People News Roundup
Shirley Hufstedler, the first U.S. Secretary of Education, has added her voice to the chorus of critics calling for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese.
Appearing at a press conference sponsored by her California law firm, Ms. Hufstedler said late last month that Mr. Meese's unwillingness to step down from his post in the face of repeated allegations of misconduct sends the wrong message to the nation's schoolchildren:
"We can tell youngsters all we want to that they ought to behave in a particular way, but if what they observe is to the contrary--from people they have been taught they ought to respect--then education delivers a message that is indelible and exactly contrary to the message we most deeply want young people to have.''
She was joined in her criticism of Mr. Meese by two other prominent California lawyers, Leo McCarthy, the state's lieutenant governor, and Joseph Mandel, a former president of the Los Angeles Bar Association.
The Georgia Coalition Against Censorship, a group of parents who fought the efforts of another parents' group to remove books from the Gwinnett, Ga., district's curriculum, has received the 1987 Freedom to Learn Award from the public-interest group People for the American Way.
The annual award, now in its fourth year, is given to local organizations that have opposed censorship in the public schools. The Georgia Coalition was founded in 1985 in response to another group, Citizens for Excellence in Education, which had pushed the district to ban the Judy Blume novel Deenie.
Christine Winokur, president of the coalition, said the group's efforts to fight CEE would now be focused on the state's upcoming textbook adoptions and the election of anti-censorship school-board members.
Massachusetts should break the "monopoly'' that education schools hold on teacher training by passing a 10-year "moratorium'' on teacher-certification requirements, John Silber, president of Boston University, told an audience of Massachusetts school-board members last month.
In an April 28 speech before the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the university president said that "the willingness to endure four years in a typical school of education often constitutes an effective negative intelligence test.''
He proposed that for the next decade, Massachusetts schools be free to recruit qualified college graduates with majors in academic subjects, whether or not they have had any education courses. "I believe if we could get this experiment underway in one state, the improvement of its educational program would be so swift and so dramatic that parents and taxpayers in each of the other 49 would demand and get its establishment there,'' he stated.
In a speech that touched on subjects ranging from testing to values education, Mr. Silber also termed bilingual-education programs "a recipe for disaster''; proposed making educational day care available to children ages 3 to 12 on all working days of the year, without regard to school vacations; and argued that "money spent has very little to do with educational achievement.''
But money does appear to be an issue in Mr. Silber's proposal that
his university take over the operation of a Massachusetts school
district. Boston University has offered to help the Chelsea School
Committee run its schools, following a study the university made of the
school system. But the university has contended that it would need
twice the present school budget to make desired improvements. Frank
Herlihy, superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools said that
discussions about the proposal will take place during the months ahead.
A similar offer by Mr. Silber to take over the Boston public schools
was rejected in 1985.