States News Roundup
A controversial proposal to teach values in public schools has been shelved, at least temporarily, by Donald G. Gill, Illinois state superintendent of education.
Mr. Gill told the policy and planning committee of the state board of education last week that the project would be given a low priority until next fall.
The superintendent attributed the delay to his agency's heavy workload8,11,10.8,11.5,11p3,,-1
Donald G. Gill, Illinois superintendent of education
and to the fact that federal budget cuts will force layoffs in the department.
He had originally planned to begin developing curriculum materials this spring with the help of volunteer school districts. The materials were to be ready in the fall, so that all the state's school systems could incorporate values education in their curricula.
"There is a great deal of public speculation that we will let this [proposal] die on the vine," Mr. Gill told the committee. "That is the furthest thing from our intent."
Some board members had been pub-licly critical of the superintendent's initiative, but Mr. Gill denied reports that private pressure from the board prompted his decision to postpone the effort.
"I received no private pressure from the board," he said in an interview. "There were a couple of board members very concerned about it. I still have a commitment to this and intend to pursue it."
School districts in West Virginia are anxious for a chance to be among the six districts where the state's newly developed "educational standards" will be tested in the coming year, according to Roy Truby, the state's superintendent of education.
The standards, developed last fall, were ordered by the 1981 legislature along with numerous other educational reforms. They cover 12 general areas: curriculum, educational-personnel development, facilities and equipment, finance, food service, instruction, organization and administration, personnel management, planning and evaluation, school and community relations, students, and transportation, according to a spokesman for the education department.
All school districts in the state are required to have the standards in place by July of 1983.
Meanwhile, during the 1982-83 school year, districts will follow a set of four interim standards. These require local school boards to adopt official policies regarding curriculum, textbooks, and other classroom matters; to assign a staff member to coordinate the adoption of the 12 full standards; to prepare a county plan for adopting the standards of "educational excellence" by July of 1983; and to plan ways of judging whether or not the standards are being applied effectively.
A husband and wife in Shell Lake, Wis., are running for the local school board on an unusual promise. They intend to close the schools.
Jeanne and John Ellis, two of nine candidates in this month's school-board primary election, said in a newspaper advertisement: "If we are elected to the school board we will do everything within our power to reduce real-estate taxes by 66 percent by closing down the Shell Lake Public Schools."
Ms. Ellis, a former teacher, said the announcement "kind of stirred up the community," inducing several other citizens to enter the school-board race. Shell Lake is a tiny district in the northwestern section of the state.
Incidentally, the Ellises have also placed an advertisement seeking more students for Faith Academy, a "private school" they now operate for their three children.