News In Brief
South Carolina parents with college degrees would automatically be allowed to teach their children at home, under a measure passed by state lawmakers.
Parents with only a high-school diploma would have to pass a basic-skills test before being allowed to teach their own children. In addition, the bill would: require parents to hold a minimum of 4 hours of instruction a day for 180 days; force students to participate in the statewide testing program to enable local officials to monitor their progress; and mandate that students in the 7th grade and above have access to a library.
State officials estimate that approximately 300 children statewide are being educated at home.
Impatient with faltering efforts by Chicago's leaders to reform the city's ailing educational system, the Illinois Senate has approved a plan to grant the city's 20 school subdistricts semi-autonomous status.
The bill would allow subdistrict administrators to hire and fire teachers and other personnel. It also would allow local school-improvement councils to approve the district superintendent's selection of a principal.
The city district still would levy taxes and issue bonds. But the subdistricts, which would each enroll about 21,000 students and be governed by elected nine-member boards, would be allowed to allocate spending.
The House last week had yet to assign a companion bill to a committee.
In other action, the House has killed a bill that would have required the state to dedicate 26.63 percent of its budget to education, the proportion of state funding that went to schools in 1986-87.
Opponents said the bill, which would have cost $267 million more than Gov. James R. Thompson has proposed for education this year, was too costly.
Wisconsin lawmakers have failed to override Gov. Tommy G. Thompson's veto of a controversial measure to impose cost controls on school districts and local governments.
The measure, which was approved by the legislature in April, would have forced districts and municipalities to limit spending increases over the next four years to no more than the national rate of inflation.
Although the Republican Governor is a longtime proponent of the concept, he said he vetoed the bill because it did not go far enough.
Indiana's education department says it will let private-school students who fail the state's new competency test participate in public-school remediation programs, following a ruling on the issue by the state attorney general.
Public and private schools could lose their accreditation if their students do not meet acceptable standards on the Indiana Statewide Test for Educational Progress, which was administered for the first time to about 500,000 students in March.
Students who fail the test will be required to attend summer remedial courses. If they fail the test a second time after remediation they could be held back.
Initially, the state said it would not pay for remedial schooling
for private-school pupils. But in his May 13 opinion, Attorney General
Linley E. Pearson urged that such instruction be offered to
private-school students, citing the state's "interest in ensuring that
all Indiana children receive the necessary knowledge and skills to
become productive members of society.''