Achievement for All Children

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					Achievement for
All Children
An Apple Perspective

In 2002, the U.S. Department of Education set out on a new
path with a simply stated yet bold goal: “No Child Left Behind. ”
It is both the charter and the legislation that will guide what
happens in our public schools for years to come. Often in
education policy, discussion focuses on improvement of the
institution of schooling—on the methods, resources, goals,
and staff. Apple stepped back a bit to consider the end-user,
the important beneficiary of school improvement—the student.
We asked simply, who is this child who is not to be left behind?
We found some surprising data about the children who fill our
schools today. We found both startling similarities and shocking
differences. We found a worthy mission and a direction for our
work as a technology company with more than 25 years of
engagement with education.




                                       Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   1
The Changing Demographics of Education
The Millennials: A Diverse and Promising Generation
Generation Y, or the “Millennials,” as they prefer to be called, are the children
of the Boomers and early-wave members of Generation X. Accounting for
27% of America’s population, they are 70 million strong. Born between 1982
and 2000, this first generation of the new millennium populates classes in
elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as undergraduate and
graduate programs at colleges and universities.

Values

Millennials comprise the most diverse group of children in American history. Thirty-four percent are
minorities, and many are multi-ethnic. As such, many members of this group simply don’t understand
their parents’ hang-ups with race. Ethnic and cultural diversity is just a part of their lives.
This generation grew up during the longest peacetime in U.S. history and lived through the country’s
greatest economic expansion. They also witnessed the events of September 11, 2001, and see this date
as representing a seminal change in their lives. “9/11” may help explain the pro-institution, pro-authority
nature of their values:
• 96% get along with their parents, and 75% share their values.
• 80% think it’s “cool” to be smart.
• 78% believe spirituality is important, and over half of them attend an organized religious service on a
  regular basis. They study the world’s great religions and pick and choose goals, ideas, and values to
  create their own belief system—a trait that also characterizes the way in which they interact with technology.




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• 60% participate in some kind of community service program.
Over 70% of Millennials say that they trust their government to do the right thing. They dislike selfishness
in any form, wrongdoing by politicians, parents who do not hold to ground rules, and courts that are overly
protective of criminals’ rights. (Howe and Strauss, 2000)




Activities and Ambitions

Millennials are hyper-communicators who use many means—often simultaneously—to stay in constant
contact with their peers and gather information about their world. They commonly use land phones, cell
phones, beepers, handhelds, the Internet, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and fax machines.
Expert multitaskers, Millennials have no problem watching TV, browsing the Internet, listening to music,
and communicating with their friends—all at once. Highly goal oriented, Millennials may pursue multiple
goals at the same time, staying in touch with others while gathering information about various topics that
interest them. This type of behavior contrasts greatly with their experience in school, where they are asked
to sit and focus on one narrowband issue for 45 minutes.
Millennials are ambitious, success-oriented self-inventors and entrepreneurs. A recent study of high school
students in San Diego, for example, found that over half believe that they will work in businesses they create
themselves. (PC Magazine, May 9, 2000) This is a heartening statistic in light of the U.S. Labor Department’s
prediction that 80% of the jobs that will be available by the end of this decade have not yet been created.
Millennials’ ambition is reflected in their choices of high school courses and college majors. The years 1982
to 1998 saw a steady increase in the number of high school credits earned in mathematics, science, social
studies, foreign languages, and computer-related studies (National Center for Education Statistics, May 2001),
and the greatest number of degrees conferred at the bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels were in the
fields of education, business management and administration, health and related programs, engineering,
and biological and physical sciences (National Center for Education Statistics, February 2001).
When Millenials consider the kinds of jobs they want, they still see the importance of financial reward, but
they increasingly cite the importance of living near their families, having a happy family life, and maintaining
strong friendships. They are looking for life beyond the cube. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001)




