Fiscal 1985 funding for education and other nondefense discretionary programs would be frozen at current levels under an overall spending plan approved by the Senate Budget Committee this month.
According to budget documents, the total amount available for the budget category that includes education, training, employment, and social-service programs would be $28.9 billion in fiscal 1985, compared with $31.3 billion in this year's budget. The apparent decline is due to one-time-only advance funding for the Job Training Partnership Act program in fiscal 1984.
The full Senate is expected to take up the committee's spending plan, known as the first concurrent budget resolution, shortly after it reconvenes from its Easter/Passover recess on April 24. The House passed its version of the budget resolution earlier in the month.
College Guarantees Performance of Teacher Graduates
Officials of the University of Northern Colorado have offered to retrain this year's graduates from its college of education who fail to perform satisfactorily on the job, at no cost to the schools or the employees in question.
Daniel J. Burke, dean of the university's college of education, said the offer, which is outlined in a two-page document sent recently to every principal and superintendent in the state, is designed to "build confidence in the [university's education] graduates, the program, and the faculty."
"The day is over, in my judgment, when we can sit and prepare teacher candidates in isolation," Mr. Burke explained.
"We need to work with school districts and agencies that employ our graduates" to "bridge the gap that has existed in the field."
Under the plan, the university has agreed to work with school officials and other education-related employers to resolve problems related to the performance of graduates. He said the strategy could include additional college training, independent study, or consultation with a university professor for graduates whose training is found inadequate.
Mr. Burke said the offer would be available to this year's graduates only.
He said, however, that the university also has agreed to provide professional-development training to previous graduates who are nominated by their employers.
According to Mr. Burke, the university's college of education is the fifth largest in the country. He said about 1,100 students are granted degrees each year and about two-thirds apply for state certification.
Utah State Board Considers Credit for Religious Instruction
The Utah Board of Education is considering a proposal that would allow schools to give high-school students credit for elective, off-campus courses in religious instruction.
The proposal has been criticized by officials of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, who say it is designed to favor students who study in Mormon seminaries, which are adjacent to many Utah public high schools.
According to Kathryn Collard, a lawyer for the aclu, "the sponsorship of those courses constitutes advancement of a particular religion." Ms. Collard argued successfully in 1977 against seminary credit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Lanner v. Wimmer.
But the proposal the board is considering "closely follows" the appeals court's decision in Lanner by allowing all students to obtain credit for release-time classes and thus is constitutionally sound, said Doug Bates, administrative assistant for school law at the state education department.
About 60 percent of students in Utah public schools attend release-time classes, Mr. Bates said.
Teachers' Group Mounts Campaign For Higher Pay
The Association of Texas Professionals has begun a letter-writing campaign in support of a special session by the state House of Representatives this summer to address a proposed pay increase for teachers.
The 38,000-member association, the second-largest teachers' group in the state, wants lawmakers to hold the special session in June, according to Annelle McCorkle, the association's assistant executive director.
She said Gov. Mark White had proposed a 24-percent increase over the biennium but the legislature last year failed to provide funding for his proposal through a tax increase. The issue surfaced again last month when the Governor's education-reform panel recommended raising the salaries of beginning teachers from the current level of about $11,100 annually to about $15,000.
In their letters, according to Ms. McCorkle, "the teachers are saying, 'Don't be afraid to support a tax increase. We as educators will back you and help you explain why it's necessary."'
University Raises Admission Standards In South Carolina
The University of South Carolina has joined the rest of the state's public four-year colleges in approving higher admission requirements that will affect all students applying for admission for the fall of 1988.
According to Deborah C. Haynes, associate director of admissions at the University of South Carolina, the new requirements include four units of English; three units of mathematics (including algebra 1 and 2, with a fourth unit of geometry strongly recommended); two units of laboratory sciences (with a third unit strongly recommended); three units of social sciences; two units of the same foreign language; one unit of advanced mathematics, computer science, world history, world geography, or Western civilization; one unit of physical education; and three additional electives.
