitted to the U.S. Department of Education was shot down.
The wealthiest quarter of the nation's school districts on the whole receive nearly $1,000 more per pupil from state and local sources than the poorest quarter of districts—creating an educational "funding gap" that must be corrected, a report says. Includes the chart, "States With Highest Funding Gaps."
  • Georgia Schools Chief Loses Bid for Governor
  • Bilingual Ed. Measure Headed for Colo. Ballot
  • Ohio Lottery Funds Ruled Only for Schools
  • Full-Day Kindergarten Suffers Cut in Mass.
  • Superintendent Named Texas 'Dropout Czar'
  • NGA, Broad Foundation to Offer States Help
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin
Officials in Ohio say they have been forced to turn away more than 1,100 Cleveland parents hoping to send their children to private schools using state- financed vouchers, in part because of a surge in applications following this summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the voucher program.
The Department of Education's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics will tackle a long list of concerns about how Title IX—the law mandating equal opportunities for women and girls in athletics and education at institutions that receive federal aid—is playing out when it comes to sports, and make recommendations in a report due Jan. 31.
The Department of Education discretionary budget has grown at a remarkable pace over the past six years, more than doubling to $50 billion.
As part of its campaign to make education an evidence-based endeavor, the Department of Education has awarded an $18.5 million contract to a group of researchers and education organizations to build a national clearinghouse on "what works" in schools.
Plans are just getting under way in this country for a new national clearinghouse on what research has to say about what works in education. But on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, British researchers have already beaten the United States to the punch.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige has selected Darvin M. Winick, a fellow Texan and a former consultant to the Education Department, as the new chairman of the governing board that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Some school districts may get a little extra time to fully meet federal requirements aimed at providing families with new educational options, the Department of Education has announced.
Working one day as a janitor could earn a teacher $93,000.
Public schools anticipating a change in the federal policy that discourages single-sex education have already started this fall to separate girls and boys for subjects like math and English, and even for lunch.
  • Web Site Offers Help for Medicaid Filing
  • Study: Rural Schools Offer Fewer Voc. Ed. Courses
  • Florida College System Says D'Amico Was Finalist for Job
  • NSF Grant Aims to Seed Improved Research
  • Interim Official Named for Student-Aid Office
  • Texas School Is Named for First Lady Laura Bush
Have voucher advocates won the battle but lost the war? Tyll van Geel and William Lowe Boyd offer some thoughts on the Zelman decision.
The events of 9/11 are a call to transform our view of what education must provide for students. Yet those who have the means to change the status quo seem singularly unable or uninterested. Why? asks Maurice J. Elias.
Why can't kids spell? Signs, sighs Charlotte K. Frank.
Howard Gardner reflects on the push for more and better science in educational research. Good schools, he notes, rarely base their teaching on educational research, relying instead on practices honed over many years of trial-and-error. "Perhaps we need to be doing more of this, rather than less," he suggests.
Thousands of Mexican-American teenagers who were born in the United States are still not fluent in English. What's going wrong?
Here is a writing excerpt from a Los Angeles middle school English-language learner born in the United States:
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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