State News Roundup
Vocational-education programs in Ohio should combine academics with vocational skills and maintain close ties to business and industry, suggests a group of 28 educators who studied the state's programs.
Noting that 57 percent of Ohio's 11th- and 12th-grade students are enrolled in vocational schools, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Secondary Vocational Education reported that "as our society and workforce become more technically dependent, additional demands and, in some instances, different alternatives must be considered in preparing high-school youth for tomorrow's jobs."
"Vocational education prepares people for employment with the capacity for continued learning," the commission's report stated.
In the report, "Keeping Vocational Education at Work," the committee made 39 long-range recommendations covering curriculum and instruction, structure, staffing, financing, accountability, and support services. The report will be used by the state department of education in policymaking and is not intended to be considered by the legislature.
Among its recommendations, the commission called for improved career-education programs; flexible scheduling for the handicapped and other children with special needs; and an expansion of the mission of area vocational schools.
Eligibility for Maine's new "recognition grant" program for teachers is being disputed after a recent survey by the state education department found that there are about 350 more teachers in the state than was anticipated when the legislature approved the program in September.
According to Richard S. Davies, special assistant to the governor, as the program now stands, the state would award a $2,000 grant to each full-time classroom teacher who completes a year of teaching and to members of certain other groups, such as guidance counselors and speech clinicians.
Gov. Joseph E. Brennan has requested $27 million to fund the program for the 1985-86 school year based on a projected total of 13,500 teachers, the aide said, but the education department survey, which is currently being verified, found that there are between 13,800 and 13,900 teachers in the state.
The current dispute, fueled by the possibility that there are more teachers up for grants than the budget can cover, involves the definition of eligibility, Mr. Davies said.
Some groups, such as the Maine Teachers Association, want to broaden the category to include all licensed personnel working in the school system, he said. However, the Governor supports the eligibility rules outlined in the current bill.
A legislative committee currently is examinining the eligibility issue and is expected to report in May.
A continuing decline in the number of public high-school graduates in California who meet entrance requirements for the California State University System is forcing state education officials to adjust the eligiblity requirements downward.
The change, to be introduced by the system's board of trustees by Feb. 1, is intended to ensure that the pool of eligible applicants expands.
The index is based on a student's high-school grade-point average and performance on standard entrance examinations. It is used to identify the top 12.5 percent of students in the state, who are eligible to attend the University of California institutions, and the top one-third of students, who are eligible to attend California State institutions.
The need for the index change was revealed by an analysis of 14,000 randomly selected transcripts of California's high-school graduates in 1983. Conducted by the California Commission on Postsecondary Education, the analysis indicated that 29.2 percent of students were eligible for the California State University system, down from 35 percent in 1976, the last time such a survey was conducted.
At the same time, about 13.2 percent of students were eligible for admission to the University of California system, down from 14.8 percent in 1976.
The need to lower the eligibility index comes at a time when the state has otherwise raised its admission standards for both systems.
New York State is producing fewer qualified mathematics and science teachers, making it difficult for schools to fill vacancies, according to a study released last week.
The study, based on a survey of 80 school superintendents by two education committees of the legislature, predicts shortages in other teaching fields as well, especially in major metropolitan areas.
"A collision of factors threatens to aggravate problems of quantity and quality--in all fields--not just math and science," the report states.
According to the study, few mathematics and science teachers are leaving the profession for higher-paying jobs elsewhere, but colleges are producing fewer new teachers, despite the rising demand for their services. At the same time, nearly half the state's teachers are expected to retire within the next 10 years, the study says, but the quality of potential replacements is declining, according to half of those surveyed.
One of the committees may also propose special scholarships to encourage students to enter teaching.