The Week [States, National, Etc.]
Recipients of General Educational Development (ged) certificates constituted what percent of all public-high-school completions in the United States in the 1979-1980 school year?
(The answer will be included with next week's quiz.)
Answer to last week's quiz: Canada is the only country other than the United States that has elected school boards.
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Number of Women
On School Boards
Rises, Survey Shows
The number of women on school boards increased by nearly 9 percent from 1982 to 1983, according to a survey conducted by the American School Board Journal.
In 1983, 37.1 percent of U.S. school-board members were female, while in 1982 that number was 28.3 percent, the Journal's survey found.
The largest regional increase in the number of female school-board members was in the West, where the survey revealed a 15.7-percent increase.
The smallest increase for female representation on school boards was recorded for northeastern states. Although more women were on school boards, the 5.2-percent increase was well below the national average.
The survey, which is conducted annually by the monthly journal of the National School Boards Association, also found that male and female school-board members agree for the most part on educational issues--except when it comes to finding good teachers.
More than one-fourth of the female board members said that finding good teachers was a major problem, while only 15.8 percent of male board members said that it was a problem.
Minority representation on school boards did not increase overall from 1982 to 1983, the survey found, but the number of black school-board members increased by 2.2 percent.
Just under 10 percent of school-board members belong to a minority group, according to the survey.
Status of Blacks
The condition of black Americans "remained strained throughout 1983 with no light apparent at the end of the tunnel," according to the National Urban League.
"The bald truth is that not only has movement toward narrowing the socio-economic gap that separates black and white Americans come to a dead halt, retrenchment has set in and blacks are actually retrogressing," said John E. Jacob, in a summary of the organization's annual report on the status of blacks in America.
The annual report, which examined issues such as single-parent homes, voter registration, economics, and civil rights, also cautioned black children and their parents to pay attention to efforts "to test us out of the educational and employment pictures."
"It needs to be understood that the competition has increased for scarce places in education and in employment and [that] the nation is turning against affirmative action" in those areas, the report warned. "The feeling is that people should merit education and employment opportunity, and merit is more than often determined by test scores," the report noted.
The league's report on urban education, which was written by Faustine C. Jones-Wilson, professor of education at Howard University, says that President Reagan and "neoconservatives" blame civil-rights efforts and the quest for equality in education for many of the problems in public education.
The league's report concludes that urban schools can be successful if "we as a nation rededicate ourselves to making them work."
Foundation To Seek
For Basic Literacy
Harold W. McGraw Jr., chairman of the McGraw-Hill Inc. publishing company, has announced the formation of a new foundation that will work with business and industry executives to ease the problem of functional illiteracy among adults.
The foundation, which has been named the Business Council for Effective Literacy Inc, is being funded by McGraw-Hill with an initial $1-million grant. It will be based in New York City.
In its first year, the foundation will attempt to expand corporate participation inactivities underway throughout the country to improve basic-literacy skills among adults.
According to Mr. McGraw, the foundation also will help schools, libraries, and other organizations develop the "additional resources needed to build higher levels of reading competency among children."
The foundation's efforts were endorsed by President Reagan and Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell.
Mr. McGraw said the foundation will concentrate its efforts on the estimated 27 million functionally illiterate adults who are "unable to perform such simple tasks as filling out a job application, applying for a driver's license, or reading a road sign." But he added that there are an estimated 47 million adults who are only marginally competent in performing such tasks.
The members of the board of directors are:
James E. Burke, chairman, Johnson & Johnson; Mrs. George Bush; Frank T. Cary, executive committee chairman, International Business Machines Corporation; Harold Howe 2d, senior lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Martin Lipton, partner, Wachtell, Lipton; Dan Lucy, executive vice president, Business Council for Effective Literacy; Frank J. Macchiarola, president and chief executive officer, New York City Partnership; John K. McKinley, chairman, Texaco; Edward N. Ney, chairman, Young & Rubicam; Benjamin F. Payton, president, Tuskegee Institute; Alan Pifer, president emeritus, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Donald C. Platten, executive committee chairman, Chemical New York Corporation; Alice M. Rivlin, research director, Brookings Institution; Michael I. Sovern, president, Columbia University; and Alexander B. Trowbridge, president, National Association of Manufacturers.
May Challenge Ruling
On Comparable Worth
The Reagan Administration may challenge a federal district-court decision that awarded millions of dollars in back pay and raises to approximately 14,000 women employees of Washington State who were paid less than men holding comparable jobs.
