Issues

August 1990

Teacher, Vol. 01, Issue 10
Education Thinking Like A Scientist
Among those peers are 25,000 middle grade students at 583 schools in 43 states, all linked together in an ambitious computer telecommunications project known by the research group's acronym, TERC. With just a few keystrokes, students can share their findings-- about radon or nine other areas of scientific inquiry--thus gaining broader perspectives on the problem.
August 1, 1990
5 min read
Education Notebook
The report, released at a recent technology conference of the Council of Chief State School Officers, was taken as a sign that technology training is lagging behind teacher need.
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education The Case For English Immersion
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education Current Events / In Brief
At a time of great concern about teacher shortages, the new estimate is significant because the number of teachers who leave the profession annually is the most important figure in projecting the demand for new teachers. A 2 percentage point reduction in the attrition rate would mean that approximately 50,000 fewer teachers are leaving the profession each year than had previously been determined.
August 1, 1990
7 min read
Education Fields Of Dreams
He also brought along a tape recorder to record his impressions and, like a good teacher, created a grading sheet for the parks. The sheet had eight categories--including food, upkeep, scoreboard, and atmosphere--to help Wood come up with an overall grade, from A to D, for each stadium. (Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., got the only A's. Houston's Astrodome and Montreal's Exhibition Stadium were at the bottom of the class with D pluses. Best ballpark food was a four-way tie among Chicago's Comiskey Park, Milwaukee's County Stadium, Royals Stadium, and the Oakland Coliseum.)
August 1, 1990
2 min read
Education Notebook
Along with practical suggestions on how to bring Shakespeare to life for students, such as those included in the above-mentioned essay by Montana State University assistant professor Sharon Beehler, it offers a range of scholarly opinions on teaching methods in high schools and universities.
August 1, 1990
2 min read
Education Teaching Tools
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and Hammond Inc., has published Helping Your Child Learn Geography. This booklet, geared for children age 10 and under, uses everyday learning experiences to help children learn about geography. Also included are a glossary of geographic terms, a list of where to get free or inexpensive materials, and other geographical resources. Send your name, address, and 50 cents to: Geography, Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009.
August 1, 1990
5 min read
Education Sowing The Seeds of Self-Doubt
One morning as Sharon Miller rushed into her homeroom at Cleveland's all-girls Laurel School, she noticed a group of 7th graders scowling and huddling conspiratorially. She soon learned what was behind all the unhappy faces.
Kathleen Kisner, August 1, 1990
5 min read
Education People
Teachers at the ceremony, however, glimpsed another side of Booth. The governor discarded his prepared text and delivered an emotional impromptu tribute to the role teachers had played in his own life, noting three teachers in particular. "I learned more from them than anybody who had an impact on my life,'' he said. "The older I get, the more I recognize the marks of those teachers on my personality....To the extent that I succeed in the job I have, it will be a testament to the power and wisdom of the excellent teachers I have had.''
August 1, 1990
2 min read
Education A Tale of Two Teachers
No bell announces the start of class. About 8:20, Stro- bridge pulls a wooden chair into the circle where the 10 sophomores have gathered. With a soft voice, she asks them to open their journals and write how the assigned story, Grace Paley's "Anxiety,'' is like or unlike other stories they have read this year.
August 1, 1990
23 min read
Education There's Something Happening Here
"They were going to cut part of our future,'' says Hialeah senior Danay Montesdeoca.
August 1, 1990
3 min read
Education Rethinking Retention
The dilemma is one that many thousands of the nation's teachers grapple with each year. And the issue is becoming even thornier now that new research suggests the downside of retention may be even worse than people once thought.
August 1, 1990
7 min read
Education Shoptalk
"Weeks after the cooking lesson,'' Jackson writes, "the children remember every detail of the experience. They can read their own little Chocolate Books. They remember the sound/ symbol connection for most of the cooking nouns and verbs, and they have the sequence clearly in mind. Their pride in their accomplishment is long lasting.''
August 1, 1990
6 min read
Education The Curriculum Of The Family
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education Two Students
After that introduction, I knew teaching Chris to read might pose a few difficulties. For weeks, I used every known technique, to no avail.
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education What Goes Around, Comes Around
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education Like Father, Like Son?
When asked by the interviewer to talk about her family, one girl answered, "Well, the first thing we do in the nighttime is we watch some TV, and then we read a book, and then we go to bed, except my mother stays up to read.''
August 1, 1990
5 min read
Education Making Ends Meet
"I have student loans that are just incredible; I don't even have a savings account,'' says Cahill, who lives with her parents to save money. "All these people think teachers have it so easy. They say, 'Oh, they only work nine months a year, only six hours a day.' Well, I'd like to see them do it.
