Research and Reports
Delinquent Girls Lack Career Training
Career education for female delinquents has not kept up with the times, says a researcher at The Pennsylvania State University who is studying girls' career goals.
David A. Just, a doctoral candidate in the university's division of occupational and vocational studies, says female delinquents are still trained in such traditional fields as cosmetology, hairdressing, and food service, while training opportunities for male delinquents have expanded in the last 10 years.
"There are hundreds of thousands of vocational-technical schools in the United States that just aren't tapping this segment of the population," according to Mr. Just.
Mr. Just plans to compare what girls think of as their "career dreams" with what they see as their more realistic, immediate job alternatives. Preliminary research indicates a substantial gap exists between their short-range expectations and long-range goals, he said.
Mr. Just also plans to supplement his findings with an analysis of responses of 12,666 youths to the 1980 Youth Survey of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Behavior.
The survey was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center and the Center for Human Resource Research at The Ohio State University.
Mr. Just's work is supported by a $2,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Principals' Selection Called Haphazard
Despite the contention of most school boards that they choose administrators on the basis of merit or equity policies, a study sponsored by the National Institute of Education argues that the process is typically "ridden with chance" and unrelated to any established promotion policy.
The 65-page report, "Selecting American School Principals: A Sourcebook for Educators," describes how principals are selected, based on a recent study of 10 randomly sampled and geographically diverse school districts with more than 10,000 students each. The report was prepared by Abt Associates Inc., under contract with the NIE.
The researchers outlined a five-point model that most of the surveyed districts followed in selecting a principal. The steps include announcing and defining the vacancy, specifying the selection criteria, soliciting applications, screening the candidates, and selecting.
The researchers concentrated on the selection process rather than on the performance of candidates because the "way the process is structured and implemented widely communicates the values and operational styles of the top leadership, as well as goals and aims for the district."
The appointments of principals, according to the researchers, are subject to the influence of state and local politics, local cultural factors, and economic conditions--constraints that work against selection on the basis of merit and equity.
Moreover, they added: "The selection process as it actually works in many districts departs so profoundly from the idealized model" that further study is needed to understand the functions of the principalship to ensure that the leadership meets the educational needs of the schools.
For a copy of the report, write: Publications, National Institute of Education, 1200 19th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20208.
Family Experts Brief President At White House
President Reagan called 10 experts on family issues to the White House last week to hear their views on the subject.
First in a seminar and then over lunch, the experts, including Marie Winn, author of Children Without Childhood, and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute, briefed the President on a range of developments that have affected the family, including poverty, the increasing divorce rate, and the baby boom of the post-World War II years.
"It was a diverse group of people, and we were basically getting topics on the board," Mr. Novak said of the meeting. "The discussion was wideranging."
The meeting was organized by Bruce Chapman, deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House office of planning and evaluation, as the fourth in a series of "Presidential roundtables."
The roundtables were initiated a year ago as a way of familiarizing the President with important issues of the day, according to Carolee Bush, who is on Mr. Chapman's staff.
New Teacher Plan Gains Endorsements In New Jersey
Saul Cooperman, New Jersey's commissioner of education, has won two endorsements for his controversial plan to rewrite the state's teacher-licensing laws.
Edward Bloustein, president of Rutgers University, New Jersey's state university, said last week in an interview that he "strongly supports" Mr. Cooperman's proposal to bring more talented college graduates into the state's teaching corps by abolishing the current requirement that all teachers earn an education degree. (See interview with Mr. Cooperman on page 9.)
"The emphasis [in the commissioner's proposal] on liberal arts in the training of elementary- and secondary-school teachers is very sound," he said.
The Rutgers University Council on Teacher Education, a committee of faculty members from the graduate school of education that is charged with overseeing the training of teachers at the university, also endorsed Mr. Cooperman's plan recently.
In a report, the council expressed its support for the three aspects of an alternative licensing plan that Mr. Cooperman has proposed.
Under the plan, a person would have to have a bachelor's degree with a minor in education, a passing grade on a subject-area test, and a satisfactory rating on a one-year internship in order to teach in the state.
The council expresses some concern over Mr. Cooperman's plan, though. For example, in its report it recommended that the internship be conducted in closer cooperation with colleges and universities, and it said Mr. Cooperman should expand its 18-credit minor in education to 24 credits.
But opposition to the commissioner's proposals has also come from the state's college campuses.
John A. Rocco, a professor of education at Rider College, and Mildred Barry Garvin, who is on the faculty of the Rutgers department of social work, have, as members of the New Jersey legislature, led efforts to block Mr. Cooperman's proposals.
