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A Survey of State Initiatives

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Earlier this year, the South Dakota legislature failed to act on a measure that would have provided free tuition to college students planning a career in mathematics or science teaching.

That decision came in spite of a documented shortage of 130 math teachers in the state, according to Marilyn Hala, math director for the state department of elementary and secondary education.

Jim Hauck, the department's science director, also pointed out that many science classes in the state are being taught by instructors with temporary certification.

According to Ms. Hala, supporters of the legislation are expected to reintroduce a similar measure during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

A task force composed of members from the state board of education and the state board of regents is considering a proposal to increase college entrance requirements in several areas, including math and science. The group is also examining the condition of the state's high-school curricula and teacher-education programs.

One version of a mandate for increased courses being weighed by the group would require students to complete three units each of math and science in order to be admitted to state colleges and universities. Students would also be required to complete four units in social studies and two in foreign languages. At present, entrance requirements vary from college to college.

The state education department this spring conducted a survey of all school districts to determine how microcomputers are being used in schools.

The department plans to release the survey results to school administrators "to let them know that there is a network of information on computers in the state."

Earlier this year, the state board passed a resolution directing all public high schools to offer a half-unit course in "computers" to all students. The requirement, which a school could satisfy by offering courses ranging from programming to simple "computer awareness," will be phased in between July 1985 and July 1986.

Under the terms of a resolution passed by the board in April 1980, as of the upcoming school year, all teachers of high-school-level computer courses will have to complete a minimum of eight hours of college credits in computer courses. Four of the credits must be in programming and two must be in systems analysis.

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