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Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS. : MISCELLANY/ NEWSMAKERS AND MILESTONES

April 06, 1986| Week in Review stories were compiled by Times staff writer Steve Emmons.

There was good news for the 12,000 members of the National Catholic Educational Assn. gathered in Anaheim for their annual meeting.

U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett told them that the Reagan Administration's proposal to issue vouchers allowing parents to opt for private instead of public schools is gaining grass-roots support.

"We are winning the war and probably losing the (congressional) battle for this year," Bennett said. But he promised that "we will keep at it" and that the proposal will become law "soon."

Then came the bad news, delivered by Archie Lapointe, executive director of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Lapointe said that while Catholic school students consistently read better than their public school counterparts, their writing abilities are about the same--that is, very poor. "You're going to be disappointed when you see" his organization's upcoming report, Lapointe told the members.

The report will conclude that while students' spelling and grammar have improved, teachers spend little time on "the quality of ideas" contained in the writing.

Lapointe added that television, "everybody's scapegoat," apparently deserves its reputation.

In 1984, he said, 9-year-old children were watching an average of six hours of television each day, 30% more than 9-year-olds in 1975. Lapointe said that during the same period, the reading abilities of 9-year-olds declined, especially among minorities. For example, he said, the number of 9-year-old black children able to read even rudimentary material declined from 30% to 16% during those years.

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