Last June, after a year of work by an advisory committee, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved a list of recommended high-school courses. The list was accepted last fall by all the other state four-year institutions, including Clemson, the Citadel, the College of Charleston, South Carolina State College, Lander College, Winthrop College, and Francis Marion College, according to Frank E. Conard, associate director for academic affairs for the commission.
Illinois Legislature Considers Seat Belts For School Buses
Illinois may become the first state to require districts to equip new school buses with safety belts--and require students to wear them--if the state's General Assembly approves a measure now under consideration.
"Illinois could lead the nation," said Carol Fast, chairman of a New York City-based coalition pushing for similar legislation nationwide.
Under the proposal, all new school buses, beginning with the 1985 models, would be required to have seat belts, passengers would have to use them, and the state would be required to reimburse local districts for the added cost.
State Representative John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, said the intent of the bill is to reduce fatalities from traffic accidents and to get children in the habit of wearing seat belts.
Last year, lawmakers enacted legislation requiring children under 6 years old to wear safety restraints in automobiles.
Mr. Cullerton has cited state figures showing, he says, that "infant deaths in automobile accidents have dropped 60 percent this year."
He said 915 new school buses were purchased in Illinois last year and estimated that it would cost about $1,000 to equip a 64-passenger bus with safety belts.
Two suburban Chicago districts now require seat belts in buses, and other districts are considering them.
Kansas Increases Requirements for Extracurriculars
The Kansas High School Activities Association has increased from four to five the number of courses secondary students must take and pass in order to be eligible for extracurricular activities. Students must enroll in five courses beginning in the fall; they must pass five of the previous semester's courses, effective in the spring of 1985.
The new requirements, which were approved by the board in a 36-to-14 vote, are a response to the State Board of Education's increased graduation requirements. "The state board has increased graduation requirements to 20 units and we feel that in order to encourage students to make progress toward graduation, they should be enrolled in and pass five subjects," said Kaye Pearce, a spokesman for the association. The Kansas group is among the growing number of state athletic and activities associations linking academic work and attendance to students' participation in extracurriculars. (See Education Week, April 4, 1984.)
"I think we're going to encourage kids to do better," said Mr. Pearce, "but I'm sure that we will have more [ineligible students] than we have currently." The association reported 300 ineligible students this semester.
The association's board also commissioned a study to determine why students and teachers miss instructional time. The study's findings will be made public this summer.
Private Schools Join Effort To Improve Education in Florida
Education officials representing public and private schools in Florida have pledged to work together to improve academic achievement in the state.
At a news conference held this month, Ralph D. Turlington, the state's commissioner of education, joined Douglas MacDonald, head of the Florida Association of Academic Non-Public Schools, to announce their mutual goal of academic excellence.
According to a spokesman for the state education department, the announcement represents an acknowledgement that statewide standards of academic achievement, such as Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, involve students from both public and private schools. Public-education officials have adopted a goal of putting Florida students in the upper quartile, nationally, in academic achievement. The private schools have now pledged to join that effort.
An official from the U.S. Education Department, Charles O'Malley, attended the conference.
He said the Florida initiative was the first such venture in the nation. The state education official said the two groups were planning no specific programs but were acknowledging that their goals were the same and that they would work together to reach them.
12.1-Percent Hike For Teacher Salaries Approved in W.Va.
The West Virginia State Board of Education earlier this month approved a new salary schedule that will raise next year's salaries for teachers and school-service personnel by an average of 12.1 percent.
Teachers will receive an increase of $800 in their base salaries and a $40 increase in the increments they receive for experience.
This will result in base-pay raises varying from $800 to $1,560, depending on a teacher's length of service.
The average base-pay increase will be $1,185 per year.
Service personnel will receive an extra $44 per month in base pay and $2 per month for the experience increment, which will be extended to apply to workers who have served up to 20 years.
The base-pay raise for school-service personnel will vary from a low of $40 per month to a high of $156 per month, depending on length of service.
In addition, teachers and service personnel in the poorest districts will receive additional equity money.
The raises, which were approved by the legislature and Gov. John D. Rockefeller 4th, are contingent on a projected $29-million budget sur-plus at the end of the fiscal year in June.
