Class Size (video) - A team of experts reports that programs to reduce class size can do more harm than good if policymakers dont do their homework. (10/25/01)
Why Johnny Cant Hear - Studies show that many classrooms may simply be too noisy for students to hear what the teacher is saying, and could be inhibiting childrens learning. (11/28/00)
Elsewhere on the web
Safety in a Box: New device records and shows teen drivers mistakes to parents - ABCNews.com
The Relative Risks of School Travel: A National Perspective and Guidance for Local Community Risk Assessment - Online prepublication version of the report
National Coalition for School Bus Safety
They make headlines, but it turns out that school buses are not the most dangerous way for kids to get to school.
This ScienCentral News video reports that school buses are actually the safest way to go.
The report—titled "The Relative Risks of School Travel: A National Perspective and Guidance for Local Community Risk Assessment"was put together by the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council. Aside from the fact that teenagers are 20 times more at risk when they drive themselves as opposed to taking a school bus, the report looked at several other factors.
The risks faced by boys versus girls are identical when the children are younger and have little control over their transportation. But as they grow older (i.e., as soon as they get the opportunity to control the transportation mode), the risk for boys grows by 50%.
Urban and rural school transportation was also compared. The report indicates that rural environments are in fact more dangerous than urban ones, according to Paul Fischbeck, a member on the committee that wrote the report and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Highways around rural schools, lack of sidewalks, the different speed limits, and the greater distances traveled by children in rural areas, are some of the contributing factors.
The report presents a series of checklists and a risk management framework that would allow districts all over the country to compare and determine how safe their various school transportation modes are. Fischbeck says some schools try to economize by cutting back on school bus services to pay for other facilities like computers. This has caused concern regarding the safety of children going to and from school. But he is also not advocating that everybody should get on a school bus, because it may not make sense for some school districts. He recommends that every school district should look at all the risks and all the options they have to improve each mode, and then make a determination as to what would make the most sense.