City News Roundup
With talk of both immediate and long-term benefits, the Chicago public schools last week announced the start of a mathematics program for inner-city high-school students.
Called "Math Counts," the program will give 50 students from 13 high schools special training in college-level algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and math analysis over an 18-week period, according to Superintendent Ruth B. Love. "Math Counts" is a cooperative project of the Chicago Board of Education, the cna Insurance Companies, the Chicago Urban League, and the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
In the short run, the students will be in training for the annual statewide math contest sponsored by the mathematics teachers' group. The training, program officials hope, will enable the students to improve not only their own scores, but also those of interested classmates, to whom they will act as "student teachers," Ms. Love said. "Math Counts" also marks the first major effort to involve more minority students in the math contest, which is completely underwritten by cna
In the long run, its sponsors hope, the program will give the students a head start on careers in mathematics and computer technology. Edward A. Noha, chairman of the cna Insurance Companies, pointed out that math skills are necessary in at least 20 percent of the positions in the insurance industry. The company will offer a summer internship to a winner of the contest.
Federal budget cuts already have forced layoffs in nearly two-thirds of the urban school systems responding to a survey by the United States Conference of Mayors. And 79 percent of the cities responding predicted that more layoffs are on the way.
The canvass of 100 cities, conducted early last month, also found that:
Three-fourths of the school systems responding have been forced to reduce direct services to children. "Even more significant," maintains a report based on the survey, "are the areas cited as most frequently receiving the cuts--Title I programs for the disadvantaged, bilingual education, and programs for handicapped students."
Local funds are sparse to compensate for the federal cuts. Forty percent of the cities responding have increased or intend to increase local school taxes
in order to offset federal cuts.
Of all urban services included in the survey, those most often mentioned as having been cut significantly are parks and recreation and health and human services. Public libraries in many cities also have sustained cuts, most often in their operating hours.
The report, entitled The FY82 Budget and the Cities, also includes information on transportation, housing, employment, and other federal urban programs. Free copies are available from the United States Conference of Mayors, 1620 Eye St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.
A federal judge has ordered an administrative reorganization, decentralization of authority, and other organizational reforms in the Cleveland public schools, after the parties to the school-desegregation suit there failed to reach a satisfactory agreement on their own.
The order issued by U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti also prohibits the current lame-duck school board from renewing or extending the contracts of high-level administrators, including Superintendent Peter P. Carlin. Judge Battisti had previously termed Mr. Carlin's performance "dismal" and had made the superintendent's dismissal a condition for returning control of the 80,000-student system to the school board.
The judge also said he would "review the role" of Donald Waldrip, the court-appointed desegregation administrator who has been a source of friction in the school system, upon receiving a satisfactory plan for carrying out the reorganization.
Judge Battisti's order closely follows recommendations made last summer by the court-appointed Office on School Monitoring and Community Relations, which contended that the system was incapable of carrying out the judge's extensive desegregation orders because it is "dysfunctionally organized."
Negotiations between representatives of the school system, the state of Ohio, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Department of Justice produced a tentative agreement on reorganization of the system, but the school board rejected it, apparently because of the requirement that Mr. Carlin be removed from the superintendency.
A recent incident of alleged "strip searching" of 26 third graders in a Louisville, Ky., elementary school has resulted in talk of a lawsuit, temporary disciplinary action against the teachers involved, and new rules from the district's superintendent of schools regarding searches of children.
On Nov. 30, according to a spokesman in the superintendent's office, $4 was discovered missing from a third-grade classroom at Louisville's Frayser Elementary School. After a search of lockers, desks, and wastebaskets, the teacher decided to check the children's clothing.
The extent of the search varied, but the boys were asked to "loosen their pants but they did not lower them," according to the spokesman. The girls were asked individually to enter a restroom and were required to "lower their underwear," the spokesman said. "No one was fully stripped naked."
Three teachers, all female, were involved in the search. All three were temporarily reassigned to non-classroom duties. One is now teaching again; the other two are still reassigned.
In response to the incident, superintendent Donald W. Ingwerson last week outlined clear guidelines about when such a search is permissible.
Stuart Yussman, a lawyer, said that the parents he represents will sue the teachers and the school system over the incident.
That ragged, one-eyed teddy bear may be worth more than you think.
Jean Bergholz's first graders at Calvert Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., found out this fall that a favorite stuffed animal or a tiny car can be turned into enough cash to finance a small business.
The youngsters had decided to market handmade calendars decorated with their own artwork. Though the project was educationally sound, there was a hitch: they didn't have any money for materials.
So they turned to a local bank for help. "We had to bring collateral," one savvy six-year-old said. Hers was a favorite doll named Elizabeth. The bank kept the toys "in a big, big safe," she said.
The Parent-Teacher Association cosigned a note for $450, and the firm was in business. At $2 per calendar, the profits went into a savings account for field trips to the zoo, the circus, or the planetarium.
Ms. Bergholz developed the project to teach drawing, mathematics, writing, and economics. The 600 calendars, handmade by 27 students, were assembled in the public schools' central office--with thanks to the loan officer.