The controversy surrounding sex education and condom availability programs in schools in New York City and throughout the US continues because parents worry that such programs encourage teenagers to engage in sexual behavior. But the reality is that more and more teenagers are engaging in sexual behavior anyway. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development found the 17% of girls and 29% of boys engaged in sexual intercourse by the time they were 16 years old. Many parents are ready to blame sex education and condom availability programs for these figures; these parents issue calls for "chastity education." Opponents of sex education also believe that these programs violate the rights of parents to education their children about moral behavior and religious values. But the truth is that these programs do not preclude the right of a parents to teach a child anything. They simply prevent the use of the public schools to impose religious beliefs on students. Those who argue that the mandate of schools is only to teach academic subjects forget that public high schools are the best place for sex education and condom availability programs because the schools are full of teenagers and of adults who are trained and willing to counsel them. Few educators would argue that schools should not teach values, and sex education and condom availability programs provide an excellent way to help teenagers understand not only human sexuality, reproduction, and the spread of disease but also social relationships, the development of cultural norms, and the role of responsible citizens. At the same time that we encourage sexual abstinence among young people, we must also teach about sexual responsibility. Sexual responsibility today means using a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease. If teenagers are embarrassed in their efforts to acquire condoms, pregnancy and diseases will be the result, not abstinence.
There is need for a comprehensive and acceptable definition of the term "population education." Several definitions which have been suggested are summarized. Each definition reflects the concerns of the nation doing the defining or the interests and needs of the individual researcher or organization proposing the definition. Value judgments are embedded in most of the definitions. Researchers and population educators must examine the several possible approaches to population education and adapt their program to the needs and goals of the country or society involved.
Informal individual assessment gives teachers a broader and more robust means of determining whether a primary grade student has a firm grasp on fundamental concepts. Factors, such as students' experience, personality, interests, and learning styles shape their insights and development. Offers suggestions for teachers. (MLF)
The most valued means of support and learning cited by new teachers at Poland Regional High School in rural Maine are the collegial interactions that common workspace, common planning time, and common tasks make possible. The school has used these everyday structures to enable new and veteran teachers to converse about curricular and pedagogical decisions, student learning, administrative logistics, and professional learning. Teachers share classrooms. Co-teaching teams, cross-curricular grade-level teams, and content-area teachers share office space. Common planning time enables team teachers to plan their curriculum together, assess student work, interact with colleagues, and consult with parents and students in a group setting. Many structural features of the school curriculum frame common tasks for teachers and require collaboration, such as standards-based assessment, advisory groups, grade-level teams, an interdisciplinary curriculum, and classes taught in common.
For nearly 20 years, a Delaware school district has been building and evaluating an inclusive classroom model, Team Approach to Mastery. Resource rooms were gradually eliminated, and disabled students were educated alongside their nondisabled classmates. Mainstreaming strategies included team teaching, learning centers, ego groups (to develop self-esteem), direct instruction, positive feedback, point cards, and teacher cadres. (20 references) (MLH)
Although professional learning communities have gained wide acceptance as a way for teachers to support one another's learning, there is less attention paid to the need for principals to meet together to enhance learning and leadership. Three years ago Sterrett (an elementary school principal) and Haas (a high school principal in the same district) realized that they needed a nonthreatening place to share frustrations and exchange strategies. They began meeting together at each other's schools for an hour or two once a month to air problems, brainstorm solutions, and share their latest learning about education issues. Some of their best ideas for improving instruction came out of these monthly tete-a-tetes. The authors share six norms they follow to ensure their monthly mini-learning community remains fruitful: honoring each other's time; moving from complaining to problem solving; focusing on improving instruction; being honest and noncompetitive; including time to observe instruction; and spurring each other's professional growth. (Contains 1 endnote.)