August 1, 1990
4 min read
Education Roundup
Reciprocity Revisited: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska have inaugurated the nation's second regional teaching credential. Licensed teachers in the states who have graduated from an accredited teachertraining program are eligible for the one-time, nonrenewable credential; holders may teach for up to two years in a participating state while they meet its licensing requirements. A similar credential was put in place earlier this year in the Northeast.
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education Mind And Body
Brown, who teaches at Boston's Washington Irving Middle School, bolsters mind and body by mixing traditional math instruction with bodybuilding and nutrition lessons. Each day, for 45 minutes, his students work out, weigh in, and wrestle with math problems. "Exermath,'' as his class is called, has been taught by the veteran math teacher and amateur bodybuilder since 1985, and it has proved to be an effective way not only to teach math but also to build muscles and self-esteem.
August 1, 1990
4 min read
Education The Harmonica Man
The man who travels by that stylish nom de tune, Jim Prushankin, sits at a desk with his wife, Bishon, listening to all the reedy hums and squeaks. Beaming, he looks very much the part of the proud old master. Students here at the East Coventry Elementary School near rural Pottstown, Pa., in the shadow of the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station, think he's pretty hot stuff, too. For Prushankin, a local businessman who has turned a lifelong love of the harmonica into a crusade, did more than just teach a handful of shy schoolkids how to make music on the harmonica. Literally and figuratively in concert with their teacher, Helen Harrop, he also helped breathe new life into a class in need of a boost.
August 1, 1990
6 min read
Education Notebook
Researchers note that the rate of mental disorders might be even worse because high school dropouts and institutionalized teens were not included in the study. Summer Numbers: Notice any labor shortages this summer? A few extra moments in line at the Dairy Queen? It could be because there were not enough high school and college students to fill all of the summer job vacancies. According to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 1 million fewer 16- to 24-year-olds were looking for jobs this summer than last summer.
August 1, 1990
2 min read
Education Prescription For A Revolution
John Chubb is a political scientist, not a politician. His name is not a household word, he has no constituency, and he is not accustomed to being in the public eye. But even as he sits here in his quiet Washington, D.C., office on this warm, spring afternoon, that is rapidly changing. In a few days his controversial new book will be released at a press conference, where he and a panel of educators and policymakers will debate the issues it raises. Several days later he will appear on CBS's Face the Nation, followed by an appearance the next morning on NBC's The Today Show. Within the week he expects to be on the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. And by the end of the summer he will have met with federal and state legislators, corporate leaders, and newspaper editorial boards from coast to coast, and schmoozed with fellow citizens on a number of radio talk shows.
Lynn Olson, August 1, 1990
21 min read
Education A Talk With Bruno Bettelheim
I had met Bettelheim before and read most of his books; I had worked for a year as a counselor at the University of Chicago's Orthogenic School, a residential facility for emotionally disturbed children that Bettelheim headed for 29 years.
August 1, 1990
5 min read
Education Notebook
Robin Damrad-Frye and James Laird asked 91 college students to listen to a tape recording of a magazine article, and then asked them to answer some questions. Some students worked in a quiet room, some were subjected to a mildly distracting TV program in the next room, and some could hear the TV show loud and clear. Laird says that the students who worked in silence didn't have trouble focusing their attention on the tape and weren't bored. The students who were subject to the blaring TV in the background also weren't bored because they were keenly aware of the noise and attributed their inattention to it.
August 1, 1990
1 min read
Education Class Dismissed
Apparently that did not occur to the New York City Board of Education. It posted Al Merget, a truant officer (or "attendance teacher,'' as they are called in New York) to the schools in Riker's Island prison. Merget was finally paroled to a regular school after filing a special appeal.