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Buying Power

Why has so much data been gathered about this generation? Millennials represent enormous buying
power. Collectively influencing over $302 billion annually, each Millennial spends an average of $75 a week.
(Howe and Strauss, 2000)
In addition, this group exerts enormous influence on many of their parents’ major purchasing decisions.
According to a recent auto industry survey, in 53% of families’ decisions to purchase a new truck, van, or
automobile, the brand choice is strongly influenced by the families’ teens. (MRI Teenmark, 1999)




Technology and How They Use It

Middle- and upper-class Millennials are serious technology consumers and users.
How They Use Technology (14- to 18-year-olds)
Device                                    Male       Female
Desktop computer                          74%        72%
Video game console                        73%        46%
DVD player                                38%        29%
Cell phone                                37%        30%
CD burner                                 33%        20%
Pager                                     30%        40%
MP3 player                                21%        12%
Digital camera                            20%        27%
Digital video camera                      18%        15%
Laptop computer                           17%        16%

Source: Cassandra Report, December 2000

According to this breakdown, young women are clearly not technophobic, and in fact lead in the use of
beepers and digital cameras.
Of the Millennials with online access, 70% spend an hour each day online, and the same number have
high-speed Internet access. Sixty percent contend that the information found on the World Wide Web is
more reliable than that found in print (Teen Research Unlimited, Fall 1999). Ask them why and they’ll be
happy to open a textbook and show you the copyright date.




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What They Do Online
Activities Online                                                      Total
Sending email                                                          100%
Surfing around/Seeing what is out there                                98%
Looking up music groups and artists                                    95%
Chatting with friends online                                           93%
Doing homework or research                                             92%
Listening to music                                                     90%
Using instant messaging                                                89%
Checking movie, TV, or concert listings                                84%
Reading the news or magazines online                                   81%
Playing online games                                                   80%
Meeting people who share interests                                     77%
Watching streaming videos                                              70%
Exchanging own creative work with friends (art, poetry, music, etc.)   69%
Buying stuff                                                           61%
Participating in online auctions                                       38%

Source: TBWA/Chiat/Day Research, 2000

These kids—not the adults with time constraints—are the power users. They’re out there creating, sharing,
and researching things important to them, and they know how to get information when they need it.




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The Mismatch of Millennials and Schooling
To this point, the focus of our perspective has been informed by data most
representative of children from middle- and upper-class families. To view
how all children are faring in U.S. schools, we will now look at Millennials
                                                                      ”
through the not-so-glowing lens of “The Condition of Education 2002, the
latest in a series of “national report cards” produced every two years by the
National Center for Education Statistics.

What the National Report Card Reveals

An analysis of student reading skills shows that while students read about as well as they did in 1992—with
girls reading slightly better than boys—gaps between white and black readers are narrowing, and students
from low-socio-economic-status (SES) schools read less well than students from affluent schools. What’s
more, the average U.S. 15-year-old reads as well as his or her peers in 27 other countries that make up the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but performs nowhere near the top.
In math, Millennials slightly exceed the average international samples. Fewer than 25%, however, are
proficient in math skills appropriate for their grade level. Again, low socio-economic status is correlated
with poor student performance, and performance varies by ethnicity.
While international comparisons in science also show U.S. students yielding better-than-average results,
overall findings are, again, disappointing. Science performance has not improved in the past decade,
and fewer than a third exhibit science concepts and skills appropriate for their grade level. Asians, Pacific
Islanders, and whites perform better than their black, Hispanic, and American Indian counterparts, and
students from low-SES schools perform less well than students from high-SES schools.
Clearly, across each of these academic areas, the system is not supporting the learning needs of the
traditionally at-risk student. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002)




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                  Dropout Rate of 16- to 24-Year-Olds by Race/Ethnicity


             40



             30
Percentage




             20

                                                                                                         Hispanic
                                                                                                         Black
             10
                                                                                                         Total
                                                                                                         White
              0
                   1972       1976       1980       1984       1986       1992       1996      2000



                  Source: The Condition of Education 2002, National Center for Education Statistics