Veteran teachers do not have to be official mentors to help their new colleagues. Experienced educators can be lifesavers for isolated novices by reaching out informally. The most practical opportunities occur through chance meetings in hallways and scheduled discussions during common preparation times. (MLH)
The Improving America's School Act funds numerous small programs that dissipate its purpose and increase its vulnerability. Congress is debating extension of federal roles into areas such as social promotion, parental rights, reading programs, class-size reduction, and national voluntary tests. Changing budget rules pits education against military spending. (MLH)
Suggests seven post-September 11 lessons schools should be teaching students dealing with patriotism, equality and human rights, presence of evil in the world, pluralism and divergence of opinion, United States history, world history and geography, and appreciation for and defense of American democratic institutions. (PKP)
Although California schools are experiencing cutbacks, the cause may be declining enrollment rather than Proposition 13. A less debatable result of Proposition 13 is greater state control of education's purse strings. (Author/JM)
After conducting 10 interviews with outstanding educators for the "Educational Leadership" portrait series, the author realized his subjects had more in common than extraordinary achievement. They shared patterns constituting a leitmotif in their careers--characteristics such as vision, tenacity, recursiveness, time commitment, and dedication to career. (MLH)
Describes and assesses six high school reform projects that concern the values underlying secondary schooling; changes in curriculum, instruction, and teacher preparation; preparation of students for college; communication among schools undergoing reform; the condition of secondary education today and proposed solutions to problems; and the educational purposes of high schools. (Author/RW)
The lesson of educational change failures in the sixties is that educational change requires staff initiation and control as well as support from the surrounding culture. Recent studies point to a new agenda for educational change in the eighties that will succeed only if the mistakes of the sixties are avoided. (JM)
To deal with the rapidly germinating technosocial climates of the twentieth century, educators must develop "educational foresight." Schools' challenges will include changes in structural organization and staff deployment, a reformulated curriculum and schedule, and new "waves" of microelectronics and information to help process and apply the present flood of data. (MLH)
A Saint Louis school experimenting with applying multiple intelligences theory to curricula and instruction defines "genuine understanding" as using information in novel ways. By surveying area museums and designing user-friendly botanical exhibits for a community-based project, first graders developed a better understanding of their own varied learning strengths. Creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills were used to create a museum gift shop. (MLH)
The textbooks used by public schools generally reflect the values and essential priorities of that society, and in cases of value and attitude conflicts arising in curriculum design, textbooks are apt to become prime targets for criticism. (MM)
Project 2061's first product, Science for All Americans, recommends the science, mathematics, and technology skills and knowledge that students should retain after high school graduation. Soon to appear are benchmarks for science literacy, and blocks, models, and blueprints for curriculum design. The project's basic premises: the ends come first, less is better, nothing is simple, and teachers are central. (MLH)
Rapid technological development, the information era, and demographic shifts are three current trends that will influence the educational programs of the future. Schools will need to help students develop skills of reading, writing, and computing and to help students assume responsibility for their own learning throughout their lives. (MLF)
In December 1992, the National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment (NCSESA) discussed preliminary working documents addressing Science for All, an ambitious plan to develop comprehensive science education standards by 1994. The science standards will define the understanding level that all students--regardless of background, future aspirations, or interest in science--should develop. Other science education projects are discussed. (MLH)
Most U.S. students are failing to learn much that is useful in science, mathematics, and technology. Curricula must emphasize depth of knowledge, not breadth of information. Two American Association for the Advancement of Science reports stress basic, universal scientific literacy, curriculum benchmarks, foundations for further study, and exploration of nature. (MLH)
Since 2002, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been the leading advocacy organization in the United States focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. Its "Framework for 21st Century Learning," the result of a consensus among hundreds of stakeholders, describes the skills, knowledge, and expertise students need to succeed in work and life. Here, the author spells out the goals of this partnership.