"There is every indication that the surplus will be there," according to a spokesman for the state department of education.
Florida House Ends Grades Exemption For Slow Learners
The Florida House has approved a bill that would require slow learners to meet the same academic-eligibility requirements as other students to participate in extracurricular activities.
Under the state's Raise Achievement in Secondary Education (raise) bill, which was passed last year, students must have a 1.5 grade-point average to be eligible to participate in sports or other outside activities.
raise exempted from that requirement students enrolled in exceptional-education programs; those students are eligible for participation if they are progressing satisfactorily toward graduation and meet local district requirements, according to a House Education Committee spokesman.
The House bill, which was introduced by Representative William Bankhead, removes the exemption from the raise measure. It will proceed to the Senate for approval.
California Bill To Fund Community Service Advances
California school districts would receive state funds to help them establish community-service programs for high-school students under a bill that has passed its first test in the legislature.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved the measure, introduced by its chairman, Senator Gary K. Hart, and forwarded it to the Senate Finance Committee.
Senator Hart's measure would require the State Board of Education to recommend the number of hours students should spend in the program every year, procedures for setting up community placements and for supervising students, and minimum requirements for granting course credit.
Among the authorized activities for students would be governmental or business programs in health, education, social services, environmental quality and conservation; public assistance, public safety, crime prevention and control, housing and community improvement; and care of the handicapped and elderly.
"The intent is to encourage students not merely to observe but to contribute, to do something that's going to be of some benefit to another human being," Senator Hart told the committee.
Senator Hart's bill would appropriate $10 million to help fund the program. To be eligible, a school district would have to provide equal matching funds.
The districts also would be required to give adequate orientation and training to students, designate a school employee to coordinate the program, provide flexibility in scheduling, and give incentives for students to participate such as a special designation on their diploma.
Group Offers New Program for Gifted Minorities in N.J.
More than 100 7th graders in Newark, N.J., public schools have been selected to participate in a new program designed to place gifted and talented minority students in some of the nation's top preparatory schools.
The program, sponsored by A Better Chance Inc., an organization in Boston set up 20 years ago to place academically gifted minority students in prestigious private schools, requires students to spend an additional eight hours a week after school and on Saturdays taking intensive mathematics, reading, and writing courses.
It is the first such joint effort between abc and a public-school system, according to George Hobica, public-relations associate at abc
The goals of the program include identifying more gifted minority students in Newark's public schools and improving the students' motivation and learning skills. The Newark program also will be used as a model for other cities, Mr. Hobica said, adding that abc hopes to expand the program to other public-school systems across the country.
"We hope to help public schools identify their gifted and talented students and broaden the pool of minority students [for the abc program]," Mr. Hobica said.
The initial $50,000 funding for the program was provided by the Victoria Foundation, a New Jersey-based organization which supports educational programs in the state.
The students selected for the program this year will participate through next year, Mr. Hobica said, and abc officials are expecting about 10 percent of the group to be placed in private boarding schools.
New York City Dropout Report Criticized by Board
Local school officials have described as "incomplete" a New York City Board of Education document that examines the city's dropout rate and have criticized the citizen's group that released it to the public.
The report indicated that 11.9 percent of the system's high-school students left school during 1982-83. It projected that 40 to 43 percent of that year's 9th graders would not be in school by the spring of 1986, when they are due to graduate.
The study, made available to the press earlier this month by the Educational Priorities Panel, a coalition of civic and parent groups that monitors the school system, said that last year 31,833 of the city's 267,458 public-high-school students left school.
According to the report, more than half of the dropouts were in grades 9 and 10; most of the dropouts (about 21,000) were over 17 years old, the legal age at which students can leave school if they have parental permission.
The report said that 56 percent of the dropouts were male and 44 percent were female.
The dropout figures have remained fairly constant over the last six years, according to Susan Amlung, staff associate for the panel. Last year, projections showed that 45 percent of the students entering 9th grade would not finish high school four years later; a 1979 study based on different assumptions found that the dropout rate was ap-proximately the same.
The report said that based on past experience, 80 percent of those in retrieval centers, night school, or high-school equivalency programs never finish school.
