States News Roundup
Stressing the need to keep up with California's "technological revolution," Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. promised school board members that he will "set aside specific funds to upgrade science, math, and ... vocational education."
Speaking on Dec. 10 at a luncheon given by the California School Boards Association, Governor Brown said, "Education must train millions in the new careers of the 1980's, as new technologies of microprocessors, robotics, satellite communications, and biotechnology sweep across our economy."
"The most basic education shift demanded by this ... revolution" he predicted, "is for more math, science, and computer instruction in our schools."
The governor pointed out that California, which has the largest state system of public schools in the country, lags behind the nation in the amount of math and science students take. He cited College Board reports that 10 percent fewer California students study four years of math than the national average. "We lag by 50 percent in the number of students taking three or more years of science," he added.
To help solve the problem, Governor Brown said, "We need to support efforts by the university system to increase the amount of math and science study necessary for admission."
The U.S. District Court for Rhode Island has been asked to settle a dispute between the Exeter-West Greenwich School Committee and the state department of education over the payment of tuition at private schools.
Because the Exeter-West Greenwich district does not have a high school, it pays to send its students to nearby North Kingston or to Coventry Vocational Technical School. Under a policy adopted in 1976, the school committee also pays the tuition, up to the amount charged by the two neighboring schools, for district students to attend other public high schools, but it refuses to pay for private schooling.
In October, the state ordered the committee to pay the tuition of a West Greenwich boy whose father sought to enroll him in a parochial school.
The committee has appealed that ruling to the state Board of Regents for secondary education and filed suit in federal court.
In its suit, the school committee charges the department of education with violating the U.S. Constitution's provision for separation of church and state, as well as the Rhode Island constitution's prohibition on spending public money for a private education.
The Virginia State Board of Education has rejected a proposal to scrap the state's practice of issuing a permanent teaching license to any education-school graduate who wants to teach.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction S. John Davis had urged the board to begin granting new teachers temporary, two-year licenses. The superintendent's plan would have required the provisional teachers to pass an evaluation by a three-person panel as a condition for receiving permanent certification.
Mr. Davis has argued that his proposal, which was opposed by the Virginia Education Association and the state's teacher-training schools, would have improved the caliber of teachers in the state.
The proposal was endorsed by the state Council of Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board, but the state board of education defeated it by a 5-4 vote.
The Virginia General Assembly, where several lawmakers have expressed support for tougher licensing requirements, has the authority to amend the board's recommendations.