November/December 1996

Teacher, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Education Briefs

Girls Hit Home Run


School officials in Owasso, Oklahoma, have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a group of parents and their daughters alleging gender discrimination in the district's athletic program ("A Pitch For Equality," August 1996). Under the terms of the settlement reached in early October, the district agreed to build an on-campus softball field "comparable in quality" to the existing boys' baseball field, expand athletic opportunities for 7th and 8th grade girls, provide female athletes with uniforms and equipment comparable to the boys', and eliminate any disparity in the scheduling of boys' and girls' games and practice times. The agreement addresses the lawsuit's charges that the district was violating Title IX, the part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal funds. A similar Title IX lawsuit against the nearby Tulsa public school district is scheduled for trial in June.
November 1, 1996
6 min read
Education Fact and Opinion
The story of mankind, it often seems, is one of disagreement. Three of our features this month illustrate that point. Seventy years after the famous Scopes "monkey trial," people are still quarreling about evolution. Experts and parents are arguing about attention deficit disorder and Ritalin. And the perennial issue of forced busing is still in dispute. To paraphrase an adage, there are two sides to every argument--at least until we choose one of them.
Ronald A. Wolk, November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education Vatican For Sale
The 182 students at All Saints School in Etna, Pennsylvania, know only too well that fund-raisers are a way of life at Roman Catholic schools. The suburban Pittsburgh students have sold everything from gift-wrapping paper to candy to help meet expenses.
Jeff Archer, November 1, 1996
3 min read
Education On the Web
Following is a list of World Wide Web sites that teachers and their students may find helpful.
November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education Voices: Pass Or Fail?
Theory has it that students who take challenging courses and fail learn more than students who pass remedial classes. Consequently, high schools are now purging from the curriculum low-level courses that have always satisfied high school graduation requirements but failed to meet college-entrance requirements. Many teachers of math, science, foreign language, and other fields are seeing their subject-area offerings pared to include only college-prep courses. The goal is to expose all students to a rigorous curriculum that will ready them for college. It's a noble objective. But unfortunately, many students are being placed in classes for which they are not prepared.
November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education Farming Out Students
A tiny Vermont school district has become the latest battleground in the fight over religious school choice.
Mark Walsh, November 1, 1996
4 min read
Education Surf's Up
Scott Mandel's Internet guest book is filled with requests for help, words of thanks, and lavish praise. And then, of course, there are the exclamation points.
Jeanne Ponessa, November 1, 1996
4 min read
Education Books
NOTES FROM A KIDWATCHER: Selected Writings of Yetta M. Goodman, edited by Sandra Wilde. (Heinemann, $24.50.) LITERACY AT THE CROSSROADS: Crucial Talk About Reading, Writing, and Other Teaching Dilemmas, by Regie Routman. (Heinemann, $21.50.)
November 1, 1996
4 min read
Education Catholic Teachers Organize
When Robin Heimos compares notes with public school educators, she's often glad she teaches in a Roman Catholic school. Her school seems safer, she has the freedom to teach her own curriculum, and she senses that she gets more support from her students' parents.
Jeff Archer, November 1, 1996
4 min read
Education Drug of Choice
In 1937, a Providence, Rhode Island, physician named Charles Bradley discovered that he could calm "difficult" children by administering Benzedrine, an amphetamine that seemed to help them focus on schoolwork. Later, in the 1960s, doc-tors turned to another psychostimulant, Dexedrine, as a means of quelling misbehaving kids and inducing better concentration. Widespread use, however, was stymied by its association with the street drug "speed."
November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education Invading Detroit
In a surprisingly gutsy move, a suburban school district has opened a for-profit school in downtown Detroit and recruited dropouts from the city's public schools to enroll in it.
Robert C. Johnston, November 1, 1996
3 min read
Education State Test Passes
The basic-skills test that all prospective teachers in California must pass before entering the classroom does not violate the civil rights of minority test-takers, a federal judge has ruled.
Jeanne Ponessa, November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education For Your Students
Following is a list of contests, scholarships, and internships for students organized by application deadline. Bullets denote new entries.
November 1, 1996
5 min read
Education In the Spotlight
The Courtroom Television Network, a cable-television network focusing on the judicial process, announces four winners in its 1996 Educator Grant program. First-place winner Steve Hanson of the St. Cloud (Minn.) Area Learning Center received $2,000, plus $2,000 to buy equipment for his school. Runners-up, who won $1,000 plus $1,000 for school equipment, include: Karen Stofcheck of Lecanto (Fla.) Middle School; Judy Haller of Greene JROTC Academy in Dayton, Ohio; and Cheryl Jansen of John F. Kennedy High School in LaPalma, Calif. Applicants were judged on an essay describing how they used Court TV in their classrooms.
November 1, 1996
2 min read
Education The Game of Life
Ask a high school student what career he or she expects to have, and the answer would probably run something like this: a doctor or a movie star; a lawyer or a professional athlete; an electrician or a corporate executive. The projections would most likely be all over the map and wildly unrealistic.
Lynn Olson, November 1, 1996
8 min read
Education Deadlines
Following is a list of application deadlines for grants, fellowships, and honors available to individuals. Bullets denote new entries.
November 1, 1996
13 min read
Education Teacher at the Top
When veteran teacher Terry Dozier first started her job at the U.S. Department of Education, speaking her mind in meetings so unnerved her that she returned to her hotel room sick to her stomach.
Ann Bradley, November 1, 1996
4 min read
Education Bursting at the Seams
The babies of the baby boomers and waves of immigrants are pounding harder than ever on the doors of the nation's schoolhouses, and educators--unable to post a "no vacancy" sign--are struggling to answer their call.
Kerry A. White, November 1, 1996
6 min read
Education Teaching Tools
Following is a list of free or inexpensive resources that teachers can order.
November 1, 1996
3 min read
Education Opinion The Kids Are Alright
I feel defensive about the negative press middle schools have been getting lately. All I read is that middle schools are failing. But schools themselves can't fail. It's teachers, students, or parents who fail. And if you take one day at a time, one student and parent at a time, give your best and e
Rose Ann Fohey, November 1, 1996
6 min read
Education Opinion Pitch the SAT
A few years ago, a colleague of mine who teaches biology at Carolina Day School in Asheville, North Carolina, took a college course in softball to fulfill her physical education requirement. Every time the class met, the students chose up sides and played softball.
Dale Roberts, November 1, 1996
6 min read
Education Letter to the Editor Letters

