Ed.Net Briefs
Education News and Resources

Washington Ed.Net Briefs € June 7, 1999 € Simpson Communications

Ed.Net Briefs is a free weekly on-line education newsletter sent to subscribers via e-mail each Monday, September-June. Ed.Net Briefs is a compilation of summaries of the week's important or interesting education stories with source citations.

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**********Please Note **********

This is the last issue of 1997-1998 academic year.  The next
issue will be sent September 6, 1999. The recently-improved
Ed.Net Briefs Web site (http://www.edbriefs.com) will be maintained
during the summer, so you can continue to use those education resources.
New subscriptions received during the summer will begin on September 6.
Enjoy the summer.


Briefs in this issue:


        -Seattle students' test scores show improvement
        -Finalists picked for Seattle's chief academic officer
        -UW trying to change prepaid college tuition plan
        -Bill and Melinda Gates donate $5 billion to foundation


        -Increasing focus on "character education" in schools
        -Channel One program doing well despite opposition
        -Fear could cause teachers to leave the profession
        -California begins program to improve school libraries
        -Australia's national goals for schooling established


        -Ed.Net Briefs Web site additions (II)
        -More elderly people are using the Internet
        -Rural and small town schools denied current technology
        -Australian government may regulate online content

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Seattle public school students are showing steady improvement on two
district-wide tests. Scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the
Direct Writing Assessment (DWA) show minority students are doing better.
One of the district's main goals is to reduce the gap in academic
achievement between white and minority students. ITBS scores improved for
the fourth year in a row in all grade levels and subject matters (reading,
language arts and math). The test is required by the state. On the
district's writing assessment, administered in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11, eight
percent more students met the test's standard this year than last year. Ten
percent more fifth grade students met or exceeded the standard compared
with the same group's scores in 1997, when they were in third grade.

        Sara Gonzalez, "Students' test scores climb"
        The Seattle Times, June 3, 1999, B3

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Olchefske has selected as
finalists for the position of chief academic officer three African American
women who are current or former assistant superintendents. The three
candidates are Doris Walker, an assistant superintendent for the Edmonds
School District; Cheryl King, a former deputy superintendent in Flint,
Michigan; and June Collins Rimmer, an assistant superintendent in
Indianapolis. The finalists will return for interviews June 8. All have
experience as deputy superintendents in charge of academic programs.

        Ruth Teichroeb and Debera Carlton Harrell
        "Finalists picked for key school position"
        Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 4, 1999, B1

University of Washington officials are trying to change Washington State's
prepaid college tuition plan. They believe the way the plan is set up will
prevent the UW from raising tuition high enough to meet future needs. The
Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program allows people to buy credits for
college at today's prices, then cash them in years later for full credit
when their children attend school, no matter how much tuition increases.
The program invests the money from participants in stocks and bonds and
uses the profits to cover the cost of inflation and tuition increases. The
problem, according to UW officials, is that if tuition increases exceed
6.75 percent a year, the tuition program will not have enough investment
funds available and will need assistance from the state or extra payments
from colleges.

        Roberto Sanchez, "UW lobbies for change in prepaid tuition plan"
        The Seattle Times, May 31, 1999, B1

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $5
billion to The Gates Foundation, making it the third largest in the United
States. The family foundation, started in 1994, provides grants for health,
population and education projects worldwide. A second foundation, called
The Gates Learning Foundation, started in 1997, works to spread Internet
access and computer training. To date, the two organizations have made more
than $475 million in grants.

        George Tibbits, The Associated Press
"Gateses donate $5 billion to foundation" as published in the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 3, 1999, B1


The nation's public schools are under growing pressure to offer ethics
instruction as a way to promote safe learning free of harassment. The
pressure on schools for what the National Association of School Boards
describes as "character education" has been building through the 1990's
because of the increase in the number of working parents and concerns about
the influence of television and music. Recent school violence and the
Supreme Court ruling on sexual harassment by students have given the issue
more urgency. Esther F. Schaeffer, executive director of the Character
Education Partnership, a six year old nonpartisan coalition in Washington
that promotes the teaching of values, said opinion surveys show that
Americans overwhelmingly want their schools to teach basic values like
honesty, respect and responsibility. Objections about the nature of public
moral education used to come most often from liberals who objected to the
conservative Christian influence they detected. But in recent years it has
come more from conservatives who say schools are promoting values like
feminism and one-world government.

        Ethan Bronner, "Teaching Values Without Taking a Page From the Bible"
        The New York Times, June 1, 1999, A15

Ralph Nader called commercialized educational programming "parental
neglect" and a "taxpayer rip-off" during a Senate Labor and Human Resources
Committee meeting. Nader and some of his organizations have been
criticizing Channel One for years. It appears that Nader and other Channel
One critics are fighting a losing battle. Schools continue to sign up for
Channel One. The estimated 8 million students watching every morning and
400,000 educators, who prescreen it, like what they are seeing according to
a three year study of 156 U.S. public schools by the University of
Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Two-thirds of the teachers using
Channel One said they would "strongly" or "very strongly" recommend the

        Casey Lartigue Jr., "Anti-Channel One Crusade Is Failing"
        CATO Today's Commentary, May 24, 1999

Many educators are concerned that recent acts of school violence will cause
more teachers to leave a profession already facing a severe shortage.  The
schools need about 200,000 teachers by 2007 to keep up with demand, a goal
already made difficult by low salaries, retirements and a tight labor
market. Teachers ranked discipline as a top reason they leave the
profession, according to a survey in 1996 by Phi Delta Kappa. Fears of
copycat crimes have led to worries that some teachers might leave jobs when
they feel as if they are putting their lives on the line. Even those who
feel safe in the classroom are concerned that publicity about violent
incidents will scare others away from teaching.

