States News Roundup
Maryland education officials this week will test a novel strategy--a "telethon"--for recruiting volunteers to work in the public schools.
They are hoping that the call-in program, dubbed "Project Reach Out," will garner as many as 100,000 hours of volunteer help for the state's schools, as well as offers from local businesses to support education.
The three-hour program--apparently the first of its kind in the nation, according to Donald H. Thoms, its executive producer--will feature a wide variety of entertainment, from selections by the jazz singer Pearl Bailey to a performance by a high-school jazz band. It will also include videotaped segments on educational volunteers, illustrating the idea that "teach6ers can't do it alone," Mr. Thoms said.
Produced jointly by Maryland Public Television and the state education department, the program will be broadcast by the state's public stations on Sept. 13. The ABC-tv affiliate in Baltimore also plans to broadcast the first hour of the program.
The provision in Pennsylvania's compulsory-attendance law that superintendents have used to deny permission for parents to educate their children at home is "unconstitutionally vague," a federal district judge has found.
Acting in a case brought by self-described "born-again, Bible-believing Christians," Judge Edwin Kosik ruled that the provision--which requires children to receive daily instruction in English "from a properly qualified tutor"--was unacceptable because it failed to specify the criteria local superintendents should use to evaluate such instruction.
Judge Kosik stayed his order to strike the provision until Dec. 31, or until the state legislature amends the home-schooling law to pass constitutional muster. A home-schooling measure is currently pending in the House education committee.
The Maine Board of Education has the legal right to require teachers to get additional academic training, the state attorney general has ruled.
The training provision is contained in new teacher-certification rules, mandated by the legislature in 1984, that went into effect in July.
But Representative Omar Norton challenged the rules, arguing that it was not fair to require veteran teachers to obtain three additional credits in their subject areas.
In its ruling, the attorney general's office found that the requirements did not violate Maine's constitution, because the state board's authority includes the adoption of teacher-certification rules.