State News Roundup
A compromise version of a bill that would regulate home education in Virginia will be re-introduced in the state Senate when it reconvenes in January, according to one of the bill's sponsors.
Delegate Thomas Forehand predicted that many people who opposed a similar bill that was narroweated in the legislature last year will "write this version off as just more government intrusion."
"Actually," Mr. Forehand said, "this bill represents a lessening of government intrusion" and will give more parents in the state the option of teaching their children at home.
State education officials say they fear that a large number of parents with inadequate educational backgrounds have removed their children from schools and are teaching them at home. Virginia's compulsory-education law orders parents to send their children between the ages of five and 17 to public or private schools or to have them instructed by a state-approved tutor.
The law, however, fails to define what a "school" is. According to Mr. Forehand, many parents have side-stepped the compulsory-education law by declaring their home-education programs to be schools.
Mr. Forehand said the new bill will allow parents holding baccalaureate degrees to teach their children at home, provided that they submit their child's educational program to annual review by the local school superintendent.
A Bernardsville, N.J., woman recently won the right to be inducted into her local high school's chapter of the National Honor Society (nhs) almost one and a half years after her graduation.
Early this month the New Jersey Board of Education voted 5 to 5 on a motion to overturn Education Commissioner Fred G. Burke's order that the nhs selection committee at Bernards High School induct Ann Armstrong into the organization. The split vote preserved Mr. Burke's decision, according to Al Wicklund, a spokesman for the education department.
The Bernardsville school board, however, has informed the honor society that it plans to appeal the ruling in the state courts, according to Rocco Morrano, a spokesman for the nhs
The controversy began in April 1980 when Ms. Armstrong's parents filed a lawsuit in Somerset County Superior Court. The parents sought an order forcing the high school's selection committee to reveal why it refused to induct Ms. Armstrong--who earned virtually all A's--into the honor society.
An administrative law judge who had been assigned to the case granted that order, according to Mr. Wicklund, and subsequently ruled that the reasons given were unreasonably nebulous. The judge then ordered Ms. Armstrong's induction.
The local school board appealed the decision to Mr. Burke, who upheld the ruling.
Citing a need to increase students' involvement in their schooling, thennecticut State Department of Education has established a State Student Advisory Council on Education.
The Advisory Council is composed of 27 high-school students who will meet several times a year with Commissioner of Education Mark R. Shedd and his staff to discuss such issues as student governance, students' rights, and curriculum reform.
Commissioner Shedd said he hoped that the creation of the council would allow him to communicate more effectively with students around Connecticut than has been the case in the past.
Nineteen representatives to the council will be selected from the state's six Congressional districts, while Mr. Shedd will make eight appointments to insure, he says, "appropriate representation of races, range of academic abilities, handicaps, public and private affiliation, and involvement with statewide student organizations."