The release of the study was not sanctioned by the school board. The report was "not ready for issuance," the board maintained. It is "incomplete," "lacking data," and "premature," said Robert Terte, a spokesman for the board.
"We believe the report is very reflective of actuality," Ms. Amlung countered. "Instead of tinkering with the numbers, they should spend more energy doing something about the problem. There has not been any coordinated or major effort to halt the dropout problem."
Mr. Terte said that the final report should be available in a few weeks.
Chancellor Urges 4-Day Experiment In New York City
Nathan Quinones, New York City's acting schools chancellor, has proposed that the school system experiment with the idea of lengthening the school day and reducing the school week to four days.
He has suggested that the fifth school day be used for extracurricular activities. Such a move, he said, might make school more attractive to some of the many students who drop out of the city's schools, in part because after-school jobs and other commitments make it impossible for them to participate in nonacademic school activities under the current schedule. The acting chancellor has said he would like to try out the idea in one or two schools.
Mr. Quinones, the former head of the city's high-school division, was recently appointed to lead the school system pending the outcome of an investigation by the city's board of education into allegations of misconduct against suspended Chancellor Anthony J. Alvarado.
Seattle N.O.W. Files Complaint Of Bias in Test
The Seattle chapter of the Nation-al Organization for Women has filed a complaint against the Seattle School District, charging that its new K-8 reading program is sexually biased.
The women's organization claims that the Prescriptive Reading Inventory program, which includes learning-objective worksheets and a testing system, features a disproportionate number of references to and pictures of men and depicts women in traditional roles, according to Ruth Balf, chairman of the chapter's task force on sexism in education. The program is also used in several other Washington State cities.
Charging that a section on occupations lists 47 positions for men and only 26 for women, Ms. Balf said, "In order for children to have equal opportunities, they need to have role models showing them the things they want to do."
The chapter has also charged that the program's section on historical biographies features 47 men and only 16 women.
"There are a lot of women in history," Ms. Balf said. "They are not mentioned because history is primarily the history of great white men."
The chapter has asked the district to remedy the bias by changing or eliminating the reading program, which is published by McGraw-Hill Inc. and was instituted last fall. District officials have until May 10 to respond to the complaint. now will appeal an unfavorable response to the school board, Ms. Balf said.
A complaint against the program has also been filed with the U.S. Education Department's office for civil rights.
A Seattle parent who is not affiliated with now last month charged that the program is racially and sexually biased. The department has not yet responded.
The National Association of Elementary School Principals has presented its third annual Distinguished Service to Children Award to Frances Kelsey of Maryland.
Dr. Kelsey, 69, was honored for her successful crusade to prevent the marketing of the sleeping pill thalidomide in the United States.
In West Germany, where the sleep-inducing drug was developed, the use of thalidomide by pregnant women was linked to many birth defects in their infants.
Typically, the infants were afflicted with a condition called phocomelia and were born with one arm missing.
Dr. Kelsey was a medical officer in the Food and Drug Administration in Washington when the drug was submitted to the federal agency for clearance. Questioning the drug's safety, Dr. Kelsey refused to give her approval until tests had been made, despite pressure from manufacturers.
Because of Dr. Kelsey's determination, naesp officials said, the drug was never marketed in the United States. Previous winners of the award were Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, and Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine.
H. Ross Perot, the Texas computer magnate who headed the state's Select Committee on Public Education, reportedly spent $500,000 of his own money to help pay for the group's 10-month study.
The committee, which was appointed by Gov. Mark White, last month recommended the establishment of a career-ladder plan for teachers, the reduction of elementary class sizes, and numerous other reforms. By one estimate, the proposals could cost $19 billion over a five-year period. (See Education Week, March 28 and April 4, 1984.)
In an article in the Austin American-Statesman, Mr. Perot said he would spend "as much as it takes" to fight the coalition of educators that he says is seeking to weaken his recommendations by concentrating only on pay raises for teachers.
The committee received $68,000 to conduct the study. Most of Mr. Perot's money was spent on consultants.
The Justice Department last week announced the creation of a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which will begin operation on May 25, National Missing Children's Day. (See Education Week, April 18, 1984.)
