News & Views
NEWS & VIEWS APRIL 2004
Mar 28, 2004, 14:58
(Nov. 17, 2003) In the Spokesman-Review, a story titled “Living on the Edge,” page A9, Cecil Johnson for Knight Ridder, reports the single best predictor of bankruptcy is having children at home, especially for single mothers where bankruptcy in the last 20 years has increased 600%. Public education is identified as a main cause, in that parents tend to buy houses beyond their means in order to send their children to a good school.
AMERICANS CAN READ BUT NOT COMPREHEND
(Feb. 24, 2004) An editorial by E. D. Hirsch Jr., author of Cultural Literacy, argues for a deeper understanding of reading that is currently in our schools. He argues that schools too often teach reading skills without much attention to content. The result, he feels, is the students are cheated, and don’t “have the knowledge they need to make sense of many texts.”
RESEARCH OFTEN LOST IN CYBERSPACE
(Nov. 25, 2003) A Washington Post article reprinted in the Spokesman Review, reported the average life span of a web page is 100 days (Woodbury Reports has been online continuously for about 3,000 days), which creates problems for researchers who footnote resources on the web.
EDVENTURES (EIA) 2004 CONFERENCE
(Feb. 15, 2004) Steve Pines, the new Executive Director of Education Industry Association (EIA) (formerly AAEP), currently Watertown, Wisconsin, 800-252-3280, www.educationindustry.org, announced their upcoming annual conference is to be held August 4-6, 2004, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. After 14 years in existence, EIA is becoming the umbrella association for a cross-section of private and private-public education companies.
TEENS FACE ANGER WITH HORSE THERAPY
(Feb. 27, 2004) WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas reported www.wfaa.com on the benefits of using a combination of psychotherapy and horses to overcome anger problems in teens. Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAP) teaches teens patience, cooperation and respect to overcome uncontrollable anger, shattered bonds with parents and failing grades. EAP has been used in both the juvenile justice system and on gang members.
TEEN LIBERATION AUTHOR GOES MAINSTREAM?
(March 2004) Teacher Magazine, in an article titled “Grace Under Pressure,” www.teachermagazine.org reports that 39 year old Grace Llewellyn, author of the almost cult classic The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How To Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education, which helped launch the unschooling movement and was an inspiration for many home schooling parents, seems to have mellowed some and has decided the movement is doing well without her as a front-line fighter. She is now looking into writing a book on the question of how to get the best out of an education in a mainstream school environment.
(March 2004) Teacher Magazine reported www.teachermagazine.org that eventually 4,000 students will attend a new junior high school in Cicero, Illinois, and how those numbers fly in the face of the small school movement. Unity will be the largest junior high in the nation, according to Judy Marks, associate director of the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. But teachers and administrators say that's not necessarily a bad thing—especially given the lack of alternatives. Mike Klonsky calls the school "a disaster waiting to happen." Klonsky directs the Small Schools Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which helps districts plan small schools or break big schools down into smaller units.
SPECIAL ED TEACHERS CONCERNED ABOUT STANDARDS
(March 2004) Teacher magazine, in an article titled “A Special Case,” www.teachermagazine.org?slug=05Case.h15, discusses concerns by most special ed teachers that federal laws requiring all students to perform at proficient levels on state exams is resulting in resource rooms disappearing as more and more students are mainstreamed, and most believe “special ed students should be expected to meet a separate set of academic standards.”
THE HOMEWORK DELUSION
(Mar. 1, 2004) The Weekly Standard reported www.weeklystandard.com?pg=1 on the fallacy of American students being overloaded with homework. The story claims the “Homework Delusion” is a politically based agenda, and the data is being manipulated. The evidence suggesting homework offers an important educational advantage is inconsistent with research, which says it only offers a modest advantage when compared with those students who aren’t assigned any. However, those benefits do increase with age and grade level, becoming especially significant in high school.
HARBOR SCHOOLS IN MASSACHUSETTS ON PROBATION
(Mar. 2, 2004) Harbor Schools and Family Services, headquartered in Newbury Massachusetts, www.harborschools.org, which includes a therapeutic residential program for troubled teens, was notified of being placed on probation by the Massachusetts Program Quality Assurances Services, Compliance and Monitoring, www.doe.mass.edu based on concerns of not providing adequate supervision in activities on or off campus.
THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS
(March 3, 2004) The Age, an Australian publication, reported www.theage.com. girls are higher maintenance than boys according to interviews with parents with both sons and daughters. Especially during adolescence, parents reported girls are more complex, more emotional, manipulative and moody, while in comparison; sons are more straightforward, even-tempered, easier to read, less bitchy and judgmental. Yet parents, teachers and psychologists acknowledge that boys can present their own challenges and high-risk activities like drug and alcohol use and drunk driving more than girls. Similarly there are just as many boys being trotted off to adolescent clinics and other sources of help for troubled teenagers, as girls.
ED DEPT TO ALLOW MORE SINGLE-SEX SCHOOLS
(Mar. 3, 2004) USA Today reports, www.usatoday.com, “The U.S. Education Department plans to give public school districts more flexibility to open all-girls and all-boys schools and offer single-sex classes in existing schools.”
PFRR SUPPORTS MASS. LICENSING
(Mar. 4, 2004) Andrea Watson, founder of Parents For Residential Reform (PFRR), Boston, Massachusetts, 800-672-7084, email@example.com, www.pfrr.org, announced they are circulating a notice nation-wide, warning parents from placing children in residential programs that are in turmoil or not licensed appropriately. PFRR is also referencing the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which in Massachusetts defines placement as “the arrangement for the care of a child with a foster family, a relative/kinship resource, an adoptive family, a parent, or a residential treatment provider whose legal residence is in another state.”
PEER PRESSURE RESULTS IN TEENS SENTENCED FOR BEATING DEATH
(March 10, 2004) The Washington Post reported www.washingtonpost.com the sentencing of two Virginia teens convicted for the September beating death of a 16-year-old in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. The tragedy occurred as a result of a mistaken target of revenge, backed up by the emotionalism of the moment, other adolescents responded to peer pressure outside the influence of adults. One of the youths sentenced had been scheduled for a residential treatment center, but had foiled the parents by running away from home.
STAFF BEAT TO DEATH IN GROUP HOME
(Mar. 10, 2004) A staff member was beat to death by two teens in a group home called Maximum Life Skills Academy in Cedar City, Utah. The two teens charged were from the East Coast, and links to news stories on this tragedy can be found in the Breaking News Section of Struggling Teens Online www.strugglingteens.com. According to a news article on KSL TV, the school has closed. We have been informed by the State of Utah that this private program had been in existence for about 1-½ years, but Woodbury Reports has no other information on them, nor have we had any contact with them, as far as we know.
AUTHORS LOOKING FOR INPUT
(Mar. 10, 2004) In an effort to garner feedback, Jane Bluestein and Eric Katz, co-authors of the planned book "High School Isn’t Forever" (Stairway to Heaven or Hallway to Hell? What’s high school really like?) are requesting “descriptions, observations and experiences to describe what high school is really like,” or “tips for making the most of high school, or simply surviving those years” or “feedback about how life after high school is different (comparing high school to the reality of the ‘real world”. For more information go to www.janebluestein.com.
TEEN CENTERS UNDER-UTILIZED
(Mar. 11, 2004) The Washington Post, at www.washingtonpost.com, describes the problems Reston Virginia’s Teen Center has which is “Where are all the kids?” Although the center could accommodate 100 kids with a cyber café, game room, CD players and other things of interest to teens, when the writer visited, there were only 20 kids, which seemed common.
INTERNATIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING PROGRAM
(Mar. 18, 2004) William Treanor, Exec. Dir. of American Youth Work Center, which publishes Youth Today-The Newspaper on Youth Work, in Washington, D.C., 202-785-0764, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.youthtoday.org, is looking for interested programs “(preferably in the Rocky Mountain/Pacific Northwest regions) who might be interested in having qualified people from other countries train with them for 18 months.” The 20-year-old program placed about 2,000 foreign, early career human service staff in about two dozen agencies, and currently has 153 people in placement in eight states. The purpose of the program “is to provide participants with an opportunity for professional development and insight into American know-how in the fields of counseling and human/social services training while earning the prevailing wage.” The practical trainees are from 22 to 30 years old and “are highly motivated, well-educated men and women eager to get more on-the-job training in an American environment.”