Private School Column
Trustees of the of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (tiaa-cref) voted last month to allow the association to offer "cashable" retirement plans to all of its member institutions.
The new plan will allow the 2,250 private schools and colleges enrolled in the tiaa-cref program to offer their employees a retirement plan that allows individuals to withdraw all of their annuity payments when they retire or transfer to another institution.
The plan will be available as early as this September but is not recommended by the association, according to Donald S. Willard, executive vice president.
"We believe, always have believed, and still believe that cash outs should not be allowed," Mr. Willard said. The whole idea of a pension plan, Mr. Willard said, is to provide a lifelong income. But under a cash-out plan, he said, a faculty member who is moving from one school to another may be tempted to withdraw his or her annuity and spend it long before retirement.
tiaa-cref trustees decided to allow the cash-out plan because member institutions wanted to be able to offer it to their employees.
Secondary schools participating in the Exemplary Private School Recognition Project will receive notice within the next two weeks of whether they have survived the first round of the competition.
Of the 400 schools that participated in the initial phase of the project, 120 will receive notice this week or next that site visits will be conducted at their schools, said Tamara Bartels, the project coordinator.
Based on the findings of the site visits, Ms. Bartels said, project officials will make their final recommendations on the approximately 50 schools to be recognized by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell in June. Mr. Bell also is expected to announce the results of the public-school-recognition program at that time. This is the first time ed has included private schools in its recognition program.
The Council for American Private Education is conducting the search for exemplary private schools under a $370,000 grant from the Education Department.
Study in the arts should be required of all students at all levels in independent schools, according to the final report of the National Association of Independent Schools Arts Planning Group.
The report's primary recommendation, said J. Richard Hawley, chairman of the group, is for schools to "strengthen and deepen their commitment to arts education."
On that premise, the report recommends that schools have as a graduation requirement "the equivalent of one or two year-long major courses in the arts."
In addition, the group recommends that schools hire full-time "artist-teachers," but cautions that an artist who is also a good teacher ''is a rare find."--cc