Federal News Roundup
Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell has announced a national project to identify exemplary compensatory-education programs, the second stage of an Education Department effort to improve Chapter 1 programs.
Last year, the department awarded competitive grants to 33 Chapter 1 projects. The recognition program, Mr. Bell said early this month, "can provide other Chapter 1 projects ... with an outstanding example of what this program can accomplish."
Chapter 1 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981--the largest federal precollegiate education program, with an appropriation of $3.7 billion for the current fiscal year--provides financial assistance to state and local education agencies to meet the educational needs of disadvantaged students.
According to Marie Robinson, a department spokesman, nominations for the Chapter 1 National Identification Program must be submitted by early January 1985 by school chiefs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. After a review by panels to be established by the department, the winners will be announced in February 1985, she said.
Meanwhile, Congressional aides were briefed last week by analysts with the National Institute of Education, which is preparing to undertake a comprehensive review of the Chapter 1 program, as mandated by the Congress.
A collective-bargaining agreement that preserves the jobs of recently hired black teachers in Jackson, Mich., does not violate the equal-protection rights of white teachers with more seniority who were laid off, a federal appeals court has ruled.
In an Oct. 25 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the race-conscious layoff policy passed constitutional muster because it was approved on four occasions by a majority of the members of the Jackson Education Association. In addition, the court said, the provision was adopted voluntarily by the union and the city's school board, unlike a similar court-mandated plan struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last June.
The court also held that evidence of chronic underrepresentation of blacks in the city's teaching force during the past 23 years justified the contract's affirmative-action provision, Jerome A. Susskind, a lawyer for the Jackson Public Schools, said.
The lawsuit, Wygand v. Jackson Board of Education, was brought by 18 white teachers who lost their jobs during a series of layoffs dating back to 1976. They claimed that the affirmative-action clause--which limits the percentage of black teachers that can be laid off to the percentage of black teachers employed at the time of the layoff order--violated their equal-protection rights under the 14th Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.