States News Roundup
Washington State education officials, mindful of their state's reliance on foreign trade with Asian nations, hope to introduce courses in the Japanese and Chinese languages in high schools as early as next year.
Keith D. Crosbie, the department of education's coordinator of bilingual education and foreign languages, said the plan "is an attempt to crystallize some of the discussions that have been going on about global and international education."
A state legislator, Mr. Crosbie explained, returned recently from a trip to the Orient "and wondered what our schools were doing to assist our state's relationships with Far Eastern countries."
When the legislature convenes in January, the state education agency will ask for "a limited amount of funds" for pilot projects in four high schools, Mr. Crosbie said. "We also plan to shift our social-studies curriculum somewhat to look at the whole Pacific Rim and to provide inservice training for the whole staff."
The six-year pilot project, he estimated, would cost about $500,000.
Foreign languages--primarily European languages--are now available in all Washington high schools, but students are not required to take them. Mr. Crosbie believes that school districts and students will be receptive to the new effort.
"Students as well as their parents are more interested in what's happening in the whole world than they were five years ago," he said.
Donald Hill, president of the Minnesota Education Association since 1975, has been denied a chance to seek a fifth two-year term.
The state association's bylaws have been amended before to permit longer terms for officers. But an attempt late last month to change the bylaws again fell 48 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed.
In a break with the association's longstanding tradition of open meetings, Mr. Hill barred reporters from the meeting of 600 delegates from around the state.
Mr. Hill, who has been credited with transforming the mea into a more militant organization--the state had 35 teachers' strikes last year--will leave office next summer, according to a spokesman for the group.
The delegates meeting last month also voted to press for legislation that would put all the state's public-school teachers into one statewide bargaining unit.
The measure, which would eliminate disparities in locally negotiated salaries, is considered unlikely to succeed in next year's legislative session.
More than 12,000 teachers and their supporters rallied at New Jersey's State House late last month to protest decisions of the state Supreme Court that have, in recent years, limited public employees' collective-bargaining rights.
The rally, which was sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association, was also held in part to protest reduced state aid to education and the jailing last month of more than 500 Teaneck teachers, who defied a court order to end their strike.
But it also kicked off a year-long campaign by union officials to raise about $500,000. Union members have been asked to contribute to the political-action fund through automatic payroll deductions, according to Robert Broderick, an njea spokesman.
Money raised in the effort will be used to lobby for legislative reform of present collective-bargaining laws and to support next year's legislative candidates who are sympathetic to the union's causes, Mr. Broderick said.