District News Roundup
A set of Haitian triplets has been denied admission to the Dade County (Fla.) Public Schools because they each have a disease believed to be a forerunner of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (aids).
Health and education officials think the rare immunity problem could endanger the health of the triplets as well as that of other schoolchildren in the district.
"This is the first time that children [seeking admission to Dade County public schools] have been diagnosed as having an aids-like illness," said Robert Adams, health coordinator for the district.
The 5-year-olds, who were born in the United States to Haitian parents, have aids-related syndrome, which results in a depressed immune system. The disease was transmitted to them from their mother, who has aids, which affects the body's disease-fighting capabilities and can be transmitted through the womb.
"The decision of the school system was that the children should not be placed in a school situation since they would be susceptible to all communicable diseases that might be brought into the school," Mr. Adams said. He added that because their immune systems are depressed, the children have not been able to receive immunity shots.
Instead, the district has recommended that a tutor teach the children in their home or in a church or community center, Mr. Adams said. That recommendation was to be considered by a panel of educators and health officials scheduled to meet late last week to discuss the case in more detail, he added.
In June, the state health department recommended to Florida schools that children with aids or related diseases be allowed to attend school, Mr. Adams said, but noted that children with aids or a related syndrome could be in danger if they "got a cut and bled, or if they had a hygiene accident."
aids, which most often affects homosexual men, hemophiliacs, drug users, and Haitians, has claimed 5,896 victims and has resulted in 2,688 deaths in the U.S. since it was first identified in 1981, according to Betty Hooper, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. There have been 69 aids cases in children under 13 since 1981.
For the first time in 59 years, students in the Dallas Independent School District this fall will not be able to obtain credit for Bible-study classes taught in church.
Credit for the classes, which have been taught in church by Sunday-school teachers using a curriculum developed by the school district, was dropped this school year due to changes in the state's graduation requirements, said Rodney Davis, director of information for the district.
Under the new stricter state requirements, the class would not count as a credit, as it has in the past, and so was dropped, according to Mr. Davis.
Teachers in suburban Chicago high schools are better educated and attended better colleges than teachers in urban Chicago high schools, according to a University of Chicago study released last week.
Gary Orfield, professor of political science at the university, said the research identifies "a key link in a chain of inequality" limiting the access of minority students to higher education.
Mr. Orfield noted that although the number of college-age blacks is rising, the number of minority students receiving college degrees in the Chicago area has dropped over the last 10 years.
According to the study, 23 percent of the city's high-school teachers obtained bachelor's degrees from Chicago State University or Northeastern Illinois University, two institutions that are considered the least competitive in the state based on the American College Testing Program scores of their graduates. In contrast, only 2.8 percent of suburban high-school teachers graduated from those universities, the report found.
Almost three times as many suburban teachers received undergraduate degrees at more competitive Illinois institutions--Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University--as did instructors in the Chicago system. Moreover, the study found that more suburban teachers held advanced degrees than did their Chicago counterparts.
The Berkeley (Calif.) Board of Education has unanimously approved a $4,000 family-violence program that will be incorporated into "social-living" classes at Berkeley High School starting Oct. 1.
The program was developed and will be presented by an adult victim of abuse who will also be available for 10 hours a week to talk to students outside of class. School officials say they believe the program is the first of its kind in the country.
The teacher will be Rana Lee, a mother of three who says she hopes to use her experience as a victim of incest and wife-beating to help break the generational cycle of violence. She conceived of the program, she explains, after she visited five Berkeley High School classes and received 105 letters from students sharing their experiences of family violence.
"These kids have not been able to talk," she said. "I'm not going to counsel them, I'm not a counselor. But I'm going to serve as a resource person."
Ms. Lee plans to present information on family violence and child abuse through guest speakers, tape-recorded interviews with abuse victims and abusers, and discussions of her own personal and professional experiences. She is also working to develop a telephone hotline teen-agers can use to discuss troubling family situations.
Boston school officials plan to ask a federal district judge to approve a "streamlined" screening process to reduce the number of acting administrators in the school system, a spokesman for the district said last week.
According to the spokesman, in its last two monitoring reports on the school system's compliance with school-desegregation orders, the Massachusetts Board of Education said the backlog of acting administrators was a problem that should be resolved before it could recommend that U.S. District Judge Arthur W. Garrity Jr. withdraw from the desegregation case.
In a 1976 order, Judge Garrity decreed that administrative positions in Boston's schools, community-district offices, and central headquarters be filled on the basis of a three-tiered screening process involving parents and school personnel. Approximately 700 administrative positions are covered by the court order.
"The process for rating administrators was so complicated and involved so many screening committees and so many groups that [Superintendent Robert R. Spillane] estimated that almost all of our time would be tied up rating new choices," the spokesman for the district said.
In order to avoid the time-consuming process, Mr. Spillane has appointed more than 350 administrators on an acting basis, he explained.
The proposed screening process would do away with the existing committees and replace them with two others, one for school-based positions and another for all other positions.
In addition, fewer people would serve on the screening panels than at present and nonacademic central-office posts would be exempt from screening, the district's spokesman said.