The Urban Divide

A close look at students attending urban schools reveals even more worrisome—if not horrific—issues.
While 30% of U.S. high school students never graduate, the national report card and the Carnegie Institute’s
data on urban schools and adolescents is even more shocking:
• Only 50% of children graduate from high school in the 32 largest urban districts. Translation: Every day, 2000
  students drop out.
• Dropouts are associated with high-risk behaviors such as crime, substance abuse, and early, unprotected sex.
• More than 50% of the children entering urban high schools read at or below the 6th grade level.
• The gap between America’s best and worst readers is wider than for any other country in a 32-nation study.
  (Carnegie Institute, 2002)
Dropout rates vary dramatically by race, with Hispanics abandoning school in greater numbers than blacks,
who in turn drop out far more than whites. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002) These indicators
are not indictments of ethnic groups; rather, they point to serious problems in an educational system that
affects every student, producing alarming differences in performance and graduation rates.
In their book The Miner’s Canary, Guinier and Torres (2002) provide an apt metaphor for using this kind of
data as a warning signal about our system. In the 19th century, they explain, miners took a caged canary with
them into a mine. If the bird started flapping on the bottom of the cage—an indicator of an imminent mine-
system disaster—the miners immediately fled. No one asked what was wrong with the dying bird—everyone
knew to flee the unsafe system.




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                  12th Graders’ Views of School: 1983–2000


             60

             50                                                           51
                                                                               47
             40
Percentage



                           40                                                       41
                                                                                         39
                                36                 35
             30                      31
                                          28            29
                                                                                                           1983
                                                             24
             20                                                   21                                       1990
                                                                                                           1995
             10
                                                                                                           2000
              0
                          Schoolwork is           Courses are            School will be
                          meaningful              interesting            important in
                                                                         later life



                  Source: The Condition of Education 2002, National Center for Education Statistics




 What Students Think of School

 Data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics and reported in The Condition of Education
 2002 shows the serious disconnect between the “real world” of the high school student and the school
 environment. Children’s view of the relevance of school to their future lives has declined steadily since the
 late 1980s. Today, only 28% of twelfth graders believe that schoolwork is meaningful. Just 21% find their
 courses interesting. And a mere 39% believe that schoolwork will determine their success in later life. These
 statistics are even more shocking when one realizes that they represent the opinions of those students who
 have remained in high school for four years. Students who find high school the least relevant have already
 exited the system in droves.


 The New Student-Teacher Dynamic

 One way or another, all Millennials—even the most economically disadvantaged—are getting access to
 technology. This most technologically advanced, collaborative, and communicative generation to date is
 bringing its unique sensibilities to the dinner table and into the classroom, radically affecting relationship
 and learning dynamics.
 Compared with the adults in their lives, Millennials are far more adept at and sophisticated in their use of
 technology—and they know it. Tapscott, in his book Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation,
 summarizes the observations of John Seely Brown of Xerox PARC fame thusly:

                  For the first time [in the home] there are things that parents want to be able to
                  know about and do, where the kids are, in fact, the authority. This means that now
                  you have a different conversation happening around the dinner table.(pp. 36–37)



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Tapscott describes this phenomenon’s implications as “huge.” Observing families where authority lines are
not drawn generationally, but are instead determined by the value of what any member of the family actually
knows, he says:

        This creates more of a peer dynamic within families and if managed well by the
        parents can create a more open, consensual, and effective family unit.(p. 37)

In the early research conducted in Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), the same point was documented.
(Sandholtz, Ringstaff, and Dwyer, 1997) Students acquire technology skills much faster than their teachers and
quickly become classroom experts. This simple, inevitable fact alters the authority structure of the classroom
in ways that are very beneficial to learning if the teacher is comfortable with and prepared for such a change.




