City News Roundup
The Pittsburgh school board has approved a five-year, $1.3-million plan to put microcomputers in every elementary and secondary school and to require study in "computer literacy" for graduation.
By the time the plan is in place, district officials said, the schools will have at least one computer for every 40 students. The computers will be used for computer-assisted instruction as well as for a required high-school course in programming and for familiarizing students with the technology.
Staff members will be offered training on a voluntary basis, said James F. Angevine, director of management information and planning. He said the district will collaborate with local universities and vendors in that effort.
The district will decide what computer programs, or "software," it will use before investing in any microcomputers, Mr. Angevine said. "We're trying to get away from the typical practice of buying hardware then trying to fit it into the system," he said.
Mr. Angevine said the district would buy only one or two brands of hardware to reduce the cost of the initial purchase and maintenance and to allow software to be used across the system.
A special school-system committee, which has been studying the issue for almost two years, will direct the implementation of the computer initiative in the 42,250-student district, Mr. Angevine said.
About 55 percent of the program will be funded with district funds, a spokesman for the district said. The rest will be financed with funds from Chapter 2 of the federal Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 and from various private-funding sources.
In the midst of a growing debate over who should lead New York City's schools, Frank J. Macchiarola, the former chancellor, has endorsed Deputy Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. as his successor.
Black and Hispanic leaders have asked Mr. Wagner, who has been nominated to run the school system by Mayor Edward I. Koch, to withdraw from consideration, however, saying that he has little education experience and that the system should be led by a minority member.
In a caucus last month, minority leaders endorsed Thomas K. Minter, the deputy chancellor for instruction, for the position, which includes the administration of a $3-billion annual budget.
Mr. Minter, a black and a former official in the U.S. Education Department during the Carter Administration, declined comment on Mr. Macchiarola's action.
Richard F. Halverson has been acting chancellor since Mr. Macchiarola resigned March 1.