State News Roundup
Commissioner of Education Saul Cooperman of New Jersey has submitted to the state board of education a set of proposed regulations that would radically revamp the way public-school principals are trained and licensed.
Under the proposal presented to the board last month, prospective principals would be required to complete a master's degree in management or "leadership science," pass a state-developed examination, and undergo a thorough performance evaluation at a state-approved assessment center, said Leo Klagholz, director of teacher preparation and licensure for the state education department.
Candidates who successfully completed this part of the process, Mr. Klagholz said, would then have to find a district to employ them provisionally while they underwent a 60-day "pre-residency"--including some teaching experience and coursework in curriculum development and instructional supervision--and a one- to two-year residency that would be supervised by a mentor.
The most controversial provision of the plan is a proposal to eliminate teaching experience as a requirement for the principalship. Current licensure standards require principals to have at least three years of teaching experience.
Gerard T. Indelicato, the former education advisor to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of scheming to receive kickbacks from federal grants.
According to the indictment, Mr. Indelicato, who resigned as president of Bridgewater State College last month, and three others are accused of defrauding the state and the federal government of more than $70,000 in adult-education funds between 1979 and 1983. From 1983 to 1986, Mr. Indelicato was education advisor to Governor Dukakis, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for President.
Mr. Indelicato is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, three counts of making false statements on federal income-tax forms, and one count of perjury before a federal grand jury. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum penalty of 26 years in prison and $330,000 in fines.
Texas would become the sixth state to require students to pass a writing test to graduate from high school under a policy tentatively approved by the state board.
The proposal, expected to receive final approval next month, would take effect with the class of 1990. The state commissioner of education, however, has urged that the effective date be moved ahead a year, so that all students can be informed of the policy before they enter high school.
In a related development, the Texas Education Agency revealed last month that the passing rate on the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimal Skills had declined by 11 percentage points over the past year, due primarily to a new policy that raised theinued on Page 4
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passing standard on the mathematics portion of the test. The new policy requires students to answer 50 of 72 items correctly.
The state superintendent of education in Illinois suggests that Chicago's appointed school board be disbanded.
To take its place, the state chief, Ted Sanders, proposes the election of a board that would govern all of the city's high schools and several local boards that would oversee groups of elementary schools.
While disputing critics who say the beleaguered Chicago system has a "bloated bureaucracy," Mr. Sanders says an overhaul of the district's governance structure is necessary to bolster citizen and parent participation in the schools.
Such a restructuring, he told the state board of education last month, should be coupled with increased state aid to enable the district to reduce class sizes and offer more programs for the substantial number of Chicago students living in poverty.
Six public-school teachers in Ohio have filed suit against the Ohio Education Association to halt what they claim is an improper deduction of union fees from the paychecks of non-union teachers.
The teachers, who are being represented by lawyers for the national Right to Work Foundation, filed suit in U.S. district court in Akron on Dec. 30.
They seek to block fee deductions for 1988 until the judge determines if the union's procedures meet guidelines established by the U.S. Supreme Court for collecting union dues from nonmembers in so-called agency shops. Fee deductions were scheduled to begin this week.
The teachers also plan to ask that the lawsuit be certified as a class action on behalf of nonunion teachers in all 126 school districts in the state certified to collect fees from nonunion employees.
Rhode Island will have to delay requiring all high-school teachers to meet tougher certification standards because of a ruling by a state judge.
The standards, passed by the state board of regents in 1984, increased the number of credits teachers must have in their subject areas from 18 to 30. Teachers who had earned provisional certificates before that time had until Sept. 1 of this school year to meet the requirement or lose their licenses.
But Superior Court Judge Americo Campanella ruled last month that the state cannot prematurely cancel some provisional certificates, which extend until 1989 or 1990. Teachers with those certificates will not have to meet the new standards until their current licenses expire.
The Delaware affiliate of the National Education Association has filed suit in superior court challenging a new statewide policy that requires public-school teachers to work a minimum of 7 hours a day, the same number of hours as other state employees.
The lawsuit argues that the adoption by the Delaware Board of Education in November of the statewide workday definition for teachers violates the state's public-employee-relations act.
Mary Anne Galloway, president of the Delaware State Education Association, said that under the law, working conditions--which include work hours--are to be decided locally through bargaining.
More than half of Georgia educators responding to a recent survey said the state's education-reform act had not improved the quality of the public schools during the past two years. And more than 70 percent predicted that the legislation would not reduce the number of students who fail courses or drop out of school.
The survey was conducted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
One of the teachers' biggest complaints about the reform law was that its implemention required an excessive amount of paperwork. Ninety-two percent of those surveyed, for example, disagreed with a statement that the amount of paperwork required was "useful and necessary."
The association has presented a list of 12 recommendations to the Governor and other key state policymakers to reduce the paperwork burden. Among its recommendations was a suggestion that all teachers be assigned a paraprofessional to handle some of the paperwork requirements.