How Millennials Want to Learn

Taking into account their access to technology, the media, and one another, the Millennials’ vision of how
they want to learn is not surprising. They seek to use technology, to leverage the World Wide Web as a
means to access information and each other, to work on solving problems that “matter,” and to do so in
collaborative teams. Recent research on adolescent brain patterns indicates that students are most alert
after 10:30 a.m. and can work late into the evening. Perhaps this is why Millennials feel constricted by the
traditional times and places associated with education. (Bransford et al., 2000)
Apple’s own research at West High School in Columbus, Ohio, demonstrates how different the disaffected-
student scenario might be when students have routine access to technology and collaborate on meaningful,
inquiry-based learning projects. The West High student population as a whole was plagued by a 30% drop-
out rate, with only 17% of the students going on to college. For five consecutive years, however, 100% of
the students in the ACOT program graduated; 90% to 100% of them went to college; and 0% dropped out.
(Dwyer, 1994)
The disgraceful trend toward disaffection with schooling can, indeed, be reversed.




                                                                Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   9
The Pressure for Achievement, Assessment, and Accountability

The following realities make clear why policy makers and parents are pressuring educators for dramatic
improvement:
• Student disenchantment is at an all-time high.
• Vast numbers of students are dropping out of school.
• Student performance is nowhere near the levels required by the increasingly complex, information-laden,
  technological, and politically charged world in which we live.
• The economically deprived students of color in the U.S. who are the most academically at risk in the
  current education system are fast becoming the majority. (Hodgkinson, 2000)
States are increasingly tying teacher and administrator salaries and employment to test scores. The Bush
Administration is directly linking federal funding to the tenets of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002:
(1) Stringent adherence to measurable improvement in academic areas; (2) purchase of curriculum and
educational products with scientific proof behind their claims; and (3) flexibility in funding requirements
to encourage experimentation with charter, private, and for-profit schools. This administration is friendly
to technology, but wants better data on its effectiveness.
Apple recognizes, understands, and addresses the challenges educators face today. With our knowledge of
and history and innovation in education, we feel that we can and should partner with others in the educa-
tion community to improve the system and relieve parents’ and educators’ worries.




                                                               Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   10
The Challenge: Deliver Measurable Achievement
The Education Community’s Goal
To help students, educators, parents, and policy makers—in short, the entire
education community—we need to organize behind a single, driving goal:
deliver measurable student achievement.
To be successful, we must do a number of things:
• Build public consensus about the importance of a broader definition
  of student achievement.
• Pioneer motivating curricula and programs that bring students to school,
  capture their attention, and raise their performance levels.
• Help teachers use technology more effectively.
• Make it easier for administrators to assess and report results.
• Engage parents in their children’s efforts to succeed.


Expanding the Definition of Achievement
In the minds of policy makers and many parents, achievement simply means raising test scores in basic
skills. But mastery only of basic skills—reading, writing, and arithmetic—is insufficient preparation for the
modern world. In fact, this emphasis may exacerbate students’ alienation from schooling.
A broader definition of achievement that has a more contemporary and relevant meaning includes progress
in the basics, but also embraces technology proficiency, 21st-century literacy, and increased perseverance
and ambition on the part of students that leads to more productive futures. Research backs the positive
impact of technology in each of these areas.




                                                                Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   11
                                                     Basic skills answer the challenge of the
                                                     No Child Left Behind Act of 2002.




Basic Skills

The “3Rs”—reading, writing, and arithmetic—are just as important today as they were in the past. Research
shows that children acquire these skills faster and better when using technology-based curricula. Whether
students are just entering the world of reading, writing, and math or preparing for college entrance, technol-
ogy can better prepare them for success.
Two simple facts support this finding. First, children are more engaged by technology than by paper-and-
pencil-based activities. This expands on the notion that children will spend more time with computers than
with books, pencils, and paper. Studies indicate that children not only spend more time with technology-
based activities, they think about what they are doing. More time and more thought equals more success.
Second, when given the chance to develop basic skills with technology, students spend more time on
activities that match their individual learning needs. The better computer-assisted software programs adapt
instruction to the individual level of student competency and make instructional adjustments as students
work. In short, more engaged time and more time spent on tasks delivered at an appropriate level for each
student results in students’ learning more effectively and mastering basic skills in less time than they do with
paper-and-pencil approaches. (Valdez et al., 2000)
It has also been noted that the highly structured nature of computer-assisted learning is very helpful to
students who enter school with little preparation in basic skills. (Valdez et al., 2000) Better-prepared children
may recognize letters, words, and numbers before entering school. Some may already read. Research esti-
mates that some students may suffer a 3000-hour deficit in preliteracy experience compared with children
from families that read to their children consistently during the crucial formative years before school.




