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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: WASHINGTON STATE EDUCATION NEWS -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 NATIONAL EDUCATION NEWS -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 EDUCATION-RELATED TECHNOLOGY NEWS -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 ********** A Message From Our Sponsor **************** Computer Curriculum Corporation (CCC) is delivering EdMAP - Breakthrough tools for connecting curriculum, instruction and assessment. For more information on CCC and this enterprise-wide instructional management system, please visit us at our Web site (http://www.ccclearn.com/) or call 1-800-CCC-4KIDS, extension 6251. CCC is the leading provider of educational software and services to K-12 schools. ************************************************ WASHINGTON STATE EDUCATION NEWS SEATTLE STUDENTS' TEST SCORES SHOW IMPROVEMENT 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 (http://www.seattletimes.com) FINALISTS PICKED FOR SEATTLE'S CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER 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 (http://www.seattle-pi.com) UW TRYING TO CHANGE PREPAID COLLEGE TUITION PLAN 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 (http://www.seattletimes.com) BILL AND MELINDA GATES DONATE $5 BILLION TO FOUNDATION 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 (http://www.seattle-pi.com) NATIONAL EDUCATION NEWS INCREASING FOCUS ON "CHARACTER EDUCATION" IN SCHOOLS 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 (http://www.nytimes.com) CHANNEL ONE PROGRAM DOING WELL DESPITE OPPOSITION 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 program. Casey Lartigue Jr., "Anti-Channel One Crusade Is Failing" CATO Today's Commentary, May 24, 1999 (http://www.cato.org) FEAR COULD CAUSE TEACHERS TO LEAVE THE PROFESSION 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 (http://www.usatoday.com) CALIFORNIA BEGINS PROGRAM TO IMPROVE SCHOOL LIBRARIES 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 (http://www.nytimes.com) AUSTRALIA'S NATIONAL GOALS FOR SCHOOLING ESTABLISHED 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 (email@example.com) Strategy, Policy, Marketing, Education.Au Ltd, for this brief. EDUCATION-RELATED TECHNOLOGY NEWS ED.NET BRIEFS WEB SITE ADDITIONS (II) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org MORE ELDERLY PEOPLE ARE USING THE INTERNET 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 (http://www.seattletimes.com) RURAL AND SMALL TOWN SCHOOLS DENIED CURRENT TECHNOLOGY 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 (http://www.usatoday.com) AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MAY REGULATE ONLINE CONTENT 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 (http://www.edna.edu.au/EdNA/). Thanks to Jillian Dellit (email@example.com) Strategy, Policy, Marketing, Education.Au Ltd, for this brief. ______________________________________________________________ Copyright June 7, 1999, Dr. Steven W. Simpson, Simpson Communications Dr. Steven W. Simpson http://www.edbriefs.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org 360.385.4387 To unsubscribe to wabriefs, send mail to 'email@example.com' with 'unsubscribe' in the *BODY* of the e-mail, *NOT* the *SUBJECT LINE* of the e-mail.