NCLB is leaving English language learners behind because it defies logic and common sense, is internally self-contradictory, and sets AYP expectations that the subgroup cannot possibly attain. Although the U.S. Department of Education allows states to use a variety of strategies to avoid having a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) subgroup, few teachers and administrators are aware of these and spend precious time, energy, and resources preparing English learners for taking high-stakes tests. English language learners should be excluded from the regular state tests, at least until they have enough English proficiency to meaningfully participate. Instead of narrowly focusing on preparing English language learners for state tests, teachers should focus on meeting students' linguistic, cultural, and academic needs.
Describes how one Florida elementary school taught students' global environmental protection issues through the use of videoconferencing and e-mail to communicate directly with students from other countries. (PKP)
The Learning for Mastery approach is clearly more effective than traditional instruction, but individualized programs are better than group-based ones. Students master more objectives with mastery learning because their level of participation is higher. (Author)
The seven-step Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) outlines the stages people move through when adopting an innovation. The 4Mat System applies learning style research and research on brain dominance to teaching practices. When combined, the two systems form a comprehensive model for staff development. (PGD)
In Monroe County (Indiana), an innovative new state program, Technology Preparation, ensures that high school students' coursework offers practical applications of academic concepts to real-life situations. The 4MAT model helped teachers build the Tech Prep program by sensitizing them to individual learning styles, including their own. (MLH)
4MAT is an eight-step instructional cycle that capitalizes on individual learning styles and brain dominance processing preferences. The four major learners (imaginative, analytic, common sense, and dynamic) can use 4MAT to engage their whole brain. Learners use their most comfortable style while being challenged to function in less comfortable modes. Includes 13 references. (MLH)
The 4MAT System honors the distinctive style that each student brings to the classroom, while helping all students grow by mastering the entire cycle of learning styles. The learner makes meaning by moving through a natural cycle--from feeling to reflecting to thinking and, finally, to acting. Teachers need not label learners by style; instead, they must help them work for balance and wholeness. (MLH)
The problems of education stem from system design, not faulty operation. Traditional education is based on autocratic principles, or order without freedom. The innovative Individual Education design, based on democratic principles, gives students control over their own learning and promotes the development of responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness. (MLH)
One schedule innovation--the four-period day and semester-length courses--is revamping North Carolina and Virginia high schools. At Orange County (Virginia) High School, a simplified and flexible 4-year 9-13 semester-block program is helping kids complete more courses, receive better grades, and take and pass more advanced-placement exams. (MLH)
Suburban Chicago middle school teachers designed a month-long unit to foster global education, guided by research on integrated, self-selected, and collaborative learning strategies. Teachers initiated brainstorming activities, grouped students by interest, and demonstrated how to be investigative researchers, informative writers, effective speakers, good listeners, and critical thinkers. An open house program showcased results. (nine references) (MLH)
The two pillars--equal access to knowledge and public demonstration of results--will define the boundaries for decentralizing decisions about curriculum, instructional delivery, staff development, and evaluation. Several schools have already implemented team teaching, deeper course content, multidisciplinary curricula, portfolio student evaluation, and nongraded, continuous progress. Includes 12 references. (MLH)
The ability to analyze the author's purpose and perspective is just as essential as literal and inferential comprehension and, hence, the middle and school students should be engaged in comparing, synthesizing, and analyzing complex texts. Advanced readers have the ability to grasp tone and nuance as they analyze and interpret text.