August 1, 1990
2 min read
Education The Marketplace Of Ideas
It is one of the more insidious dangers of this age of mass media and instant communication that we quickly become inured to problems that do not immediately affect us in our day-to-day lives. If continuous and prolonged media coverage of problems does not breed acceptance in us, it at least creates a kind of passivity, a sense of detachment. Constantly faced with a numbing array of crises, our collective concentration span is short. Understandably so. How can one sustain concern, let alone outrage, over the endless litany of ills that seem beyond the influence of ordinary people--savings and loan scandals, ozone depletion, AIDS, sidewalk drug sales, homelessness, mounting national deficits, even, perhaps, a foundering educational system? So, in writing about a new book on the problems of public education-- Politics, Markets, and America's Schools by John Chubb and Terry Moe--we risk evoking in our readers the response of "Oh no, not another report on school reform!'' And in devoting six pages of unadorned text to some complex ideas, we risk losing readers. The editor of another national magazine for teachers, for example, eschews such risks--perhaps because she seems to think that real teachers need not concern themselves with the larger educational issues. In an editor's note in her magazine several months ago, she made disparaging reference to "reform initiatives,'' then cited an article in that issue on a teaching unit on mice. She concluded her column with a one-question "test'' for her readers: "What subjects do you think are among the most important in elementary education today? a) mice, b) frogs, c) bears, d) reform initiatives. If you answered a, b, or c, congratulations! You're undoubtedly a teacher in the truest sense of the word.'' Why, we wonder, shouldn't teachers teach about mice in their classrooms and still be interested in the national debate over the quality and direction of our schools? They should. But the fact is, a fair number of teachers and administrators we have talked with over the years believe that much of the ferment in education during the 1980s was a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing.'' What policymakers say and do, they argue, doesn't really have anything to do with what goes on in the classroom. Chubb and Moe make a strong case to the contrary. Indeed, after studying schools for nearly a decade, they have amassed convincing evidence that the democratic (and political) agencies that govern public education are, in fact, the cause of what they call the present "education crisis.'' The decisions made by state and district officials, they insist, have everything to do with what goes on in local schools. And our public schools, they claim, are not likely to be successful until they are freed from bureaucratic control and turned over to teachers and principals. When we scheduled this month's cover story back in early spring, we did not know that this new book was about to be published. Our objective in writing about Debbie Baker, a teacher at Bear Creek High School, and Anne Strobridge, a teacher at Colorado Academy, was to look at the differences between teaching in public and private schools. We decided to substitute the article on Chubb and Moe's book for a feature story originally scheduled for events that might affect them and their schools. When both stories were written and in hand, we realized that, in some ways, Baker and Strobridge are very specific human examples of the academic thesis that Chubb and Moe present in their book. In order to assess the influence of politics and markets on the nation's schools, the two researchers compared public and private schools--how they are organized and governed, and how they perform in terms of student achievement. Every working day of their lives, Baker and Strobridge teach in the different worlds that Chubb and Moe analyze. The issue is not whether private schools are better than public schools or vice versa. The point is not whether one agrees or disagrees with the radical conclusions and recommendations in this new book. The all-important task of informing young minds. That's what the school reform debate is about. And Chubb and Moe's ideas will become part of it and may influence the opinions of policymakers and the public. It is a debate that eventually affect teachers--whether they participate in it or not, whether they like it or not. Ronald A. Wolk
August 1, 1990
3 min read
Education In Search Of Teachers
Tanks and his classmates in the Urban Teacher Program will spend two years earning associate's degrees at the community college. They will then enroll in either Eastern Michigan University or Wayne State University to complete their bachelor's degrees in education.
August 1, 1990
3 min read
Education Letter to the Editor Letters To The Editor
Letters To The Editor I have just finished reading, with intense interest, the letters to the editor about Assertive Discipline ["Letters,'' June/July 1990]. I have spent a great deal of time studying, observing, and learning about both Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline and Richard Curwin's Discipline with Dignity. I have presented both programs to my staff and encourage them to utilize the best of both programs coupled with their own style in creating their own individual classroom plan. I have found that once a plan has been put in place, it is not the plan that makes a teacher effective. It is the qualities, skills, and abilities of the individual teacher that determine whether he or she will deal with students effectively. Ben F. Lewis Principal Westside High School Coal Hill, Ark. In your recent article ["Order in the Classroom,'' April 1990] you covered thoroughly the opinions of Assertive Discipline's critics in the early 1980s. You also reported many of my comments and the changes I suggest for those using my program. However, I was struck by an obvious omission--the voice of teachers. For a magazine with your title, it is a disservice to omit the opinions of the hundreds of thousands of teachers who daily use Assertive Discipline techniques to benefit millions of students. It is these teachers who have made Assertive Discipline what it is today. As with any program, there are a few teachers who have been incompletely trained or have misinterpreted the concepts, but the majority are caring individuals who have found a system that enables them to manage their classrooms in a safe, positive, and effective way. Assertive Discipline is more widespread than ever. According to Instructor magazine, Assertive Discipline was rated "the most helpful'' resource in solving behavior problems. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of these teachers, public schools across the country are providing children with the learning environment they so richly deserve. Every day the members of my company work toward developing programs that will improve the quality of education. We are responsive to the changing times and needs of students and teachers. We strive to give both educators and parents the tools to better communicate with students and direct them toward becoming responsible, happy, and well-educated members of society. I am indeed proud to be part of the process. Lee Canter Lee Canter & Associates Santa Monica, Calif. believe the issues in the Assertive Discipline debate have been thoroughly aired. Canter gets the last word. I was pleased to see that you addressed the intensely taboo subject of homosexual teenagers ["Reach May 1990]. As a high school teacher teen's "coming out'' more than once. In the rural community where I teach, this subject is not discussed. The teens I see must struggle within themselves in a private world of prejudice and bigotry, while we are pressured to remain silent through this painful process. It is no wonder that 30 percent of teen suicides are homosexually related.
August 1, 1990
9 min read