National News Roundup
Enrollment in noncollegiate postsecondary schools with occupational programs has stayed at roughly the same level as in 1980--1.9 million students--according to a new survey from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The survey examined 1982 enrollment trends at 7,603 noncollegiate schools, but did not include data from the 1,603 colleges and universities that offer occupational programs.
Cosmetology and barber schools made up the highest percentage of the schools--25 percent--with business and commercial schools following. Eleven percent of the schools were community or junior colleges.
The majority of the students--75 percent--attended private rather than public institutions, and most of the schools surveyed--65 percent--were proprietary. Fourteen percent were independent, nonprofit institutions, and 20 percent were public. Most of the schools--65 percent--were accredited or were eligible for federal financial-assistance programs.
President Reagan has nominated Madeleine C. Will to be the Education Department's assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services. She would succeed the late Jean Tufts.
Ms. Will is an advocate for handicapped students in Maryland, and she has served on many citizens' and governmental boards and commissions concerned with the handicapped. She is the wife of George F. Will, the columnist and television commentator.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recently approved a bill to create employment for as many as 70,000 youths next year. One program, which was approved by the House of Representatives in March, would set up an "American conservation corps," similar to the Youth Conservation Corps that operated during the Depression.
The $300-million program would employ young people between the ages of 16 to 21 during the summer months, and those aged 16 to 24 year-round. Work performed for the program would include forestry projects, repairs to roads and trails, energy conservation, flood control, strip-mine reclamation, and urban revitalization.
The second program, also funded at $300 million, would employ urban youths, aged 16 to 19, in community-improvement projects, such as home weatherization and rodent control.
Those participating in both programs would be paid the minimum wage, and students would not be permitted to drop out of school in order to participate in the programs.
An aide to Senator Robert T. Stafford, the Vermont Republican who chairs the committee, said the bill was likely to come to the Senate floor in July.
States News Roundup
Tennessee's state board of education voted last month to increase high-school graduation requirements in science and mathematics from one to two years each.
Although the state's education commissioner recommended delaying the change until 1984 to avoid creating unexpected costs for districts, the board's majority voted to implement the change this fall. Students who begin the 9th grade then will be the first class to be affected by the change.
The board's action was prompted in part by test results that it received this month. Those results showed that Tennessee's high-school seniors rank in the 37th percentile in science, according to Sidney Owen, a spokesman for the state education department.
The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the parents of a handicapped student who was expelled from school because of his disruptive behavior, and has ordered the Adams Central School District to reimburse the student's parents for their expense in placing him in private facilities.
In reaching its decision, the court held that a state that accepts federal funds is legally obligated to provide all handicapped children with a free, appropriate public education. Because of its failure to provide an adequate education program, the school district is liable for the parents' expenses and must reimburse them, the court wrote in its opinion.
David C. Rasmussen, the lawyer for the state board of education, said the court ruled that the student's expulsion amounted to a change in placement and that school officials should have transferred the youth to "an appropriate, more restrictive environment."
The court ruled, however, that the district is not obligated to provide compensatory education beyond the student's 21st birthday, which the hearing officer in the case had recommended, according to Mr. Rasmussen.
In an unusual lobbying effort, Gov. Robert Graham of Florida has issued a direct appeal to the state's high-school students, asking them to write to their state representatives to urge them to meet his budget request. Mr. Graham is asking for an increase of $1.5 billion for ed-ucation over the next two years.
The Governor sent a two-page letter to 255 high-school newspapers in the state, challenging students to "schedule the toughest courses you can handle" next year and to "call or write your legislators at the Capitol ... and tell them to support the Governor's education budget."
"Just as you are held accountable for your performance in the classroom, our lawmakers are to be held accountable" for how well they deal with a crisis in education, the Governor said.
In requesting $3.8 billion for public-school programs in 1983-84 and $4.3 billion in 1984-85, Governor Graham is exceeding funding levels proposed by the state House by $200 million and those proposed by the Senate by about $450 million, according to Stephen Hull, a spokesman for the Governor.
The North Carolina Board of Education has adopted new standards designed to prevent teachers from teaching subjects for which they have no certification.
Under the new regulations, which go into effect July 1, no new teacher will be allowed to teach a subject in which he or she has less than 18 hours of college credit. Teachers currently working in North Carolina schools must earn six credits in each of the next three years in a subject they are teaching in order to retain their certification in the subject.
The 18 hours of college credit, however, only afford teachers a newly created "endorsement" on their regular certificate, and only teachers who spend less than half of their time teaching a particular subject may do so under such an endorsement, according to J. Arthur Taylor, director of teacher certification in the state's department of public instruction.