Mr. Rocco, a member of the Assembly's education committee, has joined Ms. Garvin, chairman of the committee, in sponsoring legislation that would delay consideration of Mr. Cooperman's plan for a year.
The New Jersey Education Association has led lobbying efforts to defeat the commissioner's proposals.
Connecticut Begins Fellowship Program In Math and Science
A consortium of business and education leaders in Connecticut has announced the start-up of a fellowship program to develop a cadre of high-school teachers who will work with other teachers to improve mathematics and science education in their districts.
The training program will begin this summer at Wesleyan University with 12 mathematics and science teachers. Eventually, a minimum of 40 will be trained at the university during each year of the program.
The teaching fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend during the summer session and $1,500 for their work during the school year, as well as free tuition, room, and board during the summer session. Each fellow will earn six credits from the university's graduate liberal-studies program.
The program is being administered by the Project to Improve Mastery of Mathematics and Science, a four-year-old organization based at Wesleyan and supported by a number of the state's leading industries.
The program is supported by the Connecticut Department of Education, the General Electric Foundation, the university, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and several corporations in the state.
Effect of State Aid On Property Taxes In Oregon Studied
Increasing basic state aid to Oregon school districts has had a stronger effect on holding property taxes down than has a more direct method of property-tax relief, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Oregon.
In a study of the budgets of 193 of Oregon's 312 districts, William T. Hartman and C.S. Hwang of the university's Division of Educational Policy and Management found that a direct property-tax relief plan, enacted by the 1979 legislature, "was used almost exclusively to increase the support of education rather than to lower the property-tax burden" in the 1980-81 school year. The relief plan cut homeowners' and renters' property taxes by 30 percent, up to $800, and provided state reimbursements to local jurisdictions for the lost revenue.
Since the state underwrote nearly one-third of the property-tax bill, districts had an incentive to raise their tax rates in response to the new law, Mr. Hartman and Mr. Hwang found, and most of them did. "The 1979 Property Tax Relief Plan appeared to provide school districts with an unrestricted grant that was allocated on the basis of district's levies and residential property tax payments," they write.
On the other hand, increases in general state aid to school districts proved a more effective tool for both increasing school support and keeping property taxes down, the authors found, perhaps because it has more built-in accountability provisions, the authors suggest.
According to the study, state policymakers, in considering alternative approaches to tax relief, should carefully assess "whether [they wish] to guarantee property-tax relief by putting limitations on local governments' taxing and spending powers or to allow local governments to take advantage of the opportunity and use part or all of their new-found property-tax capacity."
In addition, the researchers write, Oregon lawmakers, who are faced with a persistently poor economy and protests over high property taxes, must consider whether the state can continue to provide property-tax relief without a major infusion of new state revenue through increases in existing taxes or the enactment of their first sales tax.
Copies of the report are available for $3 from CEPM Publications, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore. 97403
Stanford Educators Oppose Withdrawal From UNESCO
Faculty members at Stanford University's School of Education have voted to express their "serious concern" over the Reagan Administration's decision to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The faculty's motion of concern praises the work of UNESCO in the educational development of nations, notes that Stanford faculty members have been involved in UNESCO programs, and notes "both the importance and the difficulty of international collaboration in education." But while acknowledging "the efforts made and the problems encountered by the United States in its work with UNESCO," the resolution says the faculty sees "no viable alternative to UNESCO for developing and sustaining worldwide communication and collaboration in educational, scientific, and cultural pursuits across the many cleavages that divide today's world."
The motion was adopted by a 19-1 vote, with two abstentions.
Virginia State Board Decides To Retain Middle-Grade Sports
The Virginia Department of Education has backed off an interpretation of some state education regulations that would have forced many middle schools in the state to eliminate interscholastic sports programs for some students.
In revising the state's accreditation standards, a committee appointed two years ago by Superintendent S. John Davis held that 6th- and 7th-grade students should be considered elementary-school students even if they attend middle or junior-high schools.
Because state law does not permit elementary-level students to participate in interscholastic sports programs, the interpretation would have eliminated middle schools' sports programs, which have been in existence for several decades.
Barry Morris, director of planning for the department, said the state board of education last week decided against that interpretation because the issue had not been considered during a series of public meetings held to review the accreditation standards.
"It was not a specific issue in the review, and that's why we felt we shouldn't make that interpretation" that would have barred 6th and 7th graders from competition, he said.
Michigan Sponsors Forum on Ed. Reform
Michigan legislators will hold a "Working Conference on Education" next month to encourage "expert input" into the reform measures they will consider.
The conference, which will be held Feb. 15-16 in Lansing, is expected to draw 500 educators, parents, students, community members, and others, according to its organizers.
