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Officials of predominantly black colleges, stung by overwhelming approval of new academic standards for freshman athletes, have threatened to withdraw from both the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the American Council of Education.

Under a new rule approved by the ncaa at its meeting in San Diego last week, freshmen may not take part in intercollegiate competitions unless they have at least a C average in a high-school core curriculum and a minimum score on standardized entrance examinations.

Black college officials did not object to the requirement for a minimum grade average, but they strongly criticized the standardized-test requirement.

Jesse N. Stone Jr., president of Southern University, said he might recommend that the 117 historically black colleges withdraw from both the ncaa and ace, which lobbied hard for the new standards. Another black college official called the new standard "a black and white issue."

Freshmen who do not qualify to compete on a varsity team may earn the right to play in their sophomore year by showing "satisfactory progress" toward a degree.

The new rule requires a student to have a combined score of at least 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or 15 on the American College Test. The maximum scores on the tests are 1,600 and 36, respectively.

The College Board, which administers the sat, reported that 40 percent of black students taking the exam in 1981 scored 350 or better on the verbal section, and 49 percent scored 350 or better on the mathematics section--compared with percentages of 82 and 88, respectively, for whites. The results on the act are comparable, said an official from that organization.

The new rule takes effect in 1986.


The Education Department will begin recognizing "unusually successful" secondary schools throughout the nation this fall, Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell announced earlier this month.

Chief state school officers will be asked in March to submit nominations of junior high schools and high schools for a national awards pro-gram sponsored by the department, the Secretary said.

"We are not setting out to find the best schools in America," Mr. Bell said. "We are simply looking for distinguished schools that are doing an exceptionally fine job."

In another recent announcement, the Secretary advocated the creation of "master teachers" programs in schools, which he described as a way to "provide an opportunity for the most outstanding teachers to earn a new distinction beyond the level of the regular teaching ranks."

Paying higher salaries to master teachers would enable schools to attract highly talented and motivated people to the field, Mr. Bell said.


Supported by a $1.67-million grant from the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, the American Association for the Advancement of Science will this month begin a project designed to improve the quality of science education nationwide.

The association is launching the program, Science Resources for Schools, in response to a need to "improve the typical student's classroom science-education experience," according to an announcement published in the Jan. 14 issue of Science, the association's monthly magazine. It will be aimed at junior high schools, where students "begin to form lasting perceptions about their own capabilities and interests. A sound background in science and mathematics is seen as essential for all students," according to the announcement. The program will provide schools with science resources--information, ideas, and encouragement--to help them "upgrade their science-education capabilities."

F. James Rutherford, aaas's chief education officer, will direct the program. During its first year of operation, it will be tested in three states.


The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal district court to allow it to enter a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law preventing men who fail to register for the draft from receiving federal financial aid to attend college.

The aclu, in papers filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on Jan. 10, officially asked to intervene in the suit, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group v. Selective Service System.

The nonprofit civil-liberties organization contends that the law, which goes into effect next July, discriminates on the basis of age, sex, and personal wealth.


The Education Department will begin recognizing "unusually successful" secondary schools throughout the nation this fall, Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell announced earlier this month.

Chief state school officers will be asked in March to submit nominations of junior high schools and high schools for a national awards pro-gram sponsored by the department, the Secretary said.

"We are not setting out to find the best schools in America," Mr. Bell said. "We are simply looking for distinguished schools that are doing an exceptionally fine job."

In another recent announcement, the Secretary advocated the creation of "master teachers" programs in schools, which he described as a way to "provide an opportunity for the most outstanding teachers to earn a new distinction beyond the level of the regular teaching ranks."

Paying higher salaries to master teachers would enable schools to attract highly talented and motivated people to the field, Mr. Bell said.


Officials of predominantly black colleges, stung by overwhelming approval of new academic standards for freshman athletes, have threatened to withdraw from both the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the American Council of Education.

Under a new rule approved by the ncaa at its meeting in San Diego last week, freshmen may not take part in intercollegiate competitions unless they have at least a C average in a high-school core curriculum and a minimum score on standardized entrance examinations.

Black college officials did not object to the requirement for a minimum grade average, but they strongly criticized the standardized-test requirement.

Jesse N. Stone Jr., president of Southern University, said he might recommend that the 117 historically black colleges withdraw from both the ncaa and ace, which lobbied hard for the new standards. Another black college official called the new standard "a black and white issue."

Freshmen who do not qualify to compete on a varsity team may earn the right to play in their sophomore year by showing "satisfactory progress" toward a degree.

The new rule requires a student to have a combined score of at least 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or 15 on the American College Test. The maximum scores on the tests are 1,600 and 36, respectively.

The College Board, which administers the sat, reported that 40 percent of black students taking the exam in 1981 scored 350 or better on the verbal section, and 49 percent scored 350 or better on the mathematics section--compared with percentages of 82 and 88, respectively, for whites. The results on the act are comparable, said an official from that organization.

The new rule takes effect in 1986.


