National News Roundup
Fourteen states and three federal officials have been singled out by a Washington advocacy group for their "spectacularly sluggish" efforts to achieve equal education for boys and girls.
The Project on Equal Education Rights (peer) last week gave its "Silver Snail Awards" to states with the lowest proportions of girls participating in interscholastic sports and traditionally male vocational-education programs, and states with the smallest percentages of women principals and assistant principals.
At the same time, the organization--a project of the now Legal Defense and Education Fund--charged Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell; Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah; and Senator Roger Jepsen, Republican of Iowa, with "impeding the progress of educational equity." Although the awards have been given to states and institutions in the past, the officials are the first individual recipients, according to a spokesman for peer.
The group criticized Secretary Bell for his proposal last summer to eliminate school employees from coverage by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally assisted education programs, and for what it termed insufficient enforcement of the law by the Department of Education.
Senators Hatch and Jepsen were also cited for sponsoring attempts in the Senate to curtail Title IX, which Senator Hatch proposes to amend. The Family Protection Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Jepsen, would, among other provisions, allow segregation by sex in school programs and bar the use of federal funds to buy school books that "do not contribute to the American way of life as it has been historically understood."
In making its state awards, peer asserted that if women continue to move into school administration at the present rate, they will not achieve parity until the year 2012.
The awards were mailed to governors and chief state school officers. The five states ranking lowest in each category are:
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia in athletics.
Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah in the category of women in school administration.
Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, and South Dakota in vocational education.
At the same time it announced the awards, peer released a 50-state ranking by the three measures, based on statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Federation on State High School Associations. (See databank, Page 11.)
President Reagan recently illustrated what he sees as abuses in the federal school-lunch program with an example of an unnamed school district in New York in which students were receiving free lunches, even though the average annual income for families in the district was over $75,000.
Well, it turns out there's a catch.
The 2,000 residents of the mystery district--the Pocantico Hills School District just north of New York City-- do have an average annual income of $88,689.
But, according to Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester County official who found that the unnamed school district is one that he represents, the district's income figures are extremely misleading because the multimillionaire Rockefeller family lives in Pocantico Hills.
In fact, according to Mr. Brodsky, the incomes of the families of the 21 Pocantico children who get free lunches fall within federal guidelines of $10,990 or less for a family of four, and the families of the three children who get reduced-cost lunches meet guidelines of $15,630 or less.
The average annual income of all of Westchester County is $26,004.
Mr. Brodsky, in a letter to the President, wrote: "It seems to be simply unfair to ask public officials and the American public to draw conclusions about a program so broad in its impact based on this one small and misleading example."
The average tuition bill at one of the nation's major public four-year universities increased by almost 15 percent in the last year, outpacing the national rate of inflation by approximately 4 percent, according to a study that was released jointly by two higher-education associations last week.
The Annual Survey of Student Fees 1981-1982, conducted this year by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, indicated that the average total of all student fees at the organizations' member-institutions increased from $712 in 1980-81 to $818 in 1981-82.
Approximately 75 percent of the institutions responding to the survey cited inflation as the main reason for the fee increases. Almost half of the respondents (42 percent) indicated that inadequate state support also contributed to the increase.
Universities in Western states reported the highest increase in tuition and fees for state residents (18.7 percent), according to the report. Last year schools in those states reported the lowest percentage increase, 8 percent. Schools in the East continued a long-standing trend of charging the highest average tuition and fees for both residents ($1,106) and nonresidents ($2,402).
Copies of the report can be obtained from: The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Suite 700, One Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036; or from the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, Suite 710, One Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036.