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.

Regents examinations

Standardized competency examinations required of all public elementary and secondary school students by a state board of regents for promotion to the next higher grade or for graduation from the high school.

Freedom of speech

A vague, constantly shifting and highly controversial concept, under which citizens are free to express themselves orally and in print, without government interference.

Curriculum development

The design of an educational program that fulfills the educational goals of the institution.

High school reform

An amorphous, ongoing effort by a variety of organizations to improve academic achievement in American high schools.

Single-salary schedule

A salary scale based solely on training and years of experience, eliminating merit, area of teaching, student ages and hazards or job difficulties as considerations. Thus, an elementary school teacher, a middle school art teacher and a high school chemistry teacher would all receive the same salaries under a school district’s single-salary schedule if, for example, they each had a B.A. and one year of teaching experience.

Rockefeller University

A unique graduate university in New York City, founded by oil magnate John D.

Residential academy

In modern education, a state-financed boarding school for gifted high school students.

Lighthouse district

A term that refers to any school district offering new,

New mathematics (“new math”)

A primary and secondary school mathematics program introduced in the late 1950s and early 1960s to expand student understanding by teaching the concepts of the origin and structure of mathematics rather than limiting the emphasis to computation based on memorization Also called modern mathematics, new math caused enormous controversies in education by introducing abstract concepts in logic to students often too young to grasp them.

Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI)

A monthly compilation of abstracts of doctoral dissertations submitted to University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.