                                                                Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   12
                                                     Technology proficiency increases
                                                     children’s productivity, information
                                                     access, and motivation.




Technology Proficiency

It is no secret that growth in the number of high-tech jobs is outstripping growth in other areas of the
economy and that the median salary in technology industries is higher than in any other sector. These
jobs require more education and new skills, and the country is faced with filling them with offshore talent
because of a shortage of prepared American technology workers. (Hecker, June 1999) These observations
make the research findings on dropouts even more poignant, and the need for teaching real technology
proficiency—comprehensive browser, word processing, database, presentations, and spreadsheet use—
more urgent.
Not only do students using technology excel in the classroom, they also test better in basic skills. As a result
of working with more information, they have better strategies at hand when encountering test situations.
Basic software tools help even very young learners become more productive. For example, third graders
find it easier to write with a keyboard than with a pencil or pen. When writing is easier, children write more.
And when they write more, they learn to write better.
These findings come from the ACOT studies, which observed children’s writing abilities during the early
years of the project. Comparison studies showed that ACOT students using computers were able to:
• Compose much faster than children working with traditional means.
• Write longer pieces and use broader and more interesting vocabulary than comparison students.
• Better organize their writing.
Teachers of ACOT students often remarked that their very young students were far more capable of mature
work when writing with computers than they had ever thought possible. As a result, they expected more
and got more from these students. (Dwyer, 1994)
Browsers bring a world of information to students. Search engines help them locate information efficiently
and spreadsheets, databases, and concept maps help them learn to organize, interpret, and use information
in new ways.




                                                                Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   13
Media tools help students express their ideas creatively and engage them in ways that surpass those of tradi-
tional means. Early on students learn what is meant by “A picture is worth a thousand words.” ACOT children
did not see multimedia as a frill but as a powerful tool for expressing processes and complex ideas more
clearly and intuitively than they could with text alone.
As noted earlier, collaboration and communication tools like email, instant messaging, and chat rooms are
hardly new to most teenagers. In school, there is an opportunity to learn safety and protocol in these
“remote” environments. And students have the opportunity to interact with more mentors who are knowl-
edgeable in more domains than they ever had access to before.
When ready to publish their work, students find pride in its professional appearance and are eager to share
it with teachers, parents, and peers for critique and, of course, adulation.




                                                    21st-century skills prepare students
                                                    for success in the changing world.




21st-Century Skills

The skills that people need to master for life are changing. Web-based inquiry, information analysis, media-
rich publishing, entrepreneurship, and collaboration are key abilities required in the new century.
Students, therefore, need to learn to read critically and to speak and write persuasively. They need to apply
mathematical and scientific principles to solve real-world problems. And they need to be able to view
current events through the lenses of the world’s great cultures.
Students need to mine the World Wide Web effectively and efficiently, and to understand the meaning
embedded in charts, graphs, audio, video, and animation. They must experience new approaches to learn-
ing that are inquiry based, collaborative, and perhaps virtual.
Students need to discover the joy of learning, of simple curiosity, and of invention. To remain literate, they
will need to learn every day for the rest of their lives.




                                                               Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   14
Interesting research on how people learn is reported in a book by that name (How People Learn: Brain,
Mind, Experience, and School, Bransford et al., 2000). From the disciplines of cognitive science and medical
research on the brain comes an important understanding of the minds of novices (learners) and experts
(life-long learners).
Experts build “mental models”—the categories and interrelationships they use to organize the information
they glean from their experiences. They constantly challenge the accuracy and robustness of their models
and adapt them when necessary to accommodate new data. Novice learners often simply try to remember
facts in lists—a common strategy for K–12 students preparing for Friday quizzes. Memorization tends to
produce only short-term learning, whereas organizing information in mental schema results in the ability
to access that information years later in unique problem-solving situations.
The process that students can learn to use to solve large, interesting problems—search on the World Wide
Web; find copious results; design databases, concept maps, and spreadsheets to sift and sort that informa-
tion into categories; recognize frequency, trends, and patterns; and then creatively communicate findings
to others—mimics the mental work of experts. Technology, used as a foundational tool in this process,
supports long-term, transferable learning.