"The old system [of allowing teachers to teach a subject regardless of their training in the area] was much too lenient," Mr. Taylor said, noting that a recent survey found nearly 20 percent--one in five--of the state's teachers teaching subjects in which they are uncertified.
Nationally, 36 states require their teachers to hold some sort of certification in the subject they teach.
A Pennsylvania legislator has introduced a bill that would legalize gambling in the state and use betting revenues to fund education.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia, would allow residents to gamble on collegiate and professional sporting events by buying tickets similar to lottery tickets. Eighty percent of the gambling revenues would go to schools in the district in which the ticket was bought. The rest of the money would be distributed to public-school districts according to the state-aid formula and to private schools for peripheral expenses.
Urban school districts would benefit the most from the bill, said Mark Volavka, an administrative assistant to Mr. Cohen. He added that teachers' union officials were "semi-positive" in early discussions, and that the legislator had not yet consulted school administrators.
Revenues from the gambling could be "anywhere between $2 million and $500 million," Mr. Volavka said. Mr. Volavka pointed out that an additional benefit of the bill would be to reduce the control of sports betting by organized crime.
The Iowa legislature, which ad-journed its 1983 session on May 14, has passed a 1983-84 general school-aid bill of $680 million.
The 1982-83 figure for the general school-aid allocation was $643.3 million, according to the education specialist for Gov. Terry Branstad.
The 1983 legislative session also saw the passage of:
A bill, which the Governor is expected to sign, to improve mathematics and science teaching in the state;
A bill already signed by Governor Branstad that gives local school districts more flexibility in determining the beginning and ending dates of the school year. Under the bill, districts must maintain a 180-day school year, but they will be able to modify starting dates or establish four-day school weeks;
A bill, also signed, that allows districts to "tuition out" their junior- and senior-high-school students to other districts. According to the Governor's education spokesman, this measure allows a district that does not wish to maintain a grades 7-through-12 program--but that does want to keep a K-6 program--to avoid having to consolidate with another district.
Every public school and some private schools in California will be the beneficiaries of the largest microcomputer-giveaway program to date, thanks to a tax break signed into law last year by former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Apple Computers Inc. announced earlier this month that it would donate 9,250 computers to the schools this July. The giveaway will cost the company $1 million and the state treasury $4 million, Apple officials said.
Each school will receive one Apple II-e personal computer, which carries a retail cost of about $2,200. The retail value of the equipment would be about $21 million.
Under the state's new tax law, computer companies can write off 75 percent of the profit they would have made by selling the computers. Apple estimated that it would have made a profit of about $4 million on the computers.
A bill that would create tax breaks for computer companies that donate equipment to schools nationwide is pending before the U.S. House of Representatives.
A similar bill was passed overwhelmingly by the House last year, but did not come to a vote in the Senate.
Sixty years after completing his undergraduate coursework at Columbia University, the educator and philosopher Mortimer J. Adler has received the B.A. degree denied him because he failed a swimming test as an undergraduate.
Mr. Adler, who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia, is the author of more than 40 books, and is now able to swim, wrote to the school at the end of last year that he would be pleased to accept the degree if Columbia officials could see their way clear to granting it. "While it is a trifle extraordinary to receive a B.A. 55 years after receiving a Ph.D.,'' Mr. Adler wrote, "I think the time order is less important than the or-der of values. In my scale of values, the B.A. is the higher degree, so far as signifying a start in the process of becoming an educated person."
Along with the other graduating seniors, Mr. Adler was scheduled to receive his diploma last week. Of his earlier failure, he said, "I didn't know how to swim. I was very poor on the parallel bars and my phys-ed class came at the wrong hour."
Columbia officials are pleased by Mr. Adler's decision. The college is "touched by this sincere request from someone who has received so many other degrees," said William E. Oliver, director of college relations. "Of course, we're also glad that he has learned to swim."
District News Roundup
The Barnard (Vt.) Central School District has filed suit in U.S. District Court challenging the decision of a state hearing officer that the schools must provide psychotherapy for an emotionally disturbed pupil.
The student, who had been evaluated by school officials, was found to be eligible for special-education services by the hearing officer, according to John Paul Faignant, attorney for the district. The district, however, appealed that decision to the state because the student's educational plan called for psychotherapy.
The state upheld the decision of the hearing officer, but, according to Mr. Faignant, district officials are not convinced that psychotherapy qualifies as special instruction.
"They want to know if they are in the business of education or in the business of providing for the total needs of the child," Mr. Faignant said. "They want to know where it's going to stop."
A federal district judge recently rejected an attempt by the State of Michigan to avoid paying approximately $1.5 million in school-desegregation aid to the Benton Harbor public schools.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Hillman ruled on May 13 that the state's argument against making the payments was based on a misinterpretation of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Last January, the appeals court upheld an order by Judge Hillman requiring the predominantly white Eau Claire and Coloma school districts to transfer students to predominantly black schools in Benton Harbor.