Workshops will be held during the conference on such issues as high-technology education; cooperative inter-district programming; and certification, retraining, and professional development. Speakers will include Edward Meade, chief program officer of the Ford Foundation; Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Paul Salmon, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators.
The announcement of the conference came the day after the state board of education adopted a 60-point school-improvement plan, which is expected to be discussed at the conference.
The board's major recommendation--lengthening the school year by 20 days--is expected to cost $470- million over four years, according to Rosarita M. Hume, a spokesman for the department of education.
The board also recommended that high-school graduation requirements be upgraded to include at least four years of communications skills; two years of mathematics; two years of science; three years of social studies, one year of health or physical education; one semester of computer education; and two years in one or a combination of foreign language, performing or fine arts, vocational education, or practical arts, according to Ms. Hume. In addition, the board urged local school boards to encourage college-bound students to take an additional year of mathematics and science, and a foreign language.
The board also urged local school boards to establish homework and discipline policies, create improved learning environments, increase citizen involvement in schools, and create special teaching certificates for middle-school teachers, she said.
Among the recommendations that will go to the legislature for approval and funding are proposals for model programs for gifted and talented students; training centers to retrain teachers and administrators in science, mathematics, and computers; and expansion of the state's assessment program to include more basic-skills tests.
Minnesota Union Considers Statewide Teachers' Strike
The Minnesota Education Association has announced the possibility of a statewide teachers' strike or "mass action" next fall to break the impasses that have left many teachers working beyond their contracts' expiration date.
Minnesota teachers' two-year contracts expired last July 1, according to Marti Zins, president of the association. Since that time, only 145 of the state's 437 districts have reached final or tentative contract settlements. Teachers in about 50 of the remaining districts have filed notice of their intent to strike.
"We would look for some sort of way to dramatize [this] situation," Ms. Zins explained. A statewide strike--only one of several actions being considered--would require individual decisions by each local, according to Ms. Zins.
The state association "can't file documents or force locals [to strike]," she said. "We could encourage the locals."
Other possibilities for mass action include holding regional or statewide meetings on education; holding public forums in various locations on the same day throughout the state; meeting with school boards on the same date statewide; and asking parents throughout the state to visit schools on a specific day.
Seattle School Board To Consider New Education Program
A new teaching system that creates "orderly" and "joyful" schools has been recommended to the Seattle school board as an educational option in developing new plans for the city's desegregation program.
The teaching system, called Individual Education, was developed by a psychologist and is based on the idea that children learn what they want to learn, said Ann Skutt, chairman of the superintendent's Independent Education Study Committee.
ie has been used successfully as a magnet program in Joliet, Ill., Ms. Skutt said.
Under the plan, students are allowed to choose what they want to learn, study subjects in weekly units, and take tests when they believe they are ready. Students work closely with a homeroom teacher of their choice and sign contracts agreeing to obey school rules, such as:
Doing nothing that could be dangerous to yourself, or someone else, or damage property;
Remaining under adult supervision at all times; and
Obeying orders from teachers and staff silently.
Under the ie system, Ms. Skutt said, teachers and staff are allowed to give only two orders. They are non-verbal instructions: a "time-out signal," meaning the child must leave the classroom for five seconds, and a "stop signal," meaning the child must leave the classroom for the rest of the day.
Instruction under the system is divided into three areas--basic academics, creative courses, and social skills.
The creative courses include everything from music to languages to computers.
Emphasis is placed on social skills, Ms. Skutt said. "The children learn to have a sense of community and caring. Cooperation is stressed. ie schools are orderly, happy--even joyful--and the stress level for teachers and students goes way down."
Dispensing Vitamins Earns Mass. Teacher 2-Day Suspension
The Peabody, Mass., school board has agreed to permit a 6th-grade teacher to resume her classroom duties after investigating several parents' complaints that the teacher dispensed vitamin-C tablets to her students.
Victoria Kokaras had been reassigned "to other curriculum work" until the school board conducted an initial hearing with parents and school administrators, according to Gregory Thelkas, the district's assistant superintendent.
Mr. Thelkas said three parents appeared before the school board and several others called the school to complain about the teacher giving their children the 100-milligram vitamin-C tablets. One parent, he said, contacted the local police department about the matter but was told no criminal violation had occurred.
Ms. Kokaras, who returned to the classroom last week after a two-day in-house suspension, explained that many of her 25 students had cold symptoms, so she gave them the chewable vitamins. She reportedly said that none of the children was forced to take the vitamins and that "if I were a parent, I'd be a lot more concerned with the pounds of candy I've seen the kids eat."
As far as school officials are concerned, according to Mr. Thelkas, ''the issue is pretty much resolved." But, he added, there may be further discussions on the issue.
