Fund raising timed to the second Millenium: Western Maryland College is keeping an eye on the clock during its $40 million drive -- which expires at the same moment the 20th century does.

The Education Beat

December 29, 1996|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

WESTERN Maryland College was named for a railroad, so perhaps it's appropriate that the Westminster institution of higher learning should insist that the completion of a $40 million fund drive be right on time -- to the second.

That second will be the last one of the 20th century, Dec. 31, 1999, at 11: 59: 59 p.m. "As midnight tolls on Dec. 31, 1999, we will welcome the beginning of the New Year, too, but we also will toast the success of our campaign," said the Western Maryland president, Robert H. Chambers.

The college announced the campaign, titled "The Defining Moment," in September, but it had been in the planning stages for months. In an interview with The Sun last year, Chambers called the effort "the centerpiece of my life for the rest of the century."

There probably won't be much suspense in Westminster three years from Tuesday night, however. Following a pattern of raising much of the desired money in a "silent phase" before the formal campaign announcement, the college had $24 million in cash and pledges.

Goucher College did the same thing this year. In May, Goucher officials announced a five-year, $40 million campaign, although $30.5 million already was in hand or pledged.

Chambers, who has headed Western Maryland for 12 years, ignores the millennium controversy, thumbing his fund-raising nose at those who say the 20th century actually ends Dec. 31, 2000.

Language-related sites offer instruction on Web

Here are some useful Web sites for teachers and students of foreign languages:

The Japanese Language and Cultural Network (http: //www-japan.mit.edu) provides curriculum materials in Japanese and instructions for reaching other Japanese Web sites.

For a German program developed at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, tap http: //www.uncg.edu/lixlpurc/ german. html.

For a discussion of the grammatical rules and syntax of Ebonics, the African-derived language spoken in urban America and recently approved by the Oakland, Calif., school board: http: //ebonics.comicaledu.

(The last item is, of course, a joke.)

In homework vs. TV time, Scotland's worst, China best

It may come as a surprise to learn that American students aren't the worst offenders when their television time is compared to their homework time.

That dishonor goes to Scotland, according to a survey by the Educational Testing Service and reported by the American School Board Journal. Ninety percent of Scotland's 13-year-old students report watching television two hours or more daily, while 14 percent report doing homework two hours or more.

The best record belongs to China, where teens actually report more lengthy homework sessions a day (44 percent) than television sessions (35 percent). U.S. students are close to the middle of the pack; 84 percent of American 13-year-olds report spending two hours or more watching the tube daily, while 29 percent spend two hours or more hitting the books.

The average homework time for U.S. students is four to five hours a week. Studies show Americans spend only about 13 percent of their waking hours in school through the first 18 years of life. Much more of the other 87 percent could be devoted to homework, but, alas, it is not.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, recently looked at 15 homework studies. "There seems little doubt that homework has substantial effects on students' learning," they concluded. "There is even less doubt that American students, on average, allocate comparatively little time to it." From last week's "Flashback" feature in The Carroll Sun: "75 years ago: 'Last week, Pine Knob school near Eldersburg was robbed of its Victrola and a number of other valuable articles. This week the school house was entered again and the Near East Contribution stolen, consisting of clothes, fruits, etc. Thieves that will take articles belonging to starving and poorly clad people should be caught and sent to Russia in chains to live the fate of those human beings.' -- Democratic Advocate, Dec. 23, 1921"

Hollinger targets trustees who are gunning for LaVista

The trustees of Baltimore County community colleges have scheduled a closed meeting tomorrow, reportedly to give the boot to Chancellor Daniel J. LaVista. But county Sen. Paula C. Hollinger was on the Marc Steiner show Thursday saying that it shouldn't be hasta LaVista, but hasta several of the trustees trying to fire him. Hollinger is not alone in that sentiment.

Quote of the week

"Yes, our test scores are low. But we do not believe spending an enormous amount of time and energy on [school district] governance will do much to help." -- Richard DeColibus, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union.

Pub Date: 12/29/96

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