August/September 2004

This Issue
Chicago's reform experiment to fix its dropout problem is one to watch.
As an ex-Summerhillian, I appreciate the opportunity to read a reasonably balanced article on the school ["Free for All," May/June]. I am delighted that it cont
Thank you for the Perspective column in your May/June issue ["One by One"]. It hits the mark so perfectly
The article about David Pitone ["Law and Order," May/June] illustrates a problem that exists nationwide in almost every school.
I found Jeannie Alford Hagy’s piece about her gifted son ["Hidden Genius," Comment, May/June] as frustrating as the concept of thwarted giftedness itself.
As an ex-Summerhillian, I appreciate the opportunity to read a reasonably balanced article on the school ["Free for All," May/June]. I am delighted that it cont
I am curious about information included in "Lost in Translation" [March/April]. In particular, the author quotes that "average scores of Everyday Mathematics st
Anne Fairbrother’s essay "Minding the Gap" [Comment, March/April] was so timely and full of truth that you should have devoted a special issue to the subject [o
I am a middle school teacher in the Little Rock School District. We read the article "Take It Outside" [Comment, March/April].
With the repeal of statewide cell phone bans, districts are being asked to make their own policy decisions.

Cleaning Up

Scraping gum off floors is no fun, but it improved retirement for some Texas educators. After nearly every district opted to stop paying into Social Security in favor of a state-run teacher retirement system several years ago, more than 16,000 educators made use of a loophole: They resigned from their own districts, performed one day of janitorial temp work at a district still paying into Social Security, then retired—claiming additional benefits, according to the Dallas Morning News. That loophole was closed this past summer.

Why teachers are making less than they were a decade ago.
Pranks get serious—and so do the punishments.


Dogged Devotion: One of the hardest-working educators at Dronfield School in Sheffield has been recognized with an honorary life membership in Unison, the public employees’ union. Henry Fanshawe Smart, a member of the school’s behavior and learning support unit, whose main task is to provide a "charming, calming" presence, has been praised by administrators for improving student attendance and conduct, reports the Star. But his fellow teachers aren’t jealous: Henry is a 1-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, purchased to boost student morale. "I hope this doesn’t mean he’ll be demanding extra-long walks and toilet breaks now that we can represent him!" said Unison officer Ravi Subramanian.

While educators fret over school diets and vending machines, some students wonder what the fuss is all about.
Robert Kimball went public after learning that student dropout records were altered at his Houston school. He had his reasons.
At Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, class time is for kids with illnesses few doctors ever see.
The Louisville Leopard Percussionists owe their accolades to elementary school teacher Diane Downs, a closetful of abandoned instruments, and no small measure of intuition. Includes audio clips.
Students from a Seattle public school carve out a lasting connection with the native Haida people of Alaska. Includes a photo gallery.

Standing in open prairie a dozen miles away from the nearest town, the Harney School in western North Dakota had just one student during its final year.
Vocational education should challenge the divide between manual and mental work.
A student trip to Europe? What a waste of time.
Renowned educator John Goodlad wants schools to be places of connection and wonder, and he laments their tendency to become "a well-oiled machine tool for fashioning children according to visions of economically productive adulthood."
In this age of inclusion, "What to teach?" is a much harder question to answer than it once was.
The Harvard cognitive psychologist focuses on how leaders come to change others’ often-recalcitrant minds.
Barbara Feinberg finds "problem novels" problematic.
The pursuit of knowledge and the anxieties renewed at the beginning of each school year are echoed in a number of recently published books for 8- to 12-year-olds.
Is a personal investment in technology and the hours it takes to learn about it worthwhile?
Following are application deadlines for grants and fellowships available to individuals and schools. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.
Following are application deadlines for awards, honors, and contests available to teachers. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.
Following are dates for workshops, conferences, and other professional development opportunities for teachers. Some events may include administrators, policymakers, parents, and others. The list is organized by region, though some events are national meetings. Registration deadlines may close before the date of the event. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.
East | Midwest/Plains | South | West
Following are application dates for student contests, scholarships, and internships. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.
Canine Character

Jennifer Wise helps troubled students help themselves by having them train dogs for the disabled. It sounds like an awfully indirect way to teach responsibility, persistence, and patience to students with a history of emotional dysfunction and chronic truancy, but it works. Now in its sixth year, Wise’s Kids and Canines program at the Dorothy Thomas Exceptional Center in Tampa, Florida, is the kind of resource not often found in public schools. Along with "graduating" about 20 dogs to assist handicapped people and provide therapy, Wise has taught about 60 previously unreachable students how to overcome their own challenges by simulating those of others.