News & Views
NEWS & VIEWS MARCH 2004
Feb 26, 2004, 14:44
IS LAW UNDERMINING PUBLIC EDUCATION?
(December 29, 2003) The Washington Post, in a story written by sociologist Richard Arum, www.washingtonpost.com, makes a case that one result of the increase in due process rights for students that happened in the 1960s and 1970s is a rising debate over whether public schools are systematically underreporting violence. With increasingly difficult challenges facing schools to socialize youth for productive roles in society, the courts have created a complex set of requirements, including increased reporting that is making well-meaning teachers and administrators reluctant to respond to and control student violence.
BETTER LEARNING FROM COMPUTER GAMES?
(January 1, 2004) The Harvard Graduate School of Education, at www.gse.harvard.edu, in an article titled Thinking Lessons describes the founding of Lexia Learning Systems, which is trying to teach cognitive skills to children with learning problems through computer games. Lexia VS, currently being tested, is described as a “visual-spatial gym.” Each of its five activities works a different combination of “muscles:” visualization, visual memory, mental rotations, visual tracking, spatial orientation, multiperspective coordination, and other skills – 22 in all.
UNRULY STUDENTS FACING ARREST, NOT DETENTION
(January 4, 2004) The New York Times reported that school policies have created an atmosphere where relatively minor student misconduct often leads to suspensions, expulsions and arrests. The story claims that in many places, juvenile detention centers are becoming an extension of the principal’s office. In defense, "The goal is not to put kids out, but to maintain classrooms free of disruptions that make it impossible for teachers to teach and kids to learn," said Jane Bruss, spokeswoman for Toledo public schools. However, James Ray, administrative judge for Lucas County juvenile court, said, “we’re demonizing children.” www.nytimes.com
“DADDY DAY CARE” A SOCIAL SATIRE
(January 5, 2004) Education News reported that while the movie, Daddy Day Care, starring Eddie Murphy, is billed as a comedy, it is actually a satire on educational philosophy. Two unemployed daddies, Charlie (Eddie Murphy) and Phil (Jeff Garlin), now the overwhelmed primary caregivers of toddlers, open a day care as a last desperate attempt to find employment after being fired from their highly paid advertising jobs. Through this comedic advocacy of progressive, “child-centered” educational philosophy, it becomes apparent once again that Hollywood believes “fun” is more important to a child’s development than structure, discipline, and instruction. Daddy Daycare is more than a comedy, it is social satire and should be seen as such. www.educationnews.org
SCHOOLS SQUANDER GAINS
(January 11, 2004) The Oregonian reported that Oregon’s elementary schools are producing the best-educated students since the state established standards for reading and math in 1991. But those gains are largely squandered by the high schools with only about half of the students meeting standards. An increasing number of educators and experts blame the poor performance on the structure of high schools, which operate in the assembly-line fashion of the factories they were modeled after a century ago. www.oregonlive.com
FINDING THE PACIFIC OCEAN
(January 12, 2004) In the Washington Times, Weekly Edition, p. 4, it was reported that in a survey of 300 persons between ages 18 and 24 held on November 2002, the National Geographic Society found not only that 87% could not point out Iraq on a world map, but 3 in 10 could not find the Pacific Ocean.
WORLD STUDY ON YOUTH OBESITY
(January 12, 2004) The Washington Times Weekly Edition, p. 4, reported a study of nearly 30,000 children ages 13 and 15, by the National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen, that found “Teenagers in the United States have higher rates of obesity than those in 14 other industrialized countries.” Among American 15-year-olds, 15% of girls and nearly 14% of boys were obese, and 31% of girls and 28% of boys were overweight. “The World Health Organization last year said obesity is no longer mostly an American problem, but is an increasing concern in Europe and other developed nations because people are abandoning traditional dietary habits and adopting more sedentary lifestyles.”
GALLUP POLL: 85% OF TEENS PLAN TO ATTEND COLLEGE
(January 13, 2004) Craig Sender, Trylon Communications, New York, NY, 212-725-2295 x22, www.tryloncommunications.com, reports the results of the January 13, 2004 Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing Youth Survey, that stated: “Eighty-five percent of teens plan to attend college after they graduate, with 53% planning to attend full time and 32% plan to work and attend college part time. Four percent plan to work full time immediately after graduation, six percent plan to join the military, and four percent either aren't sure or have other adventures in mind.”
SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION MAY JEOPARDIZE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
(January 13, 2004) The Education News reported a new study where Goldwater Institute education researchers Vicki Murray and Ross Groen examined proposals to consolidate Arizona’s school districts from 200 to fewer than 40. The findings showed that consolidation would bring about less than one percent improvement if they materialized at all, and may actually hurt academic performance. A review of nationwide literature indicated that smaller, decentralized school districts had superior student achievement and efficiency. www.goldwaterinstitute.org
IRAQI EDUCATION AND POSTWAR SCHOOL RECONSTRUCTION
(January 15, 2004) The Wall street Journal reported that “under Saddam, propaganda was in all textbooks and was so egregious in history and civics books that Iraqi teachers removed civics courses from the 2003-04 school curriculum.” With the exception of a school for the diplomatic community, there were no private primary and secondary schools, but the Ministry of Education is drafting a measure to once again legalize private schools. www.opinionjournal.com
THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE: TAMER THAN YOU THINK
(January 20, 2004) The New York Times reported that after a “frightening spike in violence,” the city will crackdown on school violence. With 150 additional police officers deployed to patrol the city’s most dangerous schools in February, the schools will impose tougher disciplinary measures of problem students. John M. Beam, executive director of the National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham University, said school crime has not substantially increased, rather, the processing of student suspensions has decreased. www.nytimes.com
(January 20, 2004) The New York Post reported that more than 600 alleged victims of school violence have filed legal claims and lawsuits against the city totaling hundreds of millions of dollars since 2001. The cases included victims of rape, sexual abuse, assault and harassment. Mayor Bloomberg’s new safety plan will flood dangerous schools with more cops and safety officers. www.nypost.com
BRITAIN HAS TOO MANY GRADUATES, EMPLOYERS WARN
(January 20, 2004) The Education Independent reported that more than two-thirds of graduate recruiters believe Britain has too many university students. When surveyed, 60 percent of the country’s largest employers said the increase in student numbers had led to a “dumbing down” of standards. These figures put business leaders in direct opposition with Tony Blair’s goal of a 50 percent increase of students in higher education by the end of the decade. education.independent.co.uk [Those with a pop-up blocker need to hold ctrl when clicking this link.]
CASE MAY BOOST FUNDING FOR PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
(January 20, 2004) The Christian Science Monitor reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take up the Hibbs v. Winn case, whose central issue is whether federal courts can review determinations made by state judges about whether tax-credit systems violate the separation of church and state. If the Supreme Court rules in Arizona’s favor, it will eliminate an entire level of judicial review for those opposing parochial school tax-credit plans, while offering increased government funding of religious schools who have state legislative and state judiciary support. [www.csmonitor.com]
MASSACHUSETTS CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY GIFT FUND
(Feb. 5, 2004) The 6th annual silent auction and dinner dance to benefit the children’s holiday gift fund, sponsored by, among others, the Brandon Residential and Treatment Centers, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, North Suffolk Mental Health Association, and the Parents for Residential Reform, all in Massachusetts, will be held June 25, 2004 at Anthony’s Pier 4. For more information, contact Andrea Watson at email@example.com, or call 617-236-7210 x145.
FDA DRUG WARNINGS MAY PREVENT SUICIDES
(February 15, 2004) The Indianapolis Star reported on five suicides directly linked to the drug trials Eli Lilly and Co. is conducting on a new anti-depressant drug called “duloxetine.” At a hearing on Feb. 2, surviving family members met with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the importance of urging doctors to include a warning that these anti-depressants can trigger suicide, especially in children, adolescents and young adults. http://www.indystar.com
SUMMIT FOR CLINICAL EXCELLENCE
(Feb. 16, 2004) The Third National Adolescent Conference, called Summit for Clinical Excellence, will be held at Newport Beach, California from March 31 to April 3, 2004. Featured faculty are anticipated to be Susie Vanderlip, Jane Bluestein, Harold Koplewicz and Neil Bernstein. Sponsors include Remuda Ranch, Caron Foundation, Gray Wolf Ranch, Hazelden, Center for Change, Visions, Menninger, and International Hospital. For more information, call 800-643-0797 or register online at www.bfisummit.com.
(Feb. 25, 2004) Raymond Huntington, founder of Huntington Learning Centers, emphasized the importance of parents helping young children learn to read, and praised the Partnership for Reading, a combination of federal government resources to help children master reading. They referred to a booklet A Child Becomes a Reader, developed for parents of children in kindergarten through third grade, available at http://www.nifl.gov, or 800-228-8813. The tips include encouraging children to be storytellers, help them focus on the sounds of spoken language, read aloud with the child, build vocabulary, knowledge and comprehension at the same time, encourage the child to write often, practice using new words, and make reading at home a better learning experience. For more information contact Chris Beakey at 202-667-0901, Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org.