Updates News Roundup
The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has asked the state's supreme court to reconsider its recent decision that the state legislature has authority to determine education policy in the state.
The board claims that the legislature overstepped its authority in passing a law that requires schools to teach "creation science" along with "evolution science."
The state agency claims it has complete control over education policy under the state constitution approved in 1974. (See Education Week, Oct. 26, 1983.)
Meanwhile, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is expected to rule on whether the law violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the substantive issue originally raised in the case.
H. Ross Perot, the chairman of a committee that is studying proposals to reform public education in Texas, says the state legislature cannot be expected to act on the proposals until next summer at the earliest.
Mr. Perot, who has attracted attention with his attack on the emphasis placed on interscholastic athletics by many schools in the state, says legislators will be too concerned about the May primary election campaigns to devote time to education reform. (See Education Week, Sept. 28, 1983.)
"It's a tough time to get great enthusiasm in the legislature for a special session," Mr. Perot said of proposals to call a special session for education.
Gov. Mark White, who has said he wants a special session this fall, said it would make "no sense" to call one until legislators indicate a willingness to act.
A federal district judge refused last week to grant a temporary injunction that would have prevented President Reagan from removing two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from office.
U.S. District Judge Norma H. Johnson ruled on Oct. 31 that the two ousted commissioners, Mary F. Berry and Blandina Cardenas Ramirez, failed to make the necessary showing that they would have a "substantial likelihood of success" when their case came up for oral arguments on Nov. 7.
"Some likelihood, yes, but not a substantial one," Judge Johnson said before turning down the dismissed commissioners' motion.
Mr. Reagan fired the commissioners and a third holdover, Rabbi Murray Saltzman, in order to make room for nominees whose views on civil rights are closer to his own. (See Education Week, Nov. 2, 1983.)
While in office, the three dismissed commissioners had regularly criticized the President's positions on such issues as school desegregation, women's equity, and affirmative action.
William B. Dalton, the principal of Congress Heights Elementary School, a District of Columbia school recently "adopted" by President Reagan, hasn't wasted any time cashing in on the chief executive's interest.
He has already suggested to his contacts in the White House that the President's grounds crew do some landscaping around the school, that the White House contribute its regularly replaced fresh flowers to his students, who would make them into bouquets for senior citizens in hospitals, and that the President lend some of his computer program\6mers to Congress Heights as tutors.
"We've inquired about some surplus equipment, too," said Mr. Dalton, who also asked that the White House help arrange field trips for his students to nearby federal agricultural, radar, and weather-bureau installations.
Since the President adopted Congress Heights to dramatize his new "Partnerships in Education" initiative, Mr. Dalton has received calls from educators all over the country seeking his advice on how to set up such partnerships--especially with the White House, he said. (See Education Week, Oct. 19, 1983.)
And how is all the publicitiy affecting his students? "It's making the kids feel proud of the school," Mr. Dalton said, adding that "another good spinoff" is that the students are more apt to read the newspaper and watch the news. "They're looking for their quotes," he said.
The U.S. Agriculture Department's investigation of two major suppliers of ground beef to the school-lunch program is still underway, with a total of about 18 of the 300 samples showing contamination so far.
The investigation, which is being conducted by the department's inspector general, was prompted by an investigation conducted by the Better Government Association in Chicago and NBC-tv's "First Camera." (See Education Week, Sept. 21, 1983.)
Investigators alleged that Cattle King Packing Co. in Denver and Nebraska Beef in Gering, Neb., sold diseased or contaminated meat to the government for use in the school-lunch program.
According to a usda spokesman, insect fragments have been found in about 12 of the samples, and "small, metal staples" have been found in another six samples. The department does not know "how the staples got there" and may need to expand the sampling further, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, none of the beef--an estimated 6.5 million pounds--is being released.