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September 1, 1994
Vol. 52
No. 1


Technology: Catalyst for Renewal

The photographs in Realizing the Promise of Technology (May 1994) tell the story: Children are captivated by technology. Interested readers might want to join the more than 200 Project CHILD teachers who integrate computer and videodisc technology across the curriculum.
—Sally Butzin, Project CHILD, The Daniel Memorial Institute, P.O. Box 13296, Tallahassee, Florida 32317

Early Exit from ESL Can Harm Students

“Improving the Achievement of Hispanic Students” by Christopher Howe (May 1994) was well intentioned but lacked theoretical perspective. The recommendation that educators should enable students to exit ESL programs quickly is inconsistent with what we know about the time needed to master cognitive and academic skills in a second language.
Jim Cummins (Harvard Educational Review 1986) proposes that students need five to seven years to acquire the language skills needed for successful academic learning. TESOL and other professional associations have also addressed the problems of “early exit.” Those who exit prematurely from ESL classes are more likely to drop out of school.
—Nancy Tumposky, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, New Jersey

Let's Acknowledge, Not Deny, School Crises

Alex Molnar's statement that “public education is less in crisis than under attack” was infuriating (“City Schools Under Attack,” May 1994). While he conceded that many urban schools need improvement, his message distracts us from action. He undermines school change efforts by stating, “The United States does a reasonably good job of educating its citizens.”
Already there are signs that the educational establishment is shifting back to its old tactics of spouting soothing rhetoric about how good our schools are. Thankfully, William Ayers faces up to the grave crisis in our urban schools (“Can City Schools Be Saved?”). He points out that our crisis is a product of our policies and practices, not a “natural disaster.” I reject the “feel good” denial of the first article and draw inspiration from the second.
—David S. Seeley, Professor of Education, The College of Staten Island, City University of New York

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