                                                    A productive future keeps students engaged
                                                    in school to increase success in life.




Tools for a Productive Future

Studies show that when technology and inquiry become routine parts of students’ school experience, their
attendance improves and dropout rates decline. The more years students attend school, the better their
chance for success in their future lives. What’s more, the number of years spent in school is a better predic-
tor of success in later life than test scores.
ACOT produced dramatic evidence of increased success among the program’s high school-age students.
The program tracked student performance and engagement in five subsequent cadres of students as they
progressed from ninth grade to graduation. The students were selected to accurately represent the school’s
overall gender, ethnic, and performance profile. More than half of the students selected for the program
were chosen because they had no ambition or confidence regarding postsecondary education. (Dwyer,
1994) Their success at staying in school, graduating, and going on to college has already been mentioned.

                                                               Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   15
But more recently, a follow-up study of one of the cadres of 30 ACOT high school students found that five
had gone on to graduate school, several had been successful in business—two of the graduates were young
CEOs—and a number of the students had become teachers, the most commonly selected career.
When asked to factor technology into their successes, the ACOT students commonly asserted that technol-
ogy had helped them develop confidence, and added that the types of collaborative, ambitious projects in
which they had been engaged in ACOT resulted in equally viable nontechnical skills, helping them to believe
in themselves and seek higher levels of achievement. (Tierney et al., 1999)
Technology, coupled with inquiry-based collaborative learning, helps more children succeed. They find more
opportunities to discover what they are good at, to explore options, and to gain entry into jobs and colleges.
Supported by technology, students can reach their full potential.




                                                      Six simple lessons for reaching
                                                      full potential.




Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential
Erasing Assumptions, Changing Statistics

Assumptions about an individual’s potential are commonly based on ethnicity, gender, age, family, and finan-
cial background. Technology in education promises to help all students reach beyond their perceived limits,
surprise their appraisers, and uncover their individual genius.
Everyone has a role in making this vision a reality. Collectively, we must:
• Set shared and measurable achievement goals. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators need
  to agree on learning goals that explain why technology has been added to the school system.
• Align curricula. Curricula include all of the things that help children achieve—scope, sequence, and
  quality of content, time, place, materials, instructional process, and assessment. Once goals are set,
  curricula must be aligned to support them.
• Provide routine access to technology. Teachers and students require regular access to technology to
  achieve the kinds of gains outlined in this perspective.



                                                                Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   16
• Prepare teachers for effective technology use. Teachers need and deserve full support—both time and
  resources—to learn how to integrate technology effectively in their instructional processes.
• Measure and report progress. Administrators must establish a routine process for data collection and
  analysis, as well as accurate reporting of results, to ensure that progress is being made.
• Engage parents. Well-executed technology programs involve parents in the early stages of planning. This
  results in increased and positive parent engagement. Parents who are better informed are better able to
  assist their children and their children’s teachers.




Conclusion
Working together, we can make remarkable, positive differences in the
lives of young people. Differences that, in turn, improve the quality of our
communities, our nation, and our world. The way we define our schools
will ultimately define us.




                                                            Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   17
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Dwyer, D. “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow: What We’ve Learned,” Educational Leadership, Vol. 51, No. 7,
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Guinier, L., and G. Torres. The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy.
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Hecker, D. “High-Technology Employment: A Broader View,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Department of
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Hodgkinson, H. “Educational Demographics: What Teachers Should Know,” Educational Leadership,
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                                                               Achievement for All Children An Apple Perspective   18
Tierney, R., Bone, E., and J. Breske. “The Impact of Computers on the Lives of ACOT Graduates: A Follow-up
Study.” Paper Presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. Montreal,
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registered in the U.S. and other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of
their respective companies. January 2003       L25189A


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Description: Achievement for All Children