April 2003 School Reform News

Issue Date: 
April, 2003
Newspaper PDF: 

April marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of A Nation at Risk--“one federal report,” writes School Reform News contributing editor David W. Kirkpatrick, “that did not end up on a shelf gathering dust.” The April 2003 issue of School Reform News features Kirkpatrick’s look at the impact the report had on U.S. education. “Twenty years after publication of A Nation at Risk,” Kirkpatrick concludes, “what should have increased--such as achievement and graduation rates--has not, and what should not have increased--such as dropout rates, violence, and functional illiteracy--has.”

Page 1 also features Managing Editor George W. Clowes’ report from the Black Alliance for Educational Options’ Symposium 2003, held in Dallas, Texas from February 27 to March 2; and Krista Kafer’s summary of a new study from the Manhattan Institute, confirming the validity of high-stakes testing.

A special five-page Friedman Report profiles Colorado real estate developer Steve Schuck and highlights school choice-related legislative activity in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Managing Editor Clowes welcomes reports from your state; his email address is clowes@heartland.org.)

Also in this issue: the five requirements for a “true private choice” program, as set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris; a summary of recent polling data on school choice and advice from Clowes on how to avoid the pitfalls of polling; and a “Just the Facts” feature on civics education, complete with data tables and graphs.

This month’s exclusive interview is with Paul D. Novack, the mayor of Surfside, Florida. Novack has made headlines for his efforts to improve school safety and accountability both locally and across the state. Novack contends the public schools in his town don’t suffer from a lack of funds. “[I]t turned out that where the school system was strapped for cash, it was because of its own waste in squandering so much money. Overall, it actually had more than enough money to fix the problems.” Says Novack, “Our people here are paying for an ‘A+’ education system but they’re only getting a ‘D’ system for their money.”

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