Testimony Heard In Little Rock Suit To Merge Schools
A trial on a lawsuit that seeks consolidation of the Little Rock school district with two neighboring districts ended Jan. 13, after nine days of testimony.
The Little Rock district, which has gone from 30 percent to 70 percent black in the 10 years since court-ordered busing began there, sued the predominantly white North Little Rock and Pulaski County districts, contending that the suburban boards have encouraged "white flight" to their districts and have discouraged blacks from leaving the city system.
The portion of the case that was heard this month focused on whether the defendants are liable for the changing demographics of the Little Rock district. A ruling is expected on that issue in April, and testimony on a potential remedy would begin the week of April 30 if necessary.
The trial began with a prominent banker's testimony that discrimination in mortgage lending and the location of public housing had been practiced to ensure racial segregation.
Other witnesses testified that disproportionate numbers of blacks are placed in special-education classes in the defendant districts, while classes for the gifted are virtually all white, and that blacks are underrepresented in the administrations of the two defendant districts.
Testifying on behalf of the Pulaski County district, several blacks said they enjoyed equal treatment, and two expert witnesses said the number of blacks in special-education classes was not as disproportionately high as Little Rock witnesses contended.
An expert witness for the North Little Rock district said he found the district to be in substantial compliance with its desegregation order, except in numbers of black administrators.
Both defendant districts said their districts should not be destroyed to solve the problems of the Little Rock district.
Minneapolis To Hold Tax Referendum
The Minneapolis school system is expected to hold its first tax referendum since the referendum option was established 13 years ago. Scheduled the referendum is intended to finance the district's school-improvement efforts, according to officials.
"Educational programs [are] costing more and the needs [are] great within our city," said an official in the superintendent's office. "Federal and state aid has decreased so dramatically that we will be needing extra support in order to maintain our programs."
Superintendent Richard Green, who is expected to make the referendum proposal next month, received support from school-board members at this month's meeting. Mr. Green and board members will discuss the proposal with business and community groups to gauge their support, according to the official, and will hold further discussions at the board's Jan. 31 meeting.
The last referendum was held in 1971, when voters were asked to support the Minneapolis Technical Institute.
Disputing a charge that the referendum is intended to finance the district's recent 17-percent increase in teachers' salaries, Mr. Green said the two moves are unconnected. Income from a referendum, if it is held, Mr. Green noted, will not be available until after June 30, 1985.
School Official Proposes 'Isolation' For Punishment
The assistant principal of a high school in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District in Pennsylvania has proposed ending all suspensions for disorderly student behavior--and replacing that punishment with a study hall.
Vincent Lorusso of gar Memorial High School, suggests that the district's board of education send rule-breaking students to small cubicles where they can receive individualized instruction. The amount of time that the student would spend in the cubicles would range from one to 10 days.
Mr. Lorusso says "some sort of isolation" would convince the students to "conform and learn the evils of their ways." Suspending students amounts to little more than giving them a "vacation," he says, adding that hundreds of people have telephoned him to say they support the proposal. Mr. Lorusso explains that the school would need to construct about 20 4-by-5-foot cubicles to implement the idea. The students would spend the entire school day, including lunch, at the cubicle.
After reaching a tentative agreement and averting a strike earlier this month, the Minneapolis school board and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers reached a second tentative agreement and averted a second strike that had been scheduled to begin Jan. 31.
The first agreement, which held off a strike that had been set for Jan. 17, gave the district's 2,514 teachers an average increase of $4,400, including fringe benefits, over two years. But disagreement last week over the amount of money the board will subtract from the teachers' wage package brought union officials back to the bargaining table, according to Louise Sundin, an mft spokesman.
Union members thought the salaries for the district's hourly-rate tutors, payments for teachers who supervise extracurricular activities, and increased dental costs would not be deducted from the total amount available for salary increases in the new contract, Ms. Sundin explained. But the board maintained that those costs were part of the total package.
The new agreement, which was the result of a mediator's proposal, was expected to be submitted to the union membership for consideration and a vote early this week. Details of the agreement were unavailable, according to Ms. Sundin.
The Massachusetts Board of Re-gents of Higher Education formally adopted new admission standards for the state's public colleges and universities earlier this month.
The Board of Regents last year had proposed raising the number of courses to be required of high-school students planning to enter four-year colleges because it was concerned that the state did not have a uniform curriculum. The plan would be phased in over a number of years. (See Education Week, April 27, 1983.)
Under the new policy, college-bound students will be required to complete four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of science, two years of social science, two years of a foreign language and three years of elective subjects.
