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NATION'S READING REPORT -- From National Public Radio's Morning Edition. NPR's Anthony Brooks and Richard Gonzales report on two contrasting states in the Department of Education's reading report. Connecticut got the highest scores in the nation, jumping over Maine with a huge increase. California, which used to be at or near the top, continues to languish at the end of the government's table. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


READING -- from National Public Radio's All Things Considered, March 4, 1999, reports on the recently-released NAEP scores. The US Department of Education released its biggest report on how well school children are reading. Known as the nation's "Reading Report Card" this year's state by state breakdown of scores shows some encouraging upward trends, especially in the northeastern US. There is little evidence though that the poorest performing states - namely Mississippi, Louisiana an California, are making much progress. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RELEASES READING SCORES -- NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports that the Department of Education releases the reading scores of the nation's 4th, 8th and 12th graders this morning. Little attention was paid to the report until several years ago, when it revealed that nearly half of the nation's 4th graders read below their grade level. This year scores are up. But critics say national standardized testing doesn't adequately measure the performance of students in different states or provide a means to improve for states that lag. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)





BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN TUCSON -- NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports on efforts in Tucson, Arizona to do away with the state's bilingual education system. Arizona has about 90,000 students enrolled in bilingual programs, but some parents and teachers don't think the system is effective and have organized a campaign modeled after California's Prop. 227 to put the future of bilingual education to a referendum vote. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


COLORADO BILINGUAL -- In Denver, the debate over bilingual education has taken a radically different tack than in California. After complaints by parents, the federal government may take the city to court for failing to provide adequate bilingual education. The city program runs for 3 years, but parents want up to 7 years' instruction in kids' native languages. Aaron Schacter reports. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)




STRUCTURED ENGLISH IMMERSION IN CALIFORNIA -- NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports (November 12, 1998) from Los Angeles on the fallout from the defeat of Proposition 227 in California, eliminating bilingual education. There are no standard guidelines for what is called "structured English immersion," and some parents and teachers of non-English speaking children say the quality of education is suffering. Educators' interpretations of initiative vary widely; some resistance continues, while Unz threatens to sue and "force them into bankruptcy. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


CALIFORNIA BILINGUAL -- California's new bilingual education regulations officially take affect today (August 3, 1998). A newly-passed voter initiative, Proposition 227, puts strict limits on the length of time that children in the state's schools may receive assistance in their native language. Although most schools won't begin classes until September, year round schools will have to implement the new law today. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)


NPR's Morning Edition (June 10, 1998) presents "A STUDENT ON BILINGUAL EDUCATION" --Annie Tsai, originally from Taiwan, comments on how the loss of bilingual education could affect immigrants living in California now that voters passed an initiative ending the program. Tsai is graduating from high school in Albany, California and will be attending Cornell University in the fall. Her commentary comes from Youth Radio. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)


NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on the victory for opponents of bilingual education "PROP 227 WINS" (June 3, 1998). California public schools will now have about two months to place students either in English-only classes or in accelerated English-language instruction. Some Hispanic civil rights groups filed suit claiming the just-approved measure is unconstitutional. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)


The May 25th edition of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS entitled, "LEARNING THE LANGUAGE" explored the current debate over bilingual education in the United States. What is the best way to teach language skills to non-English speaking children? In California, supporters of Proposition 227 say schools should immerse students in English as soon as possible. If it is successful, the proposition could spell the end to bilingual education in the state. A RealAudio version of this segment is available. (Requires "RealAudio" software).


On April 28, 1998 Secretary of Education Richard Riley denounced Proposition 227, which would end most bilingual education programs in California, as a ``disaster,'' ``counterproductive'' and ``just plain wrong.'' ``Proposition 227 may satisfy people's sense of frustration, but ultimately it is counterproductive to our common goal of making sure children learn English while making academic progress in other subjects as well,'' Riley said in a lengthy statement. Hear the White House Announcements (Please be patient, may take a few moments to load)


NPR reports on the CLINTON ADMINISTRATION OPPOSITION TO CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 227, the California ballot measure that would dismantle the state's bilingual education programs. The administration is going to call for a three year limit to participating in bilingual programs, but opponents to Prop 227 say that there should be no time limit. Survey show that most California voters support the ballot measure. 3 Mins. (Requires "RealAudio" software)


Marshall Smith, acting deputy secretary of Education Department, said on Monday that the Clinton administration thinks Proposition 227 is too broad to be effective. (94K, 13 Secs.)


