State News Roundup
N.H. Panel Asks Why 40 Percent Of Those Certified Are Not Teaching
A committee established by the New Hampshire legislature is trying to find out why two-fifths of the state's 19,000 certified teachers are no longer teaching in public schools.
In questionnaires recently sent to 7,678 people who hold valid certifications but are not teaching in the state, the panel also asks what might entice them to return to the profession.
"I suspect many of them have no need or intention of working in public schools,'' said Gerald Daley, superintendent of the Dover Public Schools and chairman of the panel. "Some are out of state.''
"But until we look at the numbers, we won't know,'' he said.
Mr. Daley added that raising teacher salaries may be a way to draw some teachers back into classrooms. With an average teacher salary of $22,011, New Hampshire currently ranks 42nd overall in the nation, according to the U.S. Education Department.
But teachers may also indicate that they would return to schools if districts offered child care or job-sharing opportunities, Mr. Daley said. "That's good information for districts to have,'' he said.
The panel--which includes representatives from the state House and Senate, the governor's office, the education department, and teachers', administrators', and school-board groups--was created by the legislature in 1987 to study the extent of New Hampshire's teacher shortage.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has let stand a lower-court decision limiting to $300,000 the Oklahoma City School District's liability for a 1982 explosion that killed six people at a district school.
The April 5 decision involved a suit brought against the district by the families of five children who died and others who were injured in the explosion of a water heater at the Star Elementary School. The lower court ruled that the state's Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act limited the district's liability for the accident.
The lower court had held that a $300,000 payment from the district to the families relieved the district, its employees, and its insurance company of all liability.
School districts in Pennsylvania are obligated to provide individualized programs for highly able students, the state's supreme court has ruled.
The court's ruling last month that it was not enough for a district to place gifted students in enrichment programs upheld the position of two parents who sued the Bucks County Centennial School District in 1981.
The plaintiffs argued that their son needed accelerated instruction in reading and mathematics in addition to instruction as part of the school's enrichment program.
Lawyers for the school district maintained that providing individualized coursework for gifted students would be too expensive.
The high court's opinion, written by Justice John P. Flaherty, said that districts must provide individualized programs within their resources, but are not required to take such extraordinary steps as hiring individual tutors.