The New Jersey Task Force on Thinking has taken the first steps toward statewide assessment of students' thinking skills. Efforts were made to (1) define requisite thinking competencies, (2) explore measurement of thinking competencies, and (3) make recommendations accordingly. Preliminary findings are reported. (TE)
Approaches to teaching thinking such as direct teaching of thinking skills and metacognitive approaches, if applied thoughtlessly, can backfire and inhibit thinking, especially with students who are already able, but unconventional, thinkers. We do not know enough about the nature of thinking processes to warrant a mandated thinking skills program. (TE)
A 1996 senior class valedictorian shares her views about teacher effectiveness and ineffectiveness, based on observations of teacher behaviors and teacher-student interactions in various classes. The good teacher tells students what is out there to learn, shows an enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge for understanding, and inspires them to learn independently. More student evaluators are needed. (MLH)
Society's pervasive negative attitude about disability--which the author terms ableism--often makes the world an unwelcoming and inaccessible place for disabled people. An abelist perspective asserts that it is preferable for a child to read print rather than Braille, walk rather than use a wheelchair, spell independently rather than use a spell-checker, read written text rather than listen to a book on tape, and be friends with nondisabled kids rather than with other disabled kids. Ableist assumptions harm students when the education services they receive focus on their disability. To counter ableist assumptions, Hehir recommends that educators base special education decisions on the following definition of the purpose of special education: minimizing the impact of disability and maximizing the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in schooling and the community.
In many countries, education legislation embodies contradictory pressures for centralization and decentralization. In the United Kingdom, there is growing government control over policy and direction of schools; schools are also being given more responsibility for resource management. "Moving" schools within Improving the Quality of Education for All project are working to turn externally driven innovations to their own advantage. (MLH)
The use of physical violence on students affronts democratic values and infringes on individual rights; furthermore, a study of school violence found a high correlation between physical punishment and violent behavior of students. (Author/MLF)
A major problem facing schools is lack of curricular differentiation and academic challenge for the most academically able students. Also, contemporary textbooks have been "dumbed down." Curriculum compacting is a flexible, research-based technique enabling high-ability students to skip work they already know and substitute more challenging content. A recent study and program development advice are included. (12 references) (MLH)
An inner-city Maryland school that serves 610 students coming from 37 different countries and speaking 25 different languages has created a caring, inclusive community by providing kids with incentives, stability, and a chance to celebrate their various cultures at a community exhibition center. Dedicated staff accept no excuses for truancy and reward students for exemplary attendance. (MLH)
Describes Growing Healthy, a 10-year longitudinal study of a comprehensive K-7 health education/substance abuse program sponsored by the American Lung Association. A summative 10-year evaluation shows a reduced percentage of students using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, and stronger beliefs that students would not use either alcohol or drugs as adults. Includes program costs, an address, and three references. (MLH)
Combating the teenage substance abuse problem will require total school and community effort. This article presents guidelines for school action, including recognizing alcohol's dominant role in our society, dealing with mixed messages to youngsters, debunking myths about adolescent alcohol use, using available resources in new ways, and creating comprehensive prevention programs. Includes three references and a list of resources. (MLH)
Classroom teachers have a unique opportunity to identify abused children and promote the process of healing. Offers teachers information about the incidence of child abuse, types of abuse, and possible intervention. (14 references) (MLF)
Among preadolescents, use of "gateway" substances (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana) is rare. By high school, most students have normally established habits of use or nonuse. Because the occurrence of first and experimental use is most frequent during the years around puberty, programs targeting sixth and seventh grades seem most promising. Includes 21 references. (MLH)
Academic press constitutes the schoolwide environmental forces pressing for student achievement, including school policies, practices, expectations, norms, and rewards. This article shows how academic press is created and how high expectations are communicated to students. (Author/JM)
Academically successful schools need to master student discipline and accept that character development is as important as academic development. Provides recommendations on how schools can do both. (MD)
Academic language is the linguistic glue that holds the tasks, texts, and tests of school together. If students can't use this glue well, their academic work is likely to fall apart. According to the author of this article, "academic language" is defined as the set of words and phrases that (1) describe content-area knowledge and procedures; (2) express complex thinking processes and abstract concepts; and (3) create cohesion and clarity in written and oral discourse. Teachers need to help English language learners develop a set of automatic strategies--otherwise known as learning habits--that they can use to acquire academic language in any setting. The five learning habits discussed in this article can help students recognize and understand academic language in a variety of classroom contexts. The author developed the list by drawing on research from language acquisition theory, academic language development, and constructivist learning methods.