Federal News Roundup
A House education subcommittee gave its approval last week to a bill that would provide school districts with up to $117.9 million in school-desegregation aid next year.
The bill, HR 2207, seeks the reauthorization of the Emergency School Aid Act, which was folded into the education block-grants program by the Congress in 1981. An identical bill has been introduced in the Senate by Daniel P. Moynihan, Democrat of New York, but no hearings had been scheduled on the measure as of last week.
The House bill, sponsored by Representative Dale E. Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, now moves to the chamber's Committee on Education and Labor.
States News Roundup
In response to the criticism of public education made by the National Commission on Excellence in Education in its recently released report, Wyoming will establish a blue-ribbon panel of its own to assess the quality and goals of education in its schools.
Lynn Simons, Wyoming superintendent of public instruction, last week said she will appoint a panel of educators, bankers, businessmen, and high-school students to assess what the state expects of education in the future, what schools are doing, and what schools want to accomplish.
The Wyoming blue-ribbon panel will also look at some areas that the national commission may have overlooked, according to Audrey M. Cotherman, deputy superintendent of public instruction.
These will include the role and status of extra-curricular activities, health and physical education, and vocational education.
The state commission will hold its first meeting in June. Ms. Cotherman expects the group's first report to be released to the state board of education by Oct. 1984, with recommendations to be presented to the state legislature sometime in the summer of 1985.
Students who are interested in going to college should have four years of preparation in English, three in mathematics, science, and social studies, and two in a foreign language, according to the recommendations of a 16-member council in Wisconsin.
The Joint Council on College Preparation was appointed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Herbert J. Grover and Robert M. O'Neil, president of the University of Wisconsin, to determine what academic preparation is needed to ensure that students will be successful in college.
The report states that additional skills "which make college studies easier and enjoyable are the use of a computer language, basic typing skill, and some experience with the visual and performing arts."
The council's report, Preparation for College, notes that "the surest and most systematic way to acquire the competencies needed for success in college is to take a sound course of academic studies in high school."
The report will be sent to guidance counselors, parents, and students throughout the state. Parents of all eighth-grade pupils will receive a press release listing the council's recommendations as well as a letter signed by Mr. Grover and Mr. O'Neil stressing the importance of strong academic preparation.
Salaries should be raised for all public-school teachers and special financial aid offered to lure some into academic areas where there are shortages, the staff of the Illinois State Board of Education has recommended.
The staff study of teacher preparation and performance, now under review by the board's policy and planning committee, says little is being done in Illinois "to attract academically able students, particularly minority students, into [teacher] preparation programs." And it contends that teacher-training institutions have not "demanded excellence in both the academic and practical performance of candidates through establishing rigorous requirements for admission to and retention in preparation programs."
The study says that the assistance of school boards and school-administrators' organizations should be sought in recruiting minority teachers and minority and female administrators. A statewide committee should examine problems associated with supervising extra-curricular activity and make recommendations to the board, the study suggests.
It also urges toughening standards in teacher-education programs by 1985. And the staff suggests stricter evaluation techniques for teachers and a series of proposals to upgrade staff development, inservice training, and certification requirements.
The report also recommends legislation to entice business and industry to help support instructional and professional-development efforts.
Principals or their designated representatives will again be able to paddle students in West Virginia under a law recently signed by Gov. John D. Rockefeller IV.
The new law, which goes into effect next fall, will allow school officials to spank a student on the buttocks with a hand or a paddle. It calls for paddling to be used only as last resort and must be administered "without anger, malice, or a wanton use of force."
In addition, the severity of the spanking must be "suitable to a pupil's age and mental and physical conditions and [must be] applied without discrimination."
Also, parents must be notified of an intended spanking at least 12 hours before it takes place; the punishment must be conducted in the presence of another school official; a report documenting the incident must be placed in the school's files within 24 hours of the punishment; and parents must be notified of the incident within three days. In all, there are some 15 rules and exceptions to the punishment procedure.
Corporal punishment was prohibited in West Virginia schools this school year after the state's Supreme Court last June ruled the punishment unconstitutional because the state lacked a law providing for it.
The New York State Department of Education has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Albany Jewish Federation to develop educational programs about the Holocaust.
Commissioner Gordon M. Ambach, in announcing the grant recently, said an increased emphasis on the study of the Holocaust was "appropriate" because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nazi rise to power in Germany.
The federation this year will devise a plan for the education of teachers and students, create a bibliography of audio-visual materials and books, develop a proposal for a permanent museum display, and develop the theme for a traveling exhibit on the Holocaust.
The department is now conducting field tests of a teachers' guide on the period.
A new high-technology highschool program for students from the 15 school districts in San Antonio, Tex., will begin next fall.
