The Three R's and The Big P
Are political solutions getting good grades or flunking in the classroom?
As parental concerns about schools rise, reform efforts are growing. Among the trends:
Universal preschools. Many parents think preschool programs give their kids a head start in life, and the idea is catching on. Vice President Gore is proposing a big new federal program to make preschool available to every 3- and 4-year-old.
Class size. Limiting the size of classes lets teachers pay more attention to individual students and often helps kids excel. Reducing class size has become the most costly education reform in California history, but the results, while promising, have been mixed.
Testing and accountability. Many educators favor setting rigorous academic standards at the state level, regularly testing kids on their reading, math, and other skills, then evaluating schools on the basis of students' performance. That's a key approach of Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
With Betsy Streisand, Carolyn Kleiner and Joe Holley