The Reagan Adminstration has told the U.S. Supreme Court that the use of actuarial tables to provide female retirees with lower monthly pension benefits than their male counterparts violates federal civil-rights statutes.

The government took that position in a brief filed with the Court on Jan. 11 in a lawsuit involving the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund.

According to the National Association of Independent Schools, approximately 80 to 90 percent of its member schools on the East coast use retirement-annuity plans offered by tiaa-cref In addition, approximately 85 percent of all private colleges and 45 percent of all public colleges use pension plans offered by the firm.

Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, in the government's brief, said that "the use of sex-segregated actuarial tables to calculate employees' retirement benefits is unlawful" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment.

"Whether a woman contributes a greater amount of her compensation than a man for an equal benefit or contributes an equal amount for a lesser benefit, the use of sex-based actuarial tables in calculating periodic benefits results in the same discrimination," he said.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has vacated a district-court ruling that would have allowed a deaf student to remain in a private school for the deaf, and ordered the case returned to the lower court for a new hearing in view of the Supreme Court's decision on special education.

The three-judge panel ruled that the case, Grkman v. Scanlon must be reheard because the district-court judge "did not have the benefit of the Supreme Court's decision" last summer in Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, according to Ernest N. Helling, assistant counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

In that landmark decision, the Court held that a New York school district was not required to provide a sign-language interpreter for a deaf student. But it also affirmed most aspects of P.L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

In the Grkman case, according to Mr. Hellings, the parents of a deaf student filed suit when the school district decided to remove her from a private school for the deaf and place her in the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, a state-run school for the handicapped. Mr. Hellings said that lower court ruled in favor of the parents, adopting a new standard giving consideration to the "best interest of the child."


States News Roundup

Acting on a recommendation of Gov. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Board of Education has approved a computer-literacy plan that would require 15 hours of instruction each year for students in the 7th and 8th grades.

The program, called "Computer Skills Next," was developed by a 16-member committee appointed by the board.

It established the committee last summer, after the Governor asked members to consider a computer-literacy program for junior-high-school students.

Part of the committee's task was to work out a definition of computer literacy. "We've tried to define computer literacy as understanding the history and development of computers, their basic function and operation, and being able to understand simple programs," said Robert L. McElrath, state commissioner of education.

The committee recommended that the state begin phasing in the program in 1983, and make it mandatory by the 1985-86 school year.

Training personnel to instruct the students would be a major component of the plan. The committee suggested 60 experts be trained to teach 700 local computer-resource specialists who would work with students. The group also recommended providing all 4,300 7th- and 8th-grade teachers in the state with two days of computer-literacy training.

The committee estimated that about 4,430 microcomputers would be needed to put the plan into effect. It must first be funded by the state general assembly.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last month in favor of two school psychologists (and the school board that employed them) named in an ''education malpractice" suit by the parents of a handicapped student who said their child was improperly placed in classes for the mentally retarded.

In a 4-to-3 decision, the court said the Montgomery County school dis-trict cannot be sued unless the action against the student was taken maliciously.

The court said that unless there is clearly malicious intent, school districts should be immune from "education malpractice" suits.

The student, known only as John Doe, was diagnosed in 1967 by the school district as "retarded or borderline intellectual level functioning."

A year later, a private physician diagnosed his condition as dyslexia, a neurological disorder, not related to intelligence, that impairs a person's ability to read.

The student graduated from high school in 1979, reading at a third-grade level.

In the dissenting opinion, the minority said the case involved medical--not educational--malpractice, "a cause of action that has long been cognizable in Maryland courts."

John Domingus, attorney for the "Doe" parents, said the parents intend to appeal the decision of the Maryland court to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Cities News Roundup

More than one-third of the students in New York City's public high schools are chronically absent, and another 13 percent of the students are absent often enough to require teachers to make extraordinary efforts in order to follow a coherent lesson plan, according to the board of education.

The survey on absenteeism, conducted at the request of The New York Times, also revealed that more than half of the failing grades in high school last spring were given because of school rules that required students to attend a minimum number of hours before they could receive a passing grade.

Schools with programs in career subjects, such as business and communications, have better attendance than others, the data show.

Efforts to improve attendance with attendance goals and plans in each high school (by making vocational-education programs more flexible, evaluating principals' attendance efforts, and increasing extracurricular activities) so far have not yielded any noticeable effects, a board spokesman said.

Board officials said they consider students "chronically absent" when they miss 15 days per 90-day semester.

The national average rate of attendance is about 94 percent from kindergarten through the 12th grade, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. New York City's average is 79.9 percent, lower than most other large cities in the state, according to the New York State Department of Education.


About 40 Massachussetts students were forced to walk to school or find carpools for three days as punishment for failing to tattle on students who had been smoking marijuana on a bus ride to school last month.

A bus driver for Higgens Junior High School in Peabody drove the bus to the police station on instructions from her dispatcher after she complained of becoming ill because of the marijuana smoke.

The students' bus privileges were revoked for three days when they refused to tell police who had been smoking marijuana.