White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said on Monday that it's wrong for a state to impose a one-year immersion program on local school districts. (183K, 26 Secs.)


In "BILINGUAL EDUCATION," April 7, National Public Radio's All Things Considered reports on the California ballot initiative that would strictly limit bilingual education. Story includes interview with Ron Unz the controversial author of Proposition 227 and leaders of the opposition. (Requires "RealAudio" software). To download the RealAudio Player consult RealAudio's home page. For the free Player go to the download page.


The September 21st edition of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS entitled, "Double Talk?" explored the current debate over bilingual education in the United States.

A RealAudio version of this segment is available. A background report was provided and Margaret Warner spoke with James Lyons, executive director of the National Association of Bilingual Education and Ron Unz, Chairman of California's "English for Children" initiative. (Requires "RealAudio" software).

A transcript of the program is available on the Online NewsHour web site at:


Individuals could pose questions to these activists on both sides of the bilingual debate through an online forum sponsored by PBS afterwards. A sampling of the questions and responses is now available at: "Questions Asked in the Forum".





CODE TALKER -- Carl Gorman -- one of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War Two -- recently died of cancer, at the age of 90. The Code Talkers played an instrumental role in the U.S. efforts in the Pacific theater of World War Two...hear about what they did in this remembrance of Gorman's role with the Code Talkers. Please be patient, may take a few moments to load. (Requires free "RealAudio" software.)





FRONTLINE, PBS's public-affairs looks at "SAVING BLACK COLLEGES". Many of America's esteemed black colleges are increasingly running in the red. John Merrow looks at the financial crises at some of these historic institutions.


FRONTLINE, PBS's public-affairs series presents an in depth look at "50 YEARS LATER". Brown v. Board 50 Years Later The landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case desegregated America's public schools, but most minority students still attend schools where they are the majority. Gwen Ifill looks at progress in the 50 years since the ruling with Sheryll Cashin, a professor at Georgetown University Law School; John McWhorter, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley; Roger Wilkins, a professor of history and American culture at George Mason University; and Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines.


FRONTLINE, PBS's public-affairs series presents an in depth look at "THE TWO NATIONS OF BLACK AMERICA". Thirty years after Martin Luther King Jr's death, how have we reached this point where we have both the largest black middle class and the largest underclass in our history? Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. leads this Frontline report.


Audio excerpts from the Du Bois Institute's 1997 forum "A conversation on Race" (Requires "RealAudio" software) is included along with interviews of such notables as Eldridge Cleaver, Quincy Jones, Angela Davis, Julian Bond, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson. . . and more.


"A Glimpse of History" Video presentation presents scenes of the Howard University 1968 takeover (Requires "RealPlayer" software). During the sixties, even before students on white campuses demonstrated against the Vietnam War, students on black campuses raised the issue of whether their institutions of higher learning were "relevant" to the needs of the black community. In the forefront of this movement was Howard University in Washington, D.C., then known as the "Harvard for blacks."


Frontlines forum "Join the Discussion" is also provided to answer the questions: Is the black community better of today than it was in 1968? And. . . How can its growing class gap be closed?


AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL STRIDES -- NPR's Larry Abramson reports that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans are now just as likely to graduate from high school as are whites. However, Hispanic immigrants are still facing problems in their educational progress. Hear the report on a RealAudio version of the segment.





National Public Radio's Morning Edition examines the problems in the offices behind the bench of the Supreme Court in "MORE DIVERSITY IN SUPREME COURT." At issue is the poor and minority employment record of the justices. The justices hire few law clerks who are not white male. Commentator Joe Davidson suggests the Supreme Court should hire more minority law clerks. The 34 clerks are a very powerful and elite group that has an enormous influence over the issues seen and decided by the justices. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)





Is Teacher Testing The Best Way To Improve Academic Achievement?