Gov. Mark White and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros have announced that the program will accept 150 selected students and will offer courses not usually available in the districts' regular high schools. Among the special courses will be electronics, technical writing and research, and advanced physics. The program will be housed in classrooms at a local community college, and the state will pay the initial $409,000 bill for the project.
A local school official said Mayor Cisneros had been promoting the project for more than a year.
District News Roundup
Barry L. Steim, superintendent of the 6,800-student Coeur d'Alene school system in northwestern Idaho, has been criticized in that community recently for attending law school and teaching college courses in addition to carrying out the responsibilities of his $42,500 job as superintendent of schools.
Some are particularly displeased that he mentioned his own willingness to forego a pay raise for this school year in a successful effort to persuade teachers to moderate their salary demands, since it was revealed that the local school board has for the past two years, in lieu of a salary increase, given him an expense account for his law-school tuition and a car to travel to law school in.
Mr. Steim turned down a $4,250 raise for the 1981-82 school year, but the Coeur d'Alene school board gave him the same amount to pay for his expenses at Gonzaga University Law School in Spokane, Wash. Mr. Steim also turned down a scheduled 10-percent pay raise this year, but accepted a $6,000 expense account for law-school fees.
Mr. Steim said he "does not feel bad about [accepting the expense account] at all." "I chose to take a raise in benefits instead of salary, it's done all the time," he said. "I took a 3-percent raise [the $1,750 increase in his expense account from the last school year to this school year, as a percent of his $42,500 salary] when I was entitled to 10 [percent]."
Mr. Steim said that he spends about 40 hours a week on his law-school and college-teaching commitments but that the schedule hasn't affected his ability to complete his responsibilities as superintendent. "It's a matter of age, motivation, and desire," he said. "I've been putting in 80-hour weeks."
Robert West focused community attention on Mr. Steim's expense account and the time he spends on his law-school activities during a recent school board meeting. Mr. West is a former member of the Coeur d'Alene school board.
The American Federation of Teachers has unseated the National Education Association as the collective-bargaining agent in the Broward County (Fla.) school system, the 10th largest in the nation.
According to figures from the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission released last week, the Broward Teachers Union, an aft affiliate, defeated the nea-affiliated Broward Classroom Teachers Association by a vote of 3,386 to 2,886.
The aft local had been unsuccessful in three other attempts since 1975 to win the right to represent the district's 7,000 teachers. Broward County has 130,000 students.
Last week in Chicago, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops completed its "pastoral letter" on nuclear weapons and war.
The letter--"The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response''--is expected to become an important topic of discussion in Catholic schools' "peace education" curricula.
The final letter is more strongly worded than the version released during the April meeting of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington.
It condemns any first use of nuclear weapons, and calls for "immediate, bilateral, verifiable" agreements to halt the testing, production, and deployment of new nuclear weapons.
A 10-year-old girl from Maine, who attracted national attention last month when she received a personal letter from the Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov, now finds herself in the middle of a propaganda war.
Soviet television news programs and newspapers have given the story of Samantha Smith, a 5th-grader in Manchester, Me., regular coverage ever since she wrote Mr. Andropov seeking assurances that the Soviet Union would try to prevent a nuclear war.
Reuters reports that the Moscow television news last week said that Samantha's letter indicated that she had been brainwashed by an anti-Soviet campaign in the U.S and that she suffered, like many U.S. adults, from "nuclear psychosis."
In an interview that the Soviet television station taped in her hometown, Samantha said she had learned almost nothing about the Soviet Union in school.
Mr. Andropov's answer to Samantha's letter, which was sent early this year, included references to Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and criticism of President Reagan.
In his three-page letter, Mr. Andropov said that the President was to blame for the impasse in arms-control negotiations and that the Soviet Union would never be the first country to use nuclear weapons.
The Vermont chapter of the National Education Association has been awarded the Dorros Peace Trophy for its role last month in organizing a forum for students in the state to discuss nuclear-arms control. (See Education Week, April 27, 1983.)
The trophy, awarded each year since 1976 by the nea, will be presented to the union's Vermont affiliate at the nea's annual convention in July.
The Vermont-nea was responsible for coordinating activities on nuclear-arms issues at 30 schools throughout the state. More than 7,000 students then congregated at the University of Vermont for a "town meeting," which culminated in the passage of a referendum seeking a freeze on nuclear arms.
The town meeting was co-sponsored by the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee and the Center for World Education.
A Good 'Chaw' May Not Be All Joy, Researcher Says
The television cameras at the ballpark often capture streams of brown liquid arching lazily out of the players' dugouts or focus on the bulging cheek of the manager as he trecks out to the mound to make a pitching change.
