States News Roundup
N.C. State Board Approves Math Plan
The North Carolina Board of Education has taken another step toward improving mathematics instruction in the state's public schools. Acting in response to a report issued this month by its mathematics-curriculum committee, the board directed A. Craig Phillips, state superintendent of public instruction, to draw up a plan to put the report's recommendations into effect.
The board's action was an indication of its approval of the report, a spokesman for Mr. Phillips said.
The report included 62 recommendations for improving mathematics instruction. Specific recommendations included raising the salaries of mathematics teachers by $1,000 annually, providing more instruction in the subject at all levels, and increasing the emphasis on computers.
Court Rules Oregon Must Pay Expenses In Spec.-Ed. Suit
A federal judge has ruled that Oregon's department of education is responsible for the education of a group of handicapped children whose attendance at a district-run center was in jeopardy because the state withdrew its support.
U.S. District Judge Helen J. Frye ruled this month that the department is required under P.L. 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, to ensure full funding of programs serving handicapped children who have been referred by other agencies in the state.
Until last year, the state department of human resources had provided funding for the educational-services program at the Kerr Center for Handicapped Children, which is administered by the Lake Oswego school district.
When funding for the program was cut, the district unsuccessfully sought tuition payments from about 10 school districts with children at the center, according to Patricia Ellis, associate superintendent for special education for the state department of education.
The Oswego district then announced that it would discontinue the program, Ms. Ellis said, and the parents of several children attending the center filed suit against the school district and state officials.
N.J. Group Protests Public Support Of Private Schools
A study by the New Jersey Parent-Teacher Association has found that the state's approximately 193,000 private-school students received $69.4 million in state and federal aid during the 1982-83 school year.
That sum amounts to a little more than 3 percent of the approximately $2.13 billion in state and federal aid received by the state's public schools during that period. About 1.2 million students are enrolled in New Jersey's public schools.
Laurie A. Fitchett, chairman of legislative activities for the organization, said the study, which was done in cooperation with five other public-education associations, is intended to illustrate that a sizable amount of public revenue currently is used to support private schools.
She said the New Jersey pta will make that point in its lobbying efforts against two tuition-tax-deduction bills pending in the state's Assembly.
One bill would allow the parents of children attending private schools to deduct $1,000 from their state income taxes for each child in a private school.
The other bill would privide a similar $1,000 tax deduction for the cost of tuition, transportation, and books.
Saul Cooperman, the state's commissioner of education, is opposed to the bills.
The pta study found that the largest share of the state and federal funds spent on behalf of private education in New Jersey in 1982-83--nearly $34 million--was used for state-mandated transportation reimbursements to school systems and parents of private-school students. Public monies were also spent on private education for such items as textbooks and compensatory programs.
Oregon School Chief Offers New Plan For School Reform
In an effort to help "accelerate" the state's school-improvement effort, Verne Duncan, Oregon's superintendent of public instruction, released an eight-point plan for school reform that calls for a state-wide curriculum for grades K-12 and a proposal that students be tested in basic skills in the 3rd, 6th, and 10th grades.
The proposed state-wide curriculum, Mr. Duncan said, would address "not only basic skills but the higher-order skills our students need in critical thinking, mathematics, science, and international studies."
He also urged that the state introduce a graduation test for students in the 8th grade. Students who fail the examination would not automatically be barred from entering high school, Mr. Duncan said, although in some cases that "may be the appropriate action."
Mr. Duncan's other proposals include:
Increasing minimimum high-school graduation requirements in mathematics and science from one to two years.
Introducing a state "honors diploma" for students who meet a rigid set of requirements and have a minimum grade-point average of 3.2.
Shifting responsibility for the approval of teacher and administrator evaluation procedures from the legislature to the state board of education.
Extending the school year from its current minimum of 175 days to 190 days.
Requiring schools to present profiles of student performance and retention rate, staff turnover, and other characteristics that will allow state officials and the public to evaluate their effectiveness.
The state superintendent's proposals "are likely to cause controversy because of strong local control and the fact that they are likely to cost money," according to Larry Austin, spokesman for the state department of education.
Mr. Duncan said the cost of implementing the plan would be paid by the state.
"The proposals are for state requirements and the state should fund them fully," Mr. Duncan said.