A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Child benefit theory

A legal doctrine that emerged from a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in church-state conflicts. The cases all involved the spending of public funds to provide services to children enrolled in parochial schools. Although the Court has consistently ruled that government may not use public funds to support a religion or a religious school, under the child benefit principle, government may provide aid to children in religious schools if the aid only benefits the children and not the school or its religion.
As early as 1930, the Court ruled in Cochrane v. Louisiana Board of Education that a Louisiana school district had not violated the Constitution by purchasing textbooks for the teaching of secular subjects and lending them to students in parochial schools. The unanimous decision stated that the books were of benefit only to the students and not the parochial schools or the religions that they espoused. In 1947, the Court issues a similar ruling in Everson v. Board of Education, upholding a New Jersey law that reimbursed parents with state funds for expenses of busing their children to private and religious schools, because the funds were spent directly on students and not on schools. Twenty years later, in Board of Education of Central School District v. Allen, the Court upheld a New York State law requiring local school boards to purchase textbooks and lend them free of charge to students in private and parochial schools. Citing Everson as precedent, the Court ruled that lending textbooks to students was a secular act that “neither advances nor inhibits religion,” because no funds were actually granted to the schools themselves.

Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC)

A training program in which young men and women may earn commissions in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marines while attending college on U.S. government scholarships.

Decentralization

In education, the ceding of authority over local schools by a central or regional school board to local boards made up of members of the community served by each school.

Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PARC decision)

A landmark 1971 U.S. Supreme Court case that extended universal public education laws to retarded children as a constitutional right.

Word book

A pedagogical tool for teachingand improving spelling and writing of first, secondand third graders.

Student descriptive questionnaire

An optional form for students taking the College Board Scholastic Assessment Tests.

Colonial education in America

The English tradition of formal and informal instruction of children in the American colonies.

U.S. v. foreign high schools

The constantly shifting comparison of the academic achievement of American and foreign high school students.

American Federation of Teachers

An international labor union for teachers.

State board of education

A body responsible for supervising public education throughout a state.

Baseline data

A statistical distribution system, which, for teachers, uses a straight line to represent data norms before they introduce a new or altered educational program.

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