Now, says Ronald A. Baughman, a pathologist and professor of oral medicine at the University of Florida's College of Dentistry, increasing numbers of teen-agers are joining baseball players in the habit of chewing tobacco or "dipping" snuff. And that is unfortunate, he says, because smokeless tobacco can cause lesions in the mouth that if left untreated may lead to oral cancer.
"Until about five years ago, I never saw a teen-ager with a tobacco-related precancerous lesion of the mouth," Dr. Baughman said. "Now we are identifying potentially dangerous lesions in at least one young patient every month at U.F.'s dental clinic." In an effort to reverse the trend toward increased use of smokeless tobacco among youths, the American Cancer Society has begun to distribute brochures and films to high schools that explain the health hazards of the substance.
Thomas K. Minter, who was passed over in the New York City Board of Education's controversial search for a new chancellor, last week resigned as deputy chancellor for instruction.
Mr. Minter did not indicate what he would do next.
The board voted last month to appoint District 4 Superintendent Anthony J. Alvarado as chancellor. The board's initial choice of Deputy Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. was rejected by Gordon M. Ambach, the state education commissioner, who refused to grant a waiver of academic requirements for Mr. Wagner.
Richard F. Halverson, the former deputy chancellor under Frank J. Macchiarola and the acting chancellor since March 1, also told Mr. Alverado last week that he would leave his post this month.
Cities News Roundup
Schools in Youngstown, Ohio, have begun offering an after-school program for children from families affected by unemployment.
The program, sponsored by members of the American Federation of Teachers, will provide counseling, games, and group discussions for children in grades one through eight who seem troubled by their home situations, said a spokesman.
Some children, whose parents attended school but who are now unemployed, may start to view school as "a waste of time," the spokesman said. Others are upset by changes in the family lifestyle, he added.
Youngstown was selected for the pilot project because unemployment has reached about 22 percent there, he said. Sessions meet three times a week.
Threatened by declining enrollment in some affluent areas, the Dallas Independent School District has been trying to convince local realtors that city schools are as good as suburban schools.
About 15 times this year, pta mothers have joined with administrators to host parties for local realtors at individual schools, said Dean Angel, a district spokesman. Profiles of each school are also circulated, listing such features as special programs offered, and the average education and income level of the parents whose children attend the school.
"We've been trying to cater to the realtors since we discovered they've been promoting suburban schools over our schools," Mr. Angel said. "Many of them don't know about our programs. They just think of us as any inner-city district."
The Philadelphia school board has agreed to pay some 4,000 district employees a previously negotiated 10-percent salary increase that was rescinded nearly two years ago to cut back on the district's expenses.
The agreement will cost the district approximately $12 million, according to Elliot Alexander, a district spokesman.
In July 1981, Mr. Alexander explained, the school board rescinded the 10-percent increase for maintenance and operations workers, bus drivers, and teachers to offset a budget deficit of more than $200 million.
The local union representing the "blue-collar" workers challenged the board's decision before an arbitrator, who found that the workers were entitled to the pay raise.
The court of common pleas and most recently the state supreme court upheld the arbitrator's ruling in what has been a long legal battle marked by a 22-day strike in February. (See Education Week, Feb. 9, 1983.)
Under the terms of the board's agreement, according to Mr. Alexander, the district will pay part of the money owed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year. The remainder will be paid during the next fiscal year.
Twenty-one guidance counselors and "school-to-work coordinators" from the District of Columbia public schools have begun a year-long fellowship program designed to enhance their ability to prepare their students for meaningful work.
Sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership with a $190,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, the program will bring the counselors together with leaders in the local business community to expand their "contacts" and broaden their understanding of the job market and how curricula might be better adapted to market requirements, according to Jacqueline Danzenberger, director of the project for the iel
As part of that effort, Ms. Danzenberger said, the institute is working with a number of business and industry leaders on the project's advisory council to arrange summer jobs in the private sector for the counselors.
The cost of the counselors' and coordinators' salaries will be shared equally, she said, by the fellowship program and the employers.
The school-to-work coordinators are employed in the district's six new special-interest high schools supported by several private corporations. They will receive an additional five days of intensive inservice training under the program, the director said.
An additional goal of the project, Ms. Danzenberger said, is to expand the concept to other communities by 1984-85.
An article in the April 20, 1983, issue incorrectly reported that grants from the newly created Ford Foundation-sponsored Public Education Fund (pef) to each local education fund will total about $600,000 over three years. The figure should have been $200,000. The article also reported that the Allegheny Conference Education Fund (acef) spends about $200,000 annually on innovative projects developed by teachers. The figure should have been $20,000.