Education: Word of Mouth in America - Law-Makers with Sex on Their Minds Find Time for Teaching
Marcus, Jon, The Independent (London, England)
EDUCATION SCORED impressive gains in the US congressional session just completed, a session where there was little progress made on other fronts because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Law-makers approved more than $1bn for 100,000 new teachers, $300m to improve teacher training and $260m for programmes to reduce illiteracy (recent tests found that 40 per cent of American eight year-olds do not read at a basic level). In all, more than $14bn was approved over the next five years in direct support of education. Higher education fared even better. Congress lowered the interest rate on loans for college and increased the amounts available for grants and the limits on money that can be earned toward their tuition by students in work-study programmes. Nearly 9 million students receive financial assistance through these programmes, totalling $49 billion a year.
On the other hand, a White House proposal to spend more than $3bn building 5,000 new schools and renovating antiquated classrooms failed at a time when there is a $17bn backlog in construction and repairs in New York City alone. Nationwide, the cost of overdue construction and repairs is estimated to be at least $112 billion,according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Still, education fared better than most other issues. Proposed tax cuts, health care and political campaign reforms, wage laws and tobacco controls, they all fell before the all-consuming White House sex scandal. School for scandal MS LEWINSKY has had one unlikely impact on the nation's education system: she has made some university professors famous. Many have been happy to discuss the Lewinsky affair on television and in print. Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, for example, was on television 39 times from January to mid-August discussing the scandal. While this has made Professor Turley eminently recognisable, it has infuriated students who feel that he is not paying enough attention to them. Two of these students sought to prove this point by leaving messages with Professor Turley 13 minutes apart, one ostensibly from a producer at a national television newscast and another from a student. The student never received a response. But Professor Turley returned the call from the "producer" in 32 minutes. Rock the bloat IN HIGHER education, a chief topic of complaint is tenure, the system by which faculties are granted lifetime job security after successfully completing a probationary period. Parents and politicians are already outraged by the escalating costs of colleges and universities - tuition rose another 4 per cent this fall, double the rate of inflation for the 14th successive year, the College Board reported - and suspicious of inefficiency and bloat. At a briefing on the topic, convened by Harvard University, some sounded warnings that if …
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Publication information: Article title: Education: Word of Mouth in America - Law-Makers with Sex on Their Minds Find Time for Teaching. Contributors: Marcus, Jon - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 29, 1998. Page number: 5. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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