Vol. 15 : No. 6
Drs. Don and Elizabeth Perrin, Managing Editors
Education's future focus, whether Distance Learning, interactive, technology-based, or traditional academic configuration, is clouded with contradiction. Controversy swirls around funding, assessment, teacher accountability, student accountability, parent accountability and government responsibility. All issues listed are critically significant in development of strong and sensitive systems for teaching and learning. Is there more than one right path? Undoubtedly! We have brought together in our June issue public documents, research from the Center for Educational Statistics, in depth analyses and insightful, evocative approaches within the teaching/learning domain.
It is important for those of us concerned about education to be cognizant of what is legislated and what is not legislated, and what is funded and what is not funded. Parents should ensure there is funding for after-school programs. School administrators should be concerned about funds to repair or replace substandard buildings and infrastructure. Teachers should be concerned about learning resources. Advocates of technology should ensure that the e-rate is continued and expanded. Those who are concerned that no child is left behind should ensure that regulations and political directives do not countermand the best professional judgment of educators.
The Senate is completing action on S.1, the Better Education for Students and Teachers Act - a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Here are some amendments currently under consideration by the Senate:
$100 million annually to establish 1,000 Community Technology Centers across the nation - passed by one vote.
$1.6 billion for FY2002 for school construction - did not pass by one vote.
13.5 b billion through FY2005 for class size reduction - did not pass by two votes.
A Sense of the Senate amendment that 21st Century Community Learning Centers should be funded at $1.5 billion for FY02, and would increase the out year authorization by $500 million per year - passed by 2/3 majority.
Easing the tax exempt financing rules for public school construction - passed by 84% of the Senate.
Comparative analysis with research on existing conditions within our schools and the functioning of our school systems is in order for those of us who are in the teaching- learning arena. The role of government is to provide enabling policy, legislation, and funding so that educators can do their best work. Legislators, in partnership with educators, will provide quality education to all Americans.