State lawyers, in papers filed with Judge Hillman after the appeals court's ruling, argued that the Sixth Circuit, in its review of the plan, determined that the lower court's de-segregation remedy represented a "series of suggestions" rather than an enforceable court order. In the absence of such an order, they said, the state did not have to pay a share of the cost of the desegregation plan.
Judge Hillman disagreed, pointing out several instances in which the state was liable for segregation in the Benton Harbor district.
A teacher's aide at a Long Island junior high school last week shot the school's principal and one student, held 18 students hostage at gunpoint, and fatally shot himself after releasing all of the hostages.
The principal, Stephen P. Howland, was grazed by a bullet on his cheek, but he reported to work the following day. The student, Luis Burgos, was in stable condition at Southside Hospital in Bayshore.
The episode began last Monday when Robert O. Wickes took a rifle to an afternoon social-studies class at Brentwood East Junior High School in Brentwood. Mr. Burgos, a student in the class, had had a fight with Mr. Wickes 12 days earlier.
Mr. Wickes was dismissed as a teacher's aide for fighting with the student, who was suspended for one week following the incident. As Mr. Wickes walked toward the classroom, Mr. Howland followed him.
Mr. Wickes shot Mr. Howland, entered the classroom and shot Mr. Burgos, then took the 18 students in the room as hostages.
The gunman released the students, following agreements negotiated with the assistant principal, Frank Carnese, and with the Suffolk County hostage team. When the last student left the classroom at 10:10 P.M., officials said, Mr. Wickes shot himself in the left temple.
One of the world's leading art dealers will donate $100,000 to a scholarship fund and allow students to tour his New York City gallery as his punishment for tampering with court evidence.
The assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, John J. Reick Jr., sought a prison sentence for Frank Lloyd for his role in changing documents that listed the value of works of art by the late Mark Rothko. The well-known abstract painter died in 1970.
The artist's daughter, Kate Rothko, accused Mr. Lloyd and the executors of her father's estate of conspiracy in improperly handling the estate.
"We think the sentence was an extraordinarily lenient one, in view of the fact that [Mr. Lloyd] destroyed and manufactured evidence," said Mr. Reick. He said that Mr. Lloyd's net worth was at least $50 million, and that $100,000 therefore did not pose a hardship for him.
Mr. Lloyd was convicted last December of three counts of tampering with evidence.
Acting Justice Herbert I. Altman of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan issued the ruling May 16.
Gordon M. Ambach, New York's commissioner of education, has ruled that the Knox Memorial School District lacked the authority to threaten one of its teachers with insubordination charges unless he lost weight and had corrective dental surgery to improve his appearance.
The district had given Peter Mermer, an 11th-grade mathematics teacher, until May 1 to show "substantial progress" in improving his appearance or to produce a medical certificate saying that his problems could not be corrected.
The teacher said his appearance did not affect his teaching ability and appealed to the commissioner, who subsequently rejected the district's claim that Mr. Mermer's obesity and poor teeth are "so severe as to render him incompetent to perform his teaching duties."
Pagan Idol, Benched, Offers No Retribution So Far
An Oriental idol that has reportedly been providing a Utica, Mich., high-school track team with good luck for 14 years apparently ran out of good fortune last week when squad members voted to bench it permanently.
Team members decided to get rid of the 18-inch-tall statue, named Ho-Tai, after several parents in the community complained that pregame activities involving the figure were beginning to resemble a pagan cult.
"The kids dance around it, rub its belly, and chant 'Ho-Tai lives,"' explained Cass Franks, administrative assistant to the superintendent of the Utica Community Schools. "It's a gimmick, like a rabbit's foot or a horseshoe. We think it has about as much religious significance as the Naval Academy's goat or the San Diego chicken."
At least one parent in the community thought otherwise, however. According to Mr. Franks, the parent transferred her son from Utica High to nearby Ford High School last year so he would not have to take part in the pregame rituals. Earlier this month, she threatened to keep her son out of a track meet between the two schools if the idol appeared on the field.
School officials honored her request, and after the contest they sponsored a meeting with parents, clergy, and community leaders to discuss Ho-Tai's future.
Last week, the Utica team put the matter to rest by voting to shelve their good-luck charm. "We used Ho-Tai as a symbol of our desire to excel, but it looks like it's becoming a distraction to the team, our coaches, and other school officials who care about the success of our program," said the team's co-captain, Paul Schroll.
According to Mr. Franks, the Utica team, which has a 6-1 record so far this year, has done quite well without its mascot. It won its last two meets without Ho-Tai on the sidelines.