States News Roundup
If current trends continue, Maryland colleges and universities will produce only 3,150 graduates in the spring of 1987, but the state will need 9,024 new teachers the following fall, the report said.
The greatest need will be for elementary-school and special-education teachers, according to the report.
Some districts are already having difficulty finding qualified teachers. School officials in Baltimore said the city school system hired 32 teachers this year who failed to pass a test of basic writing competency; another 100 teachers who failed the basic-skills examination were hired last year and remain on the staff, school officials said.
In addition, Alice Pinderhughes, superintendent of Baltimore schools, said last week that 98 vacancies are currently being filled by long-term substitutes--many of them high-school graduates who are paid just above the minimum wage.
Education department officials are opposed to using noncertified individuals to fill vacancies, a spokesman said last week.
A Helena, Mont., school-district regulation requiring students to have a C average in order to participate in extracurricular activities does not violate the state constitution's guarantee of equal educational opportunity, a state judge has ruled.
"Participation in extracurricular activities is not a fundamental constitutional right," District Judge Frank Davis said last month in rejecting a request by 22 parents of Helena students to strike down the rule.
The Helena regulation, which became effective earlier this year, reflects a growing movement by states and local districts to link academic performance to eligibility for extracurricular activities.
Judge Davis cited more than 30 court rulings supporting his position, including the recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court on that state's "no-pass, no-play" regulation.
Several other districts in Monta-na are currently considering the adoption of extracurricular-eligibility rules similar to Helena's, according to the state office of public instruction.
Eighty-five percent of varsity football players at Texas high schools passed all their courses in the first six-week grading period this fall and are thus eligible to play ball under the state's controversial "no-pass, no-play" rule, Gov. Mark White announced last week.
Failure rates for the fall's first grading period were higher among all high-school students, ranging from about 33 percent to 40 percent, according to James Clark, director of school liaison for the Texas Education Agency. Most of the students affected, he said, were 9th and 10th graders.
The regulation, which affects Texas's 1,100 school districts and was approved in 1984 with the Governor's strong support, requires high-school students to pass all courses with a grade of 70 to be eligible to participate in sports or other activities. Those who fail at least one course are prohibited from taking part in sports and other after-school activities for the next six weeks.
Since the rule went into effect last January, it has been the subject of 35 local court challenges. This past summer, in a unanimous decision, the Texas Supreme Court declared the regulation constitutional.
However, the plaintiffs in that case, a group of parents from Houston, have filed a class action in state district court. Since the high court's ruling was on a temporary injunction banning the regulation, the new case seeks to overturn the rule permanently, according to the attorney general's office.
The case is to be tried Nov. 18.
Both houses of the Wisconsin legislature this month unanimously approved a package of measures designed to lower the state's abortion rate by reducing the rate of teen-age pregnancy.
The legislature appropriated $750,000 to finance the package, which was developed by a special legislative study committee on preg-nancy options.
If signed by Gov. Anthony S. Earl, the measures will:
Require each school district to appoint a board to consider adoption of "human growth and development instruction" in the curriculum.
Expand a statewide program to help both teen-age mothers and fathers finish school.
Establish a statewide adoption center, an adoption hotline, and programs for adolescent-pregnancy prevention, all to be administered by the department of health and social services.
Make the parents of both the teenage mother and the teen-age father equally liable for the financial responsibility of raising the baby until the parents of the baby reach age 18. The liability statute would remain in effect through 1989 and would then be reviewed by the legislature.
Meanwhile, in a concurrent special session called by the Governor to consider economic and education-related issues, lawmakers approved the one precollegiate measure on the agenda--a bill authorizing $1- million in grants to school districts to support pilot projects in vocational education.
Gov. Richard Thornburgh of Pennsylvania said this month that he would support legislation to require vocational-education programs to achieve certain job-placement rates for their graduates in order to continue to receive state funding.
In proposing new standards for the state's secondary and postsecon-dary vocational programs, the Governor said there was "little evidence that vocational education is either meeting the needs of students or of the employers who are expected to hire them."
The new standards would require programs to demonstrate that "a majority" of graduates either had jobs related to their field of study or were enrolled in a related postsecondary vocational-technical program. The required placement rate in each district would be tied to local economic indicators.
The Governor's proposal would also require all new vocational courses to be justified by local labor-market information and supported by local employers, beginning in the 1986-87 school year.
New Jersey's "alternative route to certification" recruited 121 of the 1,200 new public-school teachers hired statewide this fall, education officials reported this month.
Of the 121 "provisional-teacher candidates," 22 percent held a master's degree or doctorate and 74 percent had an undergraduate grade-point average of B or higher, according to Leo Klagholz, director of the state education department's bureau of teacher preparation and certification.
In addition, 71 percent of the provisional candidates had prior teaching experience, he noted. Thirteen were minorities and 69 were women, he added.
Almost half of the candidates were hired to teach mathematics or science, "areas where we may expect the greatest future staff shortages,'' Mr. Klagholz said.
Proposed by Gov. Thomas H. Kean in 1983 as a way of attracting talented individuals who do not have professional education training to teaching, the "Provisional Teacher Program" was adopted by the state board of education last year.
Fifteen of the alternative-route candidates, who were deemed "outstanding," received $5,000 stipends from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to finance their teacher training and future graduate study.