Men Among Women


Thirty-two years ago, I studied at the University of Miami to be a high school teacher. My life plan was derailed, however, by the head of the elementary school department. He persuaded me to switch to elementary school teaching, claiming a lack of male teachers. Since that time, I have worked in grades 4 through 6.
November 1, 1996
6 min read
Education Findings

Testwise


In the early 1990s, many critics of a proposed national testing system maintained that U.S. students were already the "most heavily tested on earth." But were they right? The answer depends on how you count the tests, says Richard Phelps, a senior research analyst at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. Phelps looked at data from four national and international studies conducted from 1990-91. When he counted the number of hours students spent taking tests, U.S. students ranked closer to the least heavily tested than the most. Students in France, Italy, Denmark, and Belgium, for example, spent more than five times as much time taking high-stakes tests than did U.S. students. Phelps then counted the number of tests that students took. Again, the U.S. ranked low. Ten of the 13 other countries he examined had more systemwide tests than the U.S. average of 2.5, he writes in the fall issue of Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice. But individual tests can be given more than once during the school year and at several different grade levels, so Phelps counted each grade-level or seasonal administration separately. Measured that way, the U.S. does appear to test more frequently. In one study of 13 nations, only Scotland and Germany had more individual test administrations. Phelps concludes that while U.S. educators may not necessarily test more, they certainly test differently than their foreign counterparts. Where other countries tend to give students lengthy tests at key transition points in their schooling, U.S. school districts rely on shorter, off-the-shelf tests and administer them at several grade levels. Moreover, the U.S. tests tended to be low-stakes ventures--students were not held accountable for their performance--and norm-referenced rather than pegged to any criteria for student achievement. "Our students face the lowest amount of high-stakes, mandated, and criterion-referenced testing in the world," Phelps writes. "Instead our students face a plethora of...well...unimportant tests."
Debra Viadero, November 1, 1996
3 min read
Education ADDicted
Brent Shipley is one of four million American schoolchildren who take the stimulant Ritalin to treat attention deficit disorder.
David Ruenzel, November 1, 1996
28 min read
Education Counter Evolutionary
High school junior Danny Phillips brought the 70-year-old fight against Darwinism to his Colorado District.
David Hill, November 1, 1996
28 min read
Education Urban Agrarians






The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, with its global, high-tech course of study, preps students for careers far beyond traditional corn and cow pursuits.
Kerry A. White, November 1, 1996
11 min read