Robert L. Saunders, dean of the College of Education at Memphis State University, has been named president-elect of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
AACTE is a national voluntary organization of 720 higher-education institutions committed to improving teacher education.
Mr. Saunders, who serves as a member of the Coordinating Council on Improving Teacher Education in Tennessee, was appointed recently by Gov. Lamar Alexander to represent higher education on the interim commission on certification for the Master Teacher/Master Principal Program. He will serve as AACTE's president-elect for one year beginning March 1 before assuming the association's presidency.
Dan McCormick, a professional musician, has given up his career to help public schools set up foundations.
Mr. McCormick, a former band director at Lansing (Mich.) Eastern High School and a studio and concert pianist who has played with Andy Williams, Aretha Franklin, and the late Otis Redding, has set up a company to provide schools and school districts with initial help in creating their own foundations.
The idea came to him, Mr. McCormick said, after he heard of the success of public-school foundations in post-Proposition 13 California.
"The foundation is a proven method for attracting funds to a school," he said. "Every university in the country has a foundation."
So far, Mr. McCormick's Education Foundation Consultants, which is based in Williamston, Mich., has assisted more than 15 school districts in Michigan to establish foundations.
Mr. McCormick said he helps with the legal aspects of setting up a foundation and then either turns the operation over to officials in the school district or provides periodic monitoring.
Michelle Fedon, a 6th grader from Lincoln, Neb., was a little surprised to receive word last month about a balloon she had sent aloft during her school's effort to promote reading almost two years ago.
Her balloon and 599 others went up in April 1982, when Michelle was a 4th-grade student. It was found last month in a bale of hay on a Guilford, Mo., farm owned by Scott Anderson, who wrote to Michelle on one of the laminated cards she had attached to her balloon.
The students had promised to send a bookmark, a hand-made "Read a Book" button, and a letter to every balloon finder. Michelle says she plans to keep that promise.
In a month when most national political figures are preoccupied with foreign-policy and defense matters, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking before a group of Connecticut clergymen, has stressed the need for a stronger commitment to education.
"We must see education as a national security act," the candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said, according to wire reports. "The cost of leaving people ignorant is so much greater than educating them. Schools at their worst are better than jails at their best. When schools close while jails are being built, it's a sign."
And Mr. Jackson added: "The world will be controlled by the most developed minds."
The best way to cure a fever, say 8th-grade students at Pleasant Hill (S.C.) Middle School, is to slice an onion and tie it to the soles of your feet until the fever breaks.
The students also say that the best cure for a puncture wound is to ''put a copper penny on the sore and wrap white cloth around it to draw the poison out."
These recommendations come from a book on local and regional folklore that was recently published by the 26 middle-school students.
Called Tales of Sassafras, Superstitions, and Such, it is a 61-page compendium of folk beliefs and superstitions, home remedies, old recipes, word lore, riddles and rhymes, historical stories, and tall tales.
In preparation for the project, the pupils studied techniques used in interviewing and in writing quotations, dialogue, and dialect, according to Dohnree P. Cribb, the language-arts teacher who supervised the project. The students then spent much of their free time after6school interviewing parents, relatives, neighbors, and other community members.
The project helped teach students about their heritage and gave them an appreciation for the people in their community and practical experience in writing, said Ms. Cribb.
The historical entries, for example, include a list of rules used locally in 1915 to govern the conduct of female teachers. Women teachers were exhorted not to get into any carriage with a man other than their father, not to wear dresses more than two inches above the ankle, not to smoke, not to loiter in ice-cream stores, not to get married, not to dye their hair, and to be at home between hours of 8 P.M. and 6 A.M.
Along with historical lore, the book includes recipes for such local delicacies as chitlins, possum stew, hog dumplings, and blood pudding.
The book has sold about 500 copies and will soon be in its third printing, Ms. Cribb said.
Support for the publishing project, which came from International Paper Co. and the Georgetown (S.C.) Education Foundation, was secured by the Coastal Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project.
Copies may be purchased for $2.50 from the Coastal Writing Project, P.O. Drawer 720, Georgetown, S.C. 29442.
QUIZMASTER Name the only country, other than the United States, that elects its school boards.
(The answer will be included with next week's quiz.)
Answer to last week's quiz: According to the 1983 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, at the time of its peak enrollment in 1934, New York's De Witt Clinton High School had 12,000 students.
Readers are invited to submit interesting and/or arcane questions involving education (with answers) for possible inclusion in Quizmaster. Please send your name, address, and phone number and indicate the source of your information. Education Week will pay $10 for each item used. Send entries to: Quizmaster, Education Week, Suite 560, 1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
Vol. 03, Issue 18, Pages 2-4