Alfred S. Regnery, administrator of the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention said the center would provide "a valuable federal resource" to parents, citizens, and law-enforcement agencies in helping locate, identify, and return children who have been abducted or who have run away from home.
"Most estimates place the number of missing children in the country at between 500,000 and 2 million annually," Mr. Regnery said. "Parents of missing children often discover that few tools are available to help them in their search for missing sons and daughters. ... Until now, there has been no federal program to help them."
The center will operate a toll-free telephone hotline to collect and disseminate information on sightings of missing children. It will also conduct educational programs to increase the public's awareness of the vulnerability of children to exploitation by abductors, molesters, and other criminals.
The chairman of the center's board of directors is Ernest E. Allen, chairman of the board, director of public safety for Louisville, Ky., and a chairman of the Louisville-Jefferson County task force on missing and exploited children.
John Walsh, founder of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will serve as special advisor to the center. Jay Howell, a former Florida prosecutor and Senate investigator will serve as executive director.
John Chin, the former New York City school employee whose arrest led to the suspension and investigation of Schools Chancellor Anthony J. Alvarado, was jailed last week following allegations by city prosecutors that he was a drug dealer with more than $400,000 in assets, a perjurer, and involved in loan-shark operations.
Mr. Chin, a former employee of Mr. Alvarado, had been free on $10,000 bond after his arrest Feb. 27 for firing a gun into a neighbor's apartment. But at a hearing last week, Judge Amy Juviler raised the bail to $150,000 and said it must be posted in cash or with a bail bond.
She said her decision was made "solely on the basis that this is a man with a great deal of assets and a man with the ability to move outside this jurisdiction."
Meanwhile, the city's board of education is planning to print about 71,500 new high-school diplomas because the original ones for this year's seniors bear the name of suspended Schools Chancellor Alvarado, whose case involving charges of self-dealing may not be settled by graduation day in June.
A spokesman for the board said it "is more or less understood" that the board will approve the printing of the new diplomas when it meets this week.
The new diplomas will be signed by Acting Chancellor Nathan Quinones; they will cost approximately $19,900.
2-4-6-8, Not Enough Time To Celebrate
The National Commission on Excellence in Education said it. The National Association of State Boards of Education agreed. And numerous state reform commissions have echoed the complaint: Students spend too little time on academics.
Some panels have recommended, therefore, that the school day and/or the school year be lengthened.
Now comes a booklet from the Educational Research Service that suggests a different, but quite impressive, rationale for adding that extra time.
The booklet lists at least 500 "special days and weeks" that teachers and administrators might find useful as a basis for academic or com-memorative activities.
Adults' Day on Jan. 15, President Reagan's Birthday on Feb. 6, Korean Independence Day on March 1, Sun Day on May 3, Women's Equality Day on Aug. 26, Mark Twain's Birthday on Nov. 30, and Louisiana Purchase Day on Dec. 20 constitute only a fraction of the special days that can be celebrated during the educator's year, according to the planning calendar.
The calendar also lists nationally recognized special weeks and months, legal and school holidays for each of the 50 states, and the dates of 121 annual meetings of national education organizations.
To fully celebrate, commemorate, or acknowledge this wealth of Americana would require year-round schooling at least. If states and districts do not act on the advice of the national commissions but retain their average school years of 170 days, schools will have to schedule 2.94 celebrations per diem on average to keep up with all the "specials."
So perhaps a longer school day is the way to go after all ...
"Special Days and Weeks for Planning School Calendar, 1984-85" is available for $12 from the Educational Research Service Inc., 1800 N. Kent St., Arlington, Va. 22209.
Two world-famous educators (one an octogenarian, the other a nonagenarian) died within three weeks of each other in 1952. Who were they? (Submitted by John A. Beineke, assistant professor of education, Central College, Pella, Iowa.)
(The answer will be included with next week's quiz.)
Answer to last week's quiz: The nation's first secondary-school student newspaper, The Students Gazette, was first published at Friends Latin School (now the William Penn Charter School) in Philadelphia on June 11, 1777.
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