In "Grading The Graders", an Online NewsHour report talks with Linda Darling Hammond, executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, about the growing movement to test teachers. States are increasingly testing teachers to ensure their competency, but do these tests fairly measure teaching skills and improve the quality of education in the classroom? NewsHour correspondent Betty Ann Bowser looks at Massachusetts' experience with teacher testing.

TESTING THE TEACHERS a RealAudio version of this segment is available. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)

You can also participate in an online forum on the topic.





National Public Radio's Morning Edition examines the national problem of soon-to-retire teachers in TEACHER SHORTAGE. The U.S. Department of Education says over the next ten years the country will need to hire two million new teachers. Some school systems, however, say the problem is exaggerated. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)





In the first of a two part series on language and identity NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports that depending upon where you live in America and where you come from, accents can be a benefit or a hindrance both socially and professionally. There are companies that specialize in "accent reduction," offering classes and coaching to people who want to shed a regional or foreign accent. In California, where voters recently rejected bilingual education and mandated English-only education, many immigrants are refining their English in such courses. Hear more on NPR's report "LOSE THAT ACCENT" for Morning Edition. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)


In part two of the series on language and identity, NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports on Latinos in the United States who are improving their Spanish or who are learning the language for the first time. About one quarter of all Latinos in the U.S. speak only English. Hear more on LATINOS LEARNING SPANISH. (Requires free "RealAudio" software)




ADMINISTRATION TO LINK PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO THE 'NET' -- National Public Radio's Larry Abramson reports on a two billion dollar program announced by Vice President Gore to connect public schools and libraries to the Internet. The awards are part of the controversial "e-rate" program, which some Congressional Republicans have criticized as too expensive. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


THE DIGITAL DIVIDE -- If you are black or Hispanic in this country, you are less likely to have a computer. If you live in a household earning over $75,000 a year, you are five times more likely to have a computer. If you live in a city or suburban area, you are ten times more likely to have a computer than in a rural area. In a society where increasingly we are defined by access to information and what we earn is what we learn, if you don't have access to technology, your going to be left in the digital dark ages. That's what the digital divide is all about. Newshours Jeffrey Kaye takes a look at the chasm between the haves and have nots in the world of cyberspace. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)






RACE & SCHOOLS -- Scott Jagow of member station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina, reports that a lawsuit challenging the city's school desegregation plan is forcing residents to reexamine their commitment to racial integration. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


A recent legal challenge to Charlotte, N.C. school-busing law has called into question a 27 year-old Supreme Court ruling. With possible national implications, the lawsuit is being closely watched.

Read the transcript from the June 30 edition of an Online Newshour report "BUS STOP." Betty Anne Bowser reports on a white family that sued the Charlotte-Mechlenburg school system, claiming racial discrimination. The system uses a combination of busing and magnet schools to achieve racial integration.


Hear the discussion "BUSING IN CHARLOTTE" on a RealAudio version of the segment. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


STANDARDIZED TESTING AND MINORITY STUDENTS - National Public Radio's Weekend All Things Considered Gary Orfield of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and Linda McNeil of Rice University participated in a study that looked into how standardized testing impacts minority students -- especially those so-called high-stakes exams given to high school students to determine whether or not they may graduate. The study found that these tests do discriminate against minorities and force teachers to take valuable class time away from important subjects in order to help students prepare for the exams. (Requires Real Audio Software)





SAT - "STRIVERS" . Is there a way for colleges and universities to diversify their student bodies without relying on racial preferences? One of the nation's largest testing services thinks there IS a way to identify students who've overcome hardships, to become what the testers call "strivers." NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)


REDEFINING DIVERSITY -- PBS OnLine NewsHour reporter Spencer Michels reports that California law schools are looking for new ways to achieve diversity in the wake of the passage of Proposition 209, which eliminated affirmative action from the state's public education system. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)

Coping With Prop 209 -- Full-text transcript of above report.


FLORIDA AFFIRMATIVE ACTION -- NPR's Linda Wertheimer reports Florida Governor Jeb Bush has signed an executive order banning racial preferences or quotas in the hiring of state employees and contractors. The new policy also affects higher education, ensuring that the top 20-percent of high school graduating classes are automatically admitted to state universities. Linda speaks with Michael Griffin, Political Editor of the Orlando Sentinel, about the policy. (Requires free "Real Audio" software)