        Stephanie Armour, "Fear could drive teachers away"
        USA Today, June 4-6, 1999, A1

California has begun a new program this spring with $158.5 million in state
financing to supply school libraries with new books and materials and to
eliminate books that are decades old. The program, at about $28 per
student, is California's single largest allocation ever for school
libraries. As state financing for schools shrank in the 1980's and early
1990's, so did budgets for libraries. Less than a decade ago, California's
school libraries were named "the worst of the worst" by the American
Library Association.  Hundreds of thousands of books have been removed from
elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Recently,
district librarians wearing surgical gloves went through dusty volumes at
Colfax Elementary School in North Hollywood and removed more than half of
the 6,400 volumes. Among them were science books from the 1950's.

        The Associated Press, "Library Books Long Outdated Will Be Gone"
        as published in The New York Times, June 1, 1999, A17

In April 1999, Australian State, Territory and Commonwealth Ministers of
Education met as the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training
and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) in Adelaide, South Australia. At that meeting,
Ministers endorsed a new set of National Goals for Schooling in the
Twenty-First Century. The new goals were released in April 1999 as The
Adelaide Declaration (1999) on National Goals for Schooling in the
Twenty-First Century. The full text of The Adelaide Declaration (1999) is
available online (http://www.curriculum.edu.au/mceetya/publicat/pub341.htm)
along with the previous Declaration and The Discussion Paper (1998)
reviewing The Hobart Declaration.

Thanks to Jillian Dellit (jdellit@educationau.edu.au)
Strategy, Policy, Marketing, Education.Au Ltd, for this brief.


The Ed.Net Briefs Web site (http://www.edbriefs.com) has always been a good
resource for online education resources, but now it is even better. In the
Education Sites & Resources section, all existing URLs were checked to make
sure they still work. Then, all of the Web sites briefed in past issues of
Ed.Net Briefs were added. The current list of education-related Web sites
is one of the most extensive and well-organized lists available. Due to the
frequent requests for information from back issues, all four years of the
back issues of Ed.Net Briefs have been added to the site. The archive can
be searched using key words, providing one of the most useful education
research tools available. The Educators' Bookstore on the site has been
expanded. The store is still organized into grade levels (preschool,
elementary school, middle school and secondary school). In each grade
level, lists of books are organized by subjects (art, history, language
arts, math, science and administration). In addition, we have added lists
of books for media literacy, school reform, teacher education and school
sports. We hope these improvements will help teachers and administrators
find the resources they need. Let us know if you have any questions or
suggestions. (Editor's note: We ran this brief without the URL last week.
Thanks to those who sent us messages asking for the address.)

        Steve Simpson
        Editor, Ed.Net Briefs

With the number of older Americans using the Internet growing, but only one
of four people over the age of 60 owning computers, companies are viewing
the elderly as one of the last largely untapped markets. Companies such as
Microsoft, Intel and America Online are distributing instructional videos
on computer use, sponsoring training seminars and creating Web sites that
cater to older people. People over 50 are the second fastest-growing group
on the Internet, trailing only 16-24 year olds. IBM offers computer
discounts to members of the nonprofit computer training group, SeniorNet.
Online auctioneer, e-Bay, has run print ads aimed at older customers and
computer maker, Gateway, has sponsored training seminars and run TV ads.
Microsoft is spending millions of dollars and hiring a five-person staff
dedicated to reaching out to older customers. Last week, Microsoft issued
guidelines for businesses and Web site developers on how to make Internet
sites more user- friendly and accessible for seniors.

        John Hughes, The Associated Press
        "Log on! Elderly joining computer age" as published in
        The Seattle Times, May 18, 1999, E1

A quarter of the nation's public school students who live in rural areas
and small towns, more than 12 million children, increasingly are denied the
technological, educational and social advantages of attending school in a
modern building. A computer-assisted analysis by USA Today finds that at a
time when school construction is a booming $15 billion a year business,
rural districts have been half as likely to build new schools as their city
and suburban counterparts. Decaying urban schools are in the worst shape
and have received the most attention, but data suggest that those districts
have an easier time raising the tax money needed to build new schools or
substantially to renovate old ones. Meanwhile, rural districts with lower
property values are becoming separate and unequal outposts of worn out
buildings and neglect.

        Anthony DeBarros and Tamara Henry, "Rural schools left wanting"
        USA Today, June 2, 1999, A1

The Australian Senate recently narrowly passed legislation to regulate
content on the Internet. Following a Senate Select Committee on Information
Technology report on the Bill, the Government introduced amendments to
regulate the Internet in a manner which ensures "the supply of Internet
carriage services at performance standards that reasonably meet the social,
industrial and commercial needs of the Australian community" while
clarifying the "reasonable steps" that Internet service providers must take
to restrict access to illegal and highly offensive overseas material; to
ensure that ISPs have a full working day (rather than 24 hours) to "take
down" illegal or highly offensive material; that clarifies that private
e-mails do not fall within the scope of the legal regime, and  ensures that
industry Codes of Practice will cover e-mails that direct the recipient to
highly offensive or illegal material. The Broadcasting Services Amendment
(Online Services) Bill 1999 will now go to the House of Representative for
approval. There is substantial opposition to the Bill amongst Internet and
Library Associations. Information about and reaction to the Bill are
available on the Children and the Internet site

Thanks to Jillian Dellit (jdellit@educationau.edu.au)
Strategy, Policy, Marketing, Education.Au Ltd, for this brief.


Copyright June 7, 1999, Dr. Steven W. Simpson, Simpson Communications

Dr. Steven W. Simpson




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