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Thanks to a growing number of high-tech marketing tools, that chore--and completing the unnerving college application process--has just gotten a whole lot easier.
One circle is labeled "Larry,'' and the other "Heather.'' On the outer edges of each, the two classmates have scribbled a few of their individual preferences. Heather has written that she likes cats. Larry's tastes run to sports. But the space where the circles intersect is crowded with entries: swimming, rap music, hot dogs, snakes, pizza, school, and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television show. There is no more room to write.
But as this month's cover story (beginning on page 32) makes clear, real coaching--as in athletic coaching--is much more structured and authoritarian. Coaches are less like guides on the side than czars on the sideline. Still, teachers might find it instructive to study coaches like Dale Patton of Pekin, Ill., one of the football coaches featured in the article.
The average teachers' salary last year was $35,813, up 2.3 percent from the previous year, according to a study released in October by the American Federation of Teachers. That was the smallest pay increase in the 35 years the AFT has analyzed salary trends. When adjusted for inflation, teachers' earnings actually decreased last year. That has happened only one other time since 1981. Connecticut posted the highest average teachers' salary at $50,389, while Mississippi's was the lowest at $25,153. The study was based on data from the U.S. and state departments of education.
"We are absolutely convinced that the current way of operating our schools does not work and cannot work,'' said Edward Carroll, a school board member who voted for the contract. The agreement, he said, will bring the district "some additional talent and resources and skills.'' He predicted that Hartford's pact with EAI "will be a model for the rest of the country.''
Although he was 23 at the time, Carter's boyish looks made it easy for him to blend in with his teenage classmates--perhaps too easy. A Pinedale family has filed a civil suit against Carter, charging that while he was on assignment at the high school, he had sex with a 17-year-old female family member and supplied alcohol and drugs to students.
According to a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board, preschools across the South, and the nation, are increasingly incorporating current knowledge on how young children learn into their programs. But many elementary schools, the report says, still use "outmoded'' teaching methods that are "inappropriate for the developmental levels of virtually all children in the 5- to 8-year-old group.''
What she and the other members of the Glendale Unified School District task force saw in Lacey may be the solution to their district's burgeoning enrollment problems: Take an existing high school, hire a separate teaching staff and administration, and let students who prefer later hours go to school in the evening.
The two-year study by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, looked at two American districts--Dade County, Fla., and Prince William County, Va.--and one Canadian district in Edmonton, Alberta.
Kentucky's 4th, 8th, and 12th graders demonstrated what the officials called "dramatic improvement'' on the 1993-94 version of the state's annual assessments. In all grades, the percentage of students performing at or above the proficient level in mathematics, reading, science, and social studies increased from the previous year. In reading, for instance, the percentage of 4th graders scoring at the proficient level shot up from 7 percent to 12 percent. At grade 12, the figure rose from 5 percent to 14 percent. "This significant improvement in the scores is a clear indication that Kentucky's education reform effort is working,'' said Thomas Boysen, the state commissioner of education. "The hard work of our teachers is paying off, and the beneficiaries are our children.''
The Association of Crafts and Creative Industries invites applications for the ACCI Create-a-Craft School Grant Program. More than $120,000 worth of materials, including instructional videotapes, project guides, and activity sheets, will be distributed to approximately 600 schools for the introduction of crafts projects. Eligible are all schools in the United States and Canada that are committed to encouraging student creativity through crafts. Contact: ACCI Create-a-Craft School Grant Program, 1100-H Brandywine Blvd., P.O. Box 2188, Zanesville, OH 43702-2188; (800) 294-5680.
- December 1. Young Adult Reading.
Ground was broken on a new site in June, but the town's churches, stores, and other landmarks exist only as numbered dots on a map of what will become Valmeyer. The school will be built on dot number 25, in the center of the new town.
My colleagues often ask me, "How do you decide which kids' books are the best?'' Good question. I'm a pushover for good illustration and prose. Unfortunately, of the more than 2,000 children's books I read each year, I find that far too many are disappointing in one or both of these areas. The great ones, however, I remember, reread, and sometimes even dream about.
Still, a book does not really succeed unless it works for its intended audience--children. The students at my K-5 school are more than happy to act as my guinea pigs. I read aloud to them, talk with them about books, and solicit their reactions. Here, then, are the 25 titles that have generated the most favorable reviews from my guinea pigs--and from me--over the past year.
But the 35 teachers sitting in the darkened room watching "The Devil Is a Gentleman,'' a 1983 60 Minutes production, learn that the convulsions were prompted by an even more terrifying realization. "It's not a God!'' the Holocaust survivor says of Eichmann. "It's not a Hitler! It's not Adolf Eichmann! It's me!''
I would like to commend the Gwinnett County Board of Education for relieving Bown of his duties as a teacher. [See "The Ax Falls,'' page 13.]
For so long, it seemed like common sense. Children of different abilities required different teachers, different texts, different classrooms, different speeds and approaches. Tailoring the education to the child was simply a matter of efficacy, and, over the past three decades, the idea has spawned an array of pullout courses--for the slow student, the advanced student, the limited-English speaker. Such courses were often dubbed "special.'' This approach, once so lauded, now goes by a more ominous name: tracking.
Among tough river towns, Pekin, Ill., has a reputation for being one of the toughest--the kind of place where saying the wrong thing can get you into a fight. Located on the east banks of the Illinois River across from archrival Peoria, Pekin is most notoriously known as a former stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan. Even now, there are occasional reports of nightriders and cross-burnings, and many blacks won't venture there after dark. Until the mid-1970s, Pekin High School's nickname was the politically incorrect "Chinks.'' Now, it's the "Dragons,'' but at Friday night football games you can still see older fans wearing sweat shirts declaring, "Proud to be a Chink,'' or "Proud to be a Chinklet.'' The dropout rate at the high school is 25 percent, and students say the Gangster Disciples--a crack-cocaine ring of Chicago origin--has made inroads at the school.
"Mr. Dizney?'' she ventures. "I'm Debbie. Remember me?''
The Third International Mathematics and Science Study, sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (which goes by the initials IEA), will involve more than 50 countries and 1 million students worldwide. The cost of simply administering the exam to the 20,000-plus students who will be taking it in this country is expected to top $3.5 million this year alone.
At a national meeting of school teachers recently, participants were asked their views on physical contact with students--not corporal punishment, mind you, but rather the reassuring hand-on-the-shoulder contact that connects one human being, literally and figuratively, with another.
"You're careful about touching a student in any way, even an instructional way,'' said an art teacher from Montana. "You don't have any physical contact.'' A Louisiana teacher reported that, in unavoidable situations where he finds himself alone with a student, he will now "open the door wider. I sit more in the middle of the room.''
Live from the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Disney Channel broadcasts the fifth annual "American Teacher Awards.'' The two-and-a-half-hour special profiles 36 outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers across the nation, who were chosen through student essays about how they made a difference in their students' lives. Celebrities will present awards in 12 categories; the teachers themselves will then select one among them as Outstanding Teacher of 1994. Air time: 7 p.m. (EST).