Police did not search the students because they did not have warrants, but they found several marijuana cigarettes and two hashish pipes in the bus.

Robert Ireland, superintendent of the Peabody Public School System, said many parents had complained about the punishment because "they said it was unfair to penalize all the students for the indiscretions of a few."

But he also received "about 50" calls from people congratulating him for taking the action.


The enrollment increase recorded this fall in the Los Angeles Unified School District is due to a steady increase in the number of Hispanic students.

This year there are about 14,000 more Hispanic students in the system than last year, officials say. These students now represent 49 percent of the district's enrollment.

For a decade there has been a trend toward a majority Hispanic enrollment in the district, and next year Hispanic students are expected to be the majority student group.

Total student enrollment in the district was about 550,000 this year, a slight increase over last year.


The Dallas school board and those of 14 surrounding suburban communities have taken the unprecedented step of joining forces to further their interests on school-finance issues before the Texas legislature.

"We're going to work together to push for some consideration in the school-funding formula of the burdens we face in running schools in densely populated areas--such as having a high number of special-ed students," said Robby V. Collins, a deputy associate superintendent in the Dallas system.

Such additional costs to urban school systems are often termed "municipal overburden."

"In the past, we were semi-adversaries with the suburban districts on finance issues," Mr. Collins said "But now their enrollments are leveling off after going through a period of tremendous growth and we are facing the same kind of problems.

"Hopefully," he said, "we will be able to expand our coalition to include the 56 school systems in the four largest counties in the state. Although there are 1,072 school systems in the state, these 56 have 60 percent of the kids. That's why our interests are not always served by the state school-boards association, which operates on the one-system, one-vote principle."


A New Jersey music teacher was shot and killed last week on a sidewalk 15 feet from the school in which she taught, where adult-education classes and a volleyball game were taking place.

Mary Christine Thick, 33, was attacked and shot last week as she dropped off lesson plans for a substitute teacher at Franklin Township High School.

Police said they suspected that Michael Ramble, a former student at the school, was responsible for the murder.

The 18-year-old died after shooting himself in the head as detectives entered the home of his parents to investigate the murder.

The victim's purse was found empty near a roadside hedge two blocks from the school.

Ms. Thick joined the faculty in Franklin Township four years ago.

The school's 1,800 students were sent home and classes were cancelled on Tuesday. The building's flag was flown at half-mast in mourning.


News Update

Federal District Judge William R. Overton has awarded $294,045.50 in legal fees and $55,627.61 in expenses to the American Civil Liberties Union for the lawsuit that struck down Arkansas' law requiring balanced treatment for "creation science" and evolution in the state's public schools.

The aclu sought $1.4 million in fees and expenses. The ruling came exactly one year after Judge Overton declared the law unconstitutional.

"Frankly," the judge wrote, "the court is stunned by the amount of time spent in preparation of this case."


The Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and Legal Services of Greater Miami, both counsel in Florida's literacy-test case (see Education Week, Sept. 28, 1981), have filed claims against the state for $580,000 in legal fees.

The state, however, contends that because both agencies were federally funded, they have already been paid for their services, according to a spokesman for the Florida Department of Education.

The case, Debra P. v. Turlington, was a class-action suit filed in 1978 on behalf of 10 black students. It involved the question of whether the state-mandated high-school "exit" test is discriminatory. The U.S. District Court in Tampa held that the test itself was not biased, but ruled that the test would "punish" students who had been educated in earlier years in a segregated system. The judge also ruled that the state had to delay using the test until 1983.

A federal appellate court subsequently upheld that ruling and remanded the issue to the district court. Hearings on the test will be held later this month or early next month.


People News

Four teachers, all honored as teachers of the year in their states, have been named finalists in the 1983 National Teacher of the Year Program.

They are: LeRoy E. Hay, a teacher of English at Manchester High School, Manchester, Conn.; Harriet Donofrio, a biology teacher at Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes, Del.; M. Gene Ulrich, a science teacher from North High School, Sioux City, Iowa; and Nancy O'Donnell, a third-grade teacher at Perry Elementary School, Perry, Okla.

The contest is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Encyclopaedia Britannica Companies, and Good Housekeeping Magazine. The finalist will be named early this year and honored at a White House ceremony in April.


Michigan School Superintendent Phillip Runkel was sentenced to a year's probation last week following his conviction on charges of driving while intoxicated. Mr. Runkel pleaded guilty to the charge. He was also fined $200 in court costs and ordered by Lansing District Judge James Wood to participate in an alcohol-safety program.

Mr. Runkel, 54, was arrested last Nov. 8 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after his state-owned car was pulled over by the Lansing police for speeding.

He had been returning home from dinner in a downtown restaurant and spent seven hours in the city jail before being released on a $100 personal-recognizance bond.

The charge was later reduced to "driving while impaired."

Mr. Runkel, who became Michigan superintendent in 1980, is in the first year of a three-year contract.

State officials said the conviction will probably not reduce the strong support he received from the State Board of Education.

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