According to a spokesman for the Justice Department, government lawyers are preparing a report for Solicitor General Rex E. Lee outlining objections to the ruling and recommending a course of action. "By no means is anything final," he said.
The department could file a "friend-of-the-court" brief in the case, Washington Federation of State Employees v. Washington State, or it could file a petition to intervene when the case is reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The spokesman said he did not know when Mr. Lee will make his determination on how to proceed.
In his Sept. 16 ruling, U.S. District Judge Jack E. Tanner held that Washington State had illegally maintained "a compensation system which discriminates on the basis of sex." In November, he handed down a second order requiring the state to bring the salaries for female-dominated jobs to a level equal that for male-dominated jobs. (See Education Week, Dec. 21, 1983.)
According to labor officials and women's-rights advocates, Judge Tanner's action marked the first time that a federal court went beyond the notion of "equal pay for equal work," which is required by a 1963 statute, and required a state to pay women at a rate reflecting the "full evaluated worth" of their work.
Of Tax Surcharge
Promising to make state government live within its means, Gov. James Thompson of Illinois says he will oppose extension of an income tax surcharge due to die July 1.
The decision virtually dooms chances for extension of the one-year, 20-percent tax increase that many state education officials had been counting on to help pay for major increases in financing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.
The Governor said his budget, due to be released in March, will contain some increases for education but nowhere near the $474 million in new funds proposed by state Superintendent Donald G. Gill. Mr. Thompson said that "request could ... and should not have been funded even with extension of the tax increase."
He said the approval of the tax surcharge last year was "based on four years of recession that had undercut our revenues. ... We were able to keep our delivery of important state services intact and institute tax reform with that tax increase. This year we have the opportunity to keep these services in most areas and in some, like education, we can increase funding."
Extension of the tax hike would have brought about $550 million into the state treasury during fiscal 1985, according to budget officials. Even with the January 1 imposition of a permanent, one-cent sales tax increase, revenues next year will fall about $130 million shy of this year's income without extension of the income tax surcharge. However, some 1984 obligations will not recur in the next fiscal year, giving the Governor about $230 million to shift to other programs.
Although neither the Illinois State Board of Education nor its higher education counterpart has endorsed extension of the tax increase, top officials--including Mr. Gill--have suggested such action was essential to overcome the effects of tight budgets in past years and to help finance reform proposals for public schools.
Calls Ethnic Gap
A Growing Problem
An advisory committee to the Utah Department of Education has recommended increasing the percentage of minority faculty members and administrators to the same level as that in the student population.
In its annual report to the board of education, the Hispanic Education Advisory Committee said 7 percent of the state's public-school students are minority; only about 3 percent of the teachers are minority. Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the state--3.6 percent of all elementary-school pupils and 3.8 percent of all secondary pupils.
The committee asked the board to establish a job bank that contains the names of qualified minority teachers and administrators and to urge districts to develop policies for dealing with the problem.
Draft Bill To Ban
A public utility's alleged promotion of nuclear power to elementary-school classes has led Pennsylvania lawmakers to introduce a bill that would curb utilities' use of ratepayer funds to spread information that may not be beneficial to the public.
The bill, which is under consideration in the House Consumer Affairs Committee, would prohibit utilities from spending ratepayer money to influence public opinion, to encourage the purchase of appliances or equipment from the utilities, or to promote "goodwill."
The legislation followed a nationally televised report on the Philadelphia Electric Company's energy-information curriculum, which it provides to elementary schools. The report said the materials "promoted" nuclear power. A spokesman for the company said students are provided with information about all methods of generating electricity.
N.J. Task Force
Calls for Increase
In College Standards
The Joint Statewide Task Force on Pre-College Preparation has released a report that calls for raising college-admission standards for pupils planning to attend New Jersey's public colleges and universities.
The task force, which included representatives from secondary schools, colleges, and universities, recommended that all high-school students take four years of English and at least three years of mathematics, according to Edward Morante, director of basic skills assessment for the New Jersey Department of Higher Education.
Mr. Morante said the task force's recommendation is intended to end distinctions between the course requirements for college-bound students and those for students not planning to attend college.
Mr. Morante said the task force also suggested that the high schools administer statewide assessment tests at the 9th- and 11th-grade levels. The 11th-grade test would be used as an exit exam that students would be required to pass before graduating.
In addition, the task force recommended testing all college sophomores for proficiency in basic skills.
