"California Continues Phaseout of Whole-Language Era" was the headline, but the
fine print revealed that the Legislature is using $46 million of federal Goals
2000 funds to train teachers for grades four through eight in phonics-based
methods. However, reading instruction in grades four through eight is "remedial"
and addresses the illiteracy problem only after children have spent the first
three years learning how to guess instead of to read.
Diplomas were denied to two high school students who failed to meet community
service requirements. The seniors, who attended Bethlehem (PA) Area Public
Schools, failed to complete the mandatory 60 hours of unpaid community service
performed during non-school hours. Despite a lawsuit filed against the school
district in 1990 and subsequent appeals, the policy remains in place. The two
seniors, like other students who failed to meet the requirement in previous years,
will be honored by opponents of this mandatory "volunteer" policy.
Plans are underway to open the nations first two-year post-secondary school
established for homeschool students. This institution of higher learning aims
to respond to the needs of homeschool students and is projected to open in 1999
in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. An education program emphasizing
apprenticeships will allow students to divide time equally between internships
and traditional classroom academic courses. The school will be nondenominational
but is expected to reflect Christian and conservative ideologies.
Drug makers are targeting children. Pharmaceutical companies eager to market
products are racing to impress federal regulators with data assuring that
medications are safe and effective for children. The push to sell these drugs
to young consumers may cause children to be diagnosed with illnesses they do not
have and therefore treated with medication they do not need, or with medication
alone when counseling should also be prescribed.