District News Roundup
Copyright 1982 The centers, known collectively as the New York City Teacher Centers Consortium, provide continuing education, advice, and materials--as well as a sympathetic environment--to the city's 55,000 public-school teachers.
The consortium lost its annual federal allocation of $868,000 last fall, when the Reagan Administration began taking steps to eliminate the Department of Education's teacher-center program, which costs $9 million per year.
The New York City Board of Education and six of the city's community school boards have agreed to pay $800,000 of the consortium's annual budget. The New York program will continue to receive $250,000 from the state department of education, as well as a $250,000 matching grant from the Carnegie Corporation for a program to help teachers better integrate handicapped students into regular classes.
New legislation enacted in Massachusetts may ease the financial strain many municipalities are facing because of Proposition 2. But it likely will not offer immediate relief for local school districts--particularly Boston's public schools, according to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.
The new measure allows local governments to adjust the ceiling on property taxes imposed by Proposition 2, if authorized to do so in a local referendum.
In Boston, where school officials last week were expected to send layoff notices to 160 more teachers in order to head off a projected deficit, Harry M. Durning, executive director of the research bureau, said the new law would "make the reductions less severe but won't provide any new money."
The measure was intended primarily to help municipalities retain police and fire personnel, Mr. Durning added.
Under Proposition 2, property-tax rates that exceed 2.5 percent of the assessed valuation must be reduced by 15 percent each year until they meet or fall below that level. The new law, according to Mr. Durning, would cut the yearly reduction rate in half, to 7.5 percent.
The Minneapolis school board, like several of its counterparts around the nation, has put an end to "social promotion," the practice of promoting students who are deemed too old to be held back, even if their achievement is poor.
But the Minneapolis plan is more rigorous than most. While many districts that have ended social promotion continue to rely heavily on teachers' judgment of students' ability, Minneapolis will begin requiring that students pass tests before moving to the next grade.
The tests will be phased in, beginning in 1983 with the first grade. Those who do not pass will be retained or given remedial help.
The new policy, while making academic achievement the primary basis for promotion, does allow for consideration of a student's "physical, psychological, and sociological needs."
The system will develop its own tests and, according to Superintendent Richard Green, may eventually require passage of a test for the high-school diploma.
A school-bus driver in Warren, R.I. has been fired from her job for allegedly soliciting the aid of junior- and senior-high school students as "enforcers" to discipline her elementary-school passengers. At least two high-school students have been suspended from school, according to a police official, for their involvement and "use of force" to maintain order on the bus.
The unidentified driver was fired from the firm that holds a transportation contract with the school district, after the parents of several elementary-school students complained that their children were physically abused and threatened on the school bus.
Sergeant Robert Pare of the Warren Police Department said the woman, who drove two shifts, customarily kept a few older students on the bus from the first shift "to quiet the kids down for her when they acted up" during the second shift.
Police and school officials are conducting separate investigations of the parents' allegations, and, according to Mr. Pare, the woman could face charges of contributing to the delinquency of minors.