The group's report was issued shortly after the release of the results of the New Jersey College Basic Skills Placement Test, which showed that seven of 10 entering freshmen were unable to demonstrate proficiency in reading and computational skills.
According to Mr. Morante, the task force's recommendations have been submitted to the commissioner of education and the chancellor for higher education for consideration. At least one of the proposals would require action by the legislature.
N.Y. District Seeks
Law on Diplomas for
Spec. Ed. Students
The Middle Country (N.Y.) Central School Board has established a special committee to head a statewide campaign to push for the passage of a bill that would allow schools to issue high-school diplomas to handicapped students.
The school board's project is called EQUALS--Everyone Qualifies Under Alternative Learning Systems. The project will attempt to generate support in the legislature for a bill introduced last week that would give school officials such authority.
Under the bill, schools would be permitted to award diplomas to handicapped students who have successfully completed the learning goals prescribed by their individual education programs.
In a resolution approved by the Long Island school board, school offi-cials ask for the support of State Commissioner of Education Gordon M. Ambach and the Board of Regents "in setting minimum standards which must be met by each of the students seeking a diploma based on their iep"
Arnold M. Bloom, director of public information for the New York Department of Education, said the position of the commissioner and the regents on competency testing as a prerequisite for graduation has not changed.
The regents' policy was upheld last year by the New York Court of Appeals in a legal challenge filed by the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, which has since petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review. (See Education Week, Dec. 7, 1983.)
As of late last month, the Supreme Court had not said whether it would hear the district's appeal.
Illinois To Convene
On School Reform
A statewide conference on education reform aimed at building a consensus on legislation for improving the public schools will be held in early March, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan has announced.
Stanley Ikenberry, president of the University of Illinois, and Glenn Schneider, a high-school teacher and former state representative, will co-host the conference in Springfield.
"For too long now, we have focused on little more than the dollars-and-cents side of education," said Mr. Madigan, one of the state's most powerful political figures. "Now, I believe it is imperative to closely examine methods to improve the way we are preparing our young people for the future."
He said workshops and group discussions will address such issues as improving and monitoring teacher performance, the state's role in upgrading educational standards, teacher preparation and certification, school discipline and violence, awards for outstanding academic achievement, and merit pay for teachers. A series of mini-conferences is also planned in various communities to obtain "the maximum possible input at a grassroots level," Mr. Madigan said.
On Student Leaflets
The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union has filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Minneapolis Public Schools, claiming the district's regulations on the distribution of leaflets by students violate the students' First Amendment rights.
Last September, Jennifer Peck, a high-school student at Hall Free School in north Minneapolis, was reprimanded after she and another student distributed leaflets inviting students to a school-board meeting and to a meeting to discuss their principal's stricter discipline, academic, and classroom procedures, according to Amy Silberberg, legal counsel for the mclu
Ms. Peck was told by the principal that two school-board policies gave school officials the authority to examine the contents of leaflets and to determine students' motives before approving their distribution.
The mclu claims that the regulations violate students' rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The suit asks the court to declare the rules unconstitutional and to provide the two students with compensatory and punitive damages, Ms. Silberberg said.
Ariz. Poll Shows
In a statewide poll commissioned by the Arizona Education Association, two-thirds of those surveyed supported a one-cent increase in the state sales tax earmarked for education and a beginning salary of $20,000 for teachers.
The aea is now drafting a school-reform package to be introduced in the Arizona legislature in coming weeks, according to Roger Kuhn, communications manager of the association. The poll was taken, he said, "to make sure that the proposals we were considering offering in the legislature were backed by the people." It was conducted by the Behavior Research Center Inc., a polling service based in Phoenix.
Of those questioned, 78 percent supported spending more state money on education and 81 percent said that increasing teacher pay would improve the quality of schooling.
When asked to name the most important thing that could be done to draw better-qualified candidates into teaching, 6 percent of respondents mentioned merit pay or pay for performance and 65 percent suggested raising teacher salaries.
Over 50 percent of those surveyed said poor discipline, lack of parental support, and large classes are "major problems" and 90 percent favored increasing teachers' authority to remove disruptive students from classes. Some 710 people were surveyed, 75.2 percent of whom have children.
Seeks To Attract
A faculty committee at the University of California, Davis, has begun what is believed to be the state's first campuswide campaign to encourage better students to consider careers as public-school teachers.
