State News Roundup
The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that public-school teachers who resign but are later rehired by the same school system retain their tenure rights.
In unanimously reversing a lower state-court ruling, the appellate court found that Joseph Arneson had been denied his due-process rights as a tenured teacher when Unified School District 236 in Lebanon, Kan., did not renew his contract for the 1981-82 school year.
Mr. Arneson had worked for the school system for eight years before resigning in 1978 to teach in another district. After a year, he returned to Lebanon. His contract was renewed for the following school year, but not for 1981-82.
Mr. Arneson, who has asked to be reinstated with back pay, claimed that he should have been credited with his previous years' service in the Lebanon district. As a result, he claimed, he was denied due process when the school system failed to give him a reason for his dismissal, as it is required to do when it lays off tenured teachers.
The district contended that, by their rules, he was only a second-year teacher, and that as a result, they were not required to give Mr. Arneson a reason for his dismissal.
The lower state court had ruled that when teachers resign, they lose their tenure rights.
Commissioner of Education Raymon Bynum has decided that, contrary to a recommendation from state education department staff members, publishers will not be required to delete all references to venereal diseases from five health textbooks that are being considered for adoption in Texas.
His decision came after considerable criticism from state health officials and others, and much public misapprehension of why the recommendation had been made, according to state education officials.
The intent of the recommendation was not to prohibit Texas schools from teaching about sexually transmitted diseases, but rather to allow school districts to decide for themselves how and when to do it, according to Tom Anderson, deputy superintendent for planning, research, and curriculum. At the junior-high school level, Mr. Anderson pointed out, health is an elective, not a required course anyway.
"The primary consideration had been whether the information in the proposed 7th- and 8th-grade texts was the best way to handle the subject," Mr. Bynum said in a statement issued Oct. 29.
The staff members who issued the recommendation, Mr. Anderson said, were concerned that the textbooks' content would become outdated. "Those books will be in the schools for up to eight years," he said. "The information is changing rapidly in those areas."
California and New York students taking the National Teacher Examination or the Graduate Record Examination are now able to register for the tests through Ticketron, the nationwide computerized organization that sells tickets for rock concerts and sporting events.
Ticketron is providing the service under a two-year arrangement with the Educational Testing Service, which designs and administers both examinations. The experiment is intended to improve services to test-takers, according to Edward J. Masonis, who is in charge of the project for ets
Students in the two states now have three ways of registering for the examinations. They can pay cash at any Ticketron outlet for an admissions ticket to the test site of their choice.
Or they can use Ticketron's Teletron system by calling its toll-free telephone number and ordering their admissions ticket over the phone.
The cost of the ticket, which is sent by mail to the caller, must be billed to a credit card.
Applicants may also use the traditional method of registering for a test by mail.
Applications by mail must be received by ets one month before the test is given. But a test-admissions ticket bought through Ticketron can be purchased the day before the test is given.
In October, the first time the new system was used, almost 50 percent of the nte registrants in California and New York used one of the Ticketron options, Mr. Masonis said. For the gre, the figure was 37 percent.
"A lot more people used it than we had expected," he said.
Mr. Masonis said that ets "will evaluate the experiment when it is completed at the end of two years, and if the results are encouraging, it will probably be expanded."
The higher-education committee of the New Jersey Assembly has passed a truth-in-testing law that would allow students who had taken the tests to see questions, their answer sheets, and correct answers for most standardized tests given in the state at both the precollege and college levels.
Although 30 states have considered truth-in-testing legislation during the past four years, only California and New York now have such laws.
The New Jersey bill would also require the producers of tests to give parents or guardians of elementary- and secondary-school students such information as the purposes of tests, the subject matter to be included in them, how test scores will be reported, and a description of the tests' accuracy and how they are scored.
The legislation would give test makers two disclosure options. They could send test information to students within 60 days of a request, or they could allow students to inspect test questions, correct answers, and their answer sheets "at a reasonable time" at a location within 10 miles of where the test was originally administered.
The bill excludes from some disclosure provisions any test given to fewer than 5,000 students and tests that are administered on an individual basis.
The College Board, the sponsor of the widely used Scholastic Aptitude Test, is "clearly opposed to the bill," according the Darryl G. Greer, the board's associate director for government relations. "It would force us to cut back on the number of times we offer the sat in the state, it may cost students more to take the test, and we would have to eliminate the majority of the achievement tests we now offer in New Jersey," he said.