State News Roundup
An Alabama couple who had been jailed for 18 weeks for hiding their children from state juvenile-justice authorities was released last week.
Edmund and Sharon Pangelinan were released after Morgan County District Judge David Bibb ruled that their children, whom the couple removed from the Decatur City Schools on religious grounds in 1983 and kept in hiding in Tennessee, could not be considered "unsupervised, truant, and out of control" un-der Alabama law at the time the state filed its truancy suit, according to A. Eric Johnston, the couple's lawyer.
Following that ruling, a circuit-court judge released the Pangelinans from the Morgan County Jail.
According to Mr. Johnston, the children have been living with a family in Tennessee, where compulsory-education statutes are more lenient in allowing for home schooling. While the Pangelinans were in jail, a Tennessee juvenile court granted temporary custody of their children to Steve and Lydia Saunders, who have been educating the children at home.
The Pangelinans had been convicted of contributing to the delinquency of minors under state compulsory-education laws. A later appeal before a jury had failed to overturn the conviction, Mr. Johnston said.
Gov. William A. O'Neill of Connecticut has signed legislation raising the state's drinking age from 20 to 21, and Gov. Mario M. Cuomo has signed a measure that raises New York's drinking age from 19 to 21.
Thirty-two other states have laws that set the minimum drinking age at 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Coalition of Northeastern Governors--which includes the governors of eight states--approved a resolution in January to establish a uniform regional drinking age of 21 by June 1.
Thus far, seven of those states--Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island--have set their drinking age at 21.
New York's law goes into effect Dec. 1.
Only Vermont has yet to change its law. A bill to raise the drinking age was defeated in the state House last session.
Under a law approved by the U.S. Congress last year, states could lose up to 10 percent of their federal highway funds if they do not adopt a minimum drinking age of 21 by Sept. 1, 1986.
A recent change in Maryland's home-education regulations has drawn an angry response from the leader of a home-schooling coalition who says the law interferes with "parents' rights to educate their children.'' The bylaw, which redefines the term "nonpublic schools," was passed by the state board of education July 31 to close a "loophole" in Maryland's home-education law, according to Gus Crenson, a spokesman for the state department of education.
The original definition had allowed home educators to become "satellites" of certain private religious schools by purchasing curricula from those schools, thus bypassing the state's home-education requirements, Mr. Crenson said.
Under Maryland law, local school superintendents must review home-education curricula and teacher qualifications.
Manfred Smith, coordinator of the Maryland Home-Education Association, said his 400-member group will lobby for legislation to "define very clearly the rights of parents" to educate their children at home without state supervision.
Mr. Smith, a teacher in the Montgomery County, Md., public schools, educates his two children at home.
Entrance requirements at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College will be raised in 1988 to reflect and reinforce the state's high-school-graduation standards for college-bound students.
The Rhode Island Board of Governors of Higher Education approved the changes this month, with the expectation that the new requirements will encourage students to pursue a college-preparatory program in high school.
The Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education established gradua-tion requirements for college-bound students in 1983 when it raised requirements for all students. But students have been under no compulsion to commit themselves to the more rigorous program.
Rhode Island College plans to adopt the higher graduation standards intact, while the university will substitute an elective for half-year requirements in the arts and computer literacy. Rhode Island Community College will retain a policy of open admissions.
The new requirements include four years of English, three of mathematics, two of science, and two of foreign languages.
An Alabama task force has proposed allowing individuals who have not taken education courses in college to become teachers by completing a one-year master's program.
At present, state standards require those interested in becoming teachers to complete an undergraduate teacher-preparation program, regardless of the other degrees they hold.
State Superintendent of Educa8tion Wayne Teague created the task force of educators and community representatives early in 1985 to suggest alternative routes to certification for non-education majors.
The proposed changes should "attract another whole corps of highly qualified people into the teaching profession," said Milly Cowles, chairman of the task force and dean of the school of education at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Ms. Cowles presented the preliminary recommendations to the state board of education's advisory committee on teacher certification this month. A final report will be ready in mid-September.