In a letter to faculty members in the Davis division of the uc academic senate, the committee on teacher education said their active encouragement to students "is needed not only for the revitalization of California's public system of education," but because "it will have a direct bearing on the ability of the University of California to attract well-prepared undergraduates."
As incentives to students, the letter cited improving job prospects for teachers in California and steps taken in the 1983 state school-finance reform law to boost starting salaries, recognize outstanding instructors in a mentor-teacher program, and raise standards.
Julius M. Sassenrath, chairman of the ucd education department, said that "not often do faculty members talk up the idea of their students going into teaching. Education comes out on the short end of the stick frequently, and we'd like to turn that around."
The letter invited interested students to attend a meeting Feb. 1, for what Mr. Sassenrath called "a little pep talk" by faculty from education and other departments on "how great it is to be a teacher."
The total number of ucd graduates who now go into teaching each year has dropped from 250 a decade ago to 100 currently.
The Week Continues on Following Page
Board Buys Flags,
But Will Replace
Pledge of Allegiance
One citizen told the school board that the district needs toilet paper for Berkeley High School more than it needs flags in classrooms. Another said that Old Glory should be sent as bandages to nations in war-torn Central America.
During the same meeting of the Berkeley, Calif., School Board, the board voted 4 to 1 that teachers and students should be allowed to devise their own patriotic statement and to say it aloud in place of the daily pledge of allegiance.
According to Carroll B. Williams, president of the school board, the recent meeting contained much "political grandstanding." But he added that radical sentiment was to be expected in the college town, home of the University of California at Berkeley.
But the matters of what to do with school flags and the pledge of allegiance were not brought to the board to reflect local sentiment on Central America, Mr. Williams said.
"Citizens were concerned that, as a result of years of neglect, there were no flags flying in some of the Berkeley schools. Flags disappeared or rotted."
The state education code says that all schools must fly a flag over school grounds and that there must be a flag in each classroom.
If the local school board does not meet the responsibility and provide for it, the county must purchase the flags and charge the district, according to Mr. Williams.
"In keeping with the law, the board has spent $800 for flags and agreed to approve an additional $3,400 for purchases," Mr. Williams said.
But since there is no no law requiring students to say the pledge of allegiance, the board voted to encourage some other patriotic exercise, he said.
"Students can say whatever they like and devise their own patriotic statement. Nobody will force any3body to say anything," according to Mr. Williams, who cast the dissenting vote.
Court Ruling Gives
Peace Group Access
To Chicago Students
A federal judge has ruled that the Chicago School Board must allow members of a draft-counseling group to talk with students in the schools.
U.S. District Judge George N. Leighton held that the school board's practice of allowing military recruiters access to students in the schools while denying that access to peace groups that oppose draft registration, violated both the free-speech and equal-protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
"The school board has opened up its forum to one group but has denied access to groups with opposing views," and therefore "it is picking and choosing which views may or may not be expressed to its students," Judge Leighton wrote.
"Once a school opens its doors to outside groups, it must do so under principles that are constitutionally valid," Judge Leighton continued.
The suit was filed last year by the Rev. Andrew Skotnicki, a Roman Catholic priest who is a draft counselor with Clergy and Laity Concerned, after the Chicago school officials refused his organization permission to distribute materials and provide counseling to interested students.
Since the ruling, the organization has asked the school board to make arrangements for draft counselors to meet with students, according to Norman Watkins, a staff member. The organization has not yet received a response, he said.
Phila. To Refocus
The School District of Philadel-phia has decided to revise its citywide testing program and will no longer use the current version of the California Achievement Test.
Instead, district officials will develop a two-part testing program that is more closely tailored to the district's curricular goals. One part of the program will consist of items drawn from tests developed by the district, as well as some items from commercially developed tests. But pupils will also take a test made up of nationally normed items, so that the system can continue to make national or statewide comparisons of achievement.
The first part will be "curriculum referenced," or set up to test what is covered in the academic program, according to James H. Lytle, the district's executive director for planning, research, and evaluation.
"We would hope that would be the primary part of our testing program," Mr. Lytle said. "We would like the emphasis to be on whether kids are learning what we are teaching."
For the second part, the district is seeking a norm-referenced test ''that is also related to our particular curriculum," Mr. Lytle said. The district may take advantage of test publishers' growing capacity to cus-tomize standardized tests to match schools' curricula.
Such tests, he said, provide information on how well students are meeting curriculum goals and can generate sound comparative information.
Philadelphia has been using the California Achievement Test for about 10 years.
