Education news roundup

Education news roundup

Education News Roundup 03/09/94 ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S.A., 1994 MAR 9 (NB) — The American Electronics Association has unveiled basic standards it wants educators to meet for its future manufacturing, sales, and information services workforce.

The standards were developed under a Labor Department grant and could become part of the hiring process for future high school graduates who do not go on to college. It is part of a broad US government effort to develop standards with 20 industrial groups over the next few years. Among the required skills in manufacturing are the ability to interpret statistics and perform diagnostic tests, along with working well within a group.

In other industry news, Education Alternatives Inc., the largest private operator of public schools, said it lost-out on a bid to operate schools in Milwaukee to a rival, the Edison Project. Worse, District of Columbia superintendent Franklin Smith dropped plans to consider private contracting of 15 schools there, citing political opposition. Smith may push ahead if test results in schools Education Alternatives helps run in Baltimore are positive this spring. Political opponents of Smith’s move cited Education Alternative’s accounting problems in their arguments.

Elsewhere, politics ruled the day. Alabama’s legislature is involved in a political struggle between two education reform plans. “Score 100” is backed by Republicans and the state’s teachers — it would set-up a core curriculum, fine parents who don’t show up for teacher conferences, and require use of phonics to teach reading and traditional grading methods. Governor Jim Folsom, however, is backing a rival business-backed plan called “A Plus,” which would create a performance-based system and fund centers in poor areas to deal with inner-city social ills. Conservative critics charged A Plus is a conspiracy to force “politically correct” values on Alabama schoolchildren.

Politics is even more bitter in California, which still lacks a school superintendent. State Republicans have declared the state’s teacher’s union unwelcome at their meetings, but a major controversy concerns a high school English test which once included stories by Alice Walker. Those questions were taken out of the test recently, with state officials saying they were leaked to the press, while Walker and others charge a political conspiracy by the religious right. Walker recently rejected an award from Governor Pete Wilson, who is running for re-election, citing the controversy.

(Dana Blankenhorn/19940309/Press Contact: AEA, Susan Bradshaw, 408-987-4200)

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