Students in grades 1 through 8 take the mathematics and reading sections; high-school pupils, except those in schools receiving federal Chapter 1 funds, take only the reading section.
A Pennsylvania student's eighth-grade social-studies project is now in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because it contained "classified" papers from former President Jimmy Carter's Administration.
Kristen Preble told fbi investigators that the documents had been obtained accidentally by her father, who is now deceased, several years ago while he was staying at the same hotel as President Carter.
Kristen brought the documents, which are stamped "classified," to her eighth-grade social-studies class recently as part of a class project on the Presidency.
"I saw White House stationery and the word 'classified' and said, 'Oh my God,' " said James DeLisio, Kristen's teacher.
Mr. DeLisio contacted the Pittsburgh office of the fbi, which forwarded the documents to fbi headquarters in Washington, D.C., a spokesman for the Pittsburgh office said.
George Young, who has been su-perintendent of schools in St. Paul for the past 14 years, resigned last week. He told school-board members that he is an applicant for the position of director of external relations at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His St. Paul contract expires in June 1985, and he is negotiating with board members both on the terms of his resignation and on his departure date. His current salary is $64,280.
The 59-year-old Mr. Young has outlasted three superintendents in the sister city of Minneapolis and his tenure has been longer than that of most big-city superintendents. He came to St. Paul from the superintendency of Canton, Ohio.
Samantha Smith--who gained international attention with her correspondence with Soviet President Yuri V. Andropov and her trips to the Soviet Union and Japan--is now trying her hand at national politics. (See Education Week, Jan. 11, 1984.)
Samantha, a 7th-grade student from Manchester, Me., will interview all but two of the major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. A spokesman for the Disney Channel, the cable television outlet that will air the inter-views, said the outlet was also seeking to arrange an interview with President Reagan.
The two Democratic contenders who have not agreed to be interviewed are former Vice President Walter F. Mondale and Senator John Glenn of Ohio.
The interviews will be televised this month.
Samantha first attracted attention when a letter she received a three-page letter from Mr. Andropov. The Soviet leader's letter was in response to a letter she sent him describing her fears of a nuclear war.
By a wide margin last week, Minneapolis teachers approved the second contract agreement reached by the Minneapolis school board and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. The contract, like the first agreement reached earlier this month, gives the district's 2,514 teachers an average increase of $4,400, including fringe benefits, over two years, according to Louise Sundin, an mft spokesman.
But through a mediator's proposal, the board agreed to subtract less money from the teachers' wage package. Under the new contract, the teachers and the board will split the cost of salaries for the district's hourly-rate tutors and payments for teachers who supervise extracurri-cular activities. Dental-insurance costs will not be increased under the new contract.
The same week, however, teachers in the St. Louis County (Minn.) Public Schools went on strike, keeping more than 2,000 students out of school. The teachers are striking over salaries, teaching periods, and transfer procedures.
Including St. Louis County, five districts in the state are now on strike. The other districts are Appleton, Coleraine, Park Rapids, and Sauk Rapids.
Retiring Secretary Leaves a Legacy of Warmth
For Rita H. Vierling, a secretary at the Pleasant View School in Providence, R.I., knitting had long been an avocation that consumed leisure hours. So when she began one particular project nearly two years ago, few of her family mem-bers paid much attention.
Not, that is, until Ms. Vierling presented matching hats and mittens to each of the 270 students at the Pleasant View School just before the Christmas holidays.
"To tell you the honest truth, it was my children who got the biggest kick out of all this," Ms. Vierling said. "I don't think it's a big deal."
Ms. Vierling, who has worked at the school for 16 years, is known for her generosity toward the students, who are all handicapped. She said she usually knits at least a dozen sets of the hats and mittens each winter and brings them to school so the teachers can have them for students who need them.
For the recent project, Ms. Vierling spent her summers, weekends and evenings knitting over an 18-month period. "It's something you can do while doing something else," she said. Ms. Vierling said it takes about a day to complete a pair of mittens and about four hours to knit a hat. She said she wanted to complete the project before she retired at the end of the school year.
Ms. Vierling said she sees her handiwork periodically when students go by her office window.
Senate Children's Caucus Probes Dropout Problem
At a forum on dropouts convened in New York City by the Senate Children's Caucus, young people and school officials cited boredom and few funds for prevention as reasons for the problem. Senators Bill Bradley, Democrat of New Jersey (left foreground) and Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut (right foreground) heard their concerns.