State News Roundup
As part of a nationwide effort to strengthen arts and humanities instruction, the Rockefeller Foundation has awarded $450,000 to improve the way Arkansas schools teach about the literature, art, history, and culture of other countries.
Under the project, announced last week by Gov. Bill Clinton, the Arkansas International Center of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will train interdisciplinary teams of teachers from eight districts, who will create model "global education" curricula.
The center has trained more than 1,000 teachers since 1984, when the state mandated that schools provide global education. The new grant will enable teachers from across the state--including those in remote rural areas--to "do innovative work" in the field, said Susan Wilkes, the center's executive director.
"The goal is to develop models for an ap6proach to global education that would be available to every schoolchild in Arkansas," she said.
The project is funded by the foundation's Collaboratives for Humanities and Arts Teaching project, a network of programs in nine urban districts and the rural areas of both Arkansas and South Carolina.
A group of private day-care center operators has lost a round in its legal effort to block the proposed expansion of Florida's state-run pre-kindergarten program.
Education Commissioner Betty Castor has pushed the program as an answer to the state's high dropout rate.
Under Ms. Castor's plan, a pre-kindergarten program that was tested in a few counties last year would be expanded to cover the whole state, and funding would be increased from $1.7 million to $23 million.
Legislation to expand the project was defeated in the last moments of this year's legislative session. However, lawmakers did set aside $23 million for it.
The Florida Association of Child Care Management has sought to block that funding in court, arguing that there was no specific legislative authority for the proposal, according to an attorney for the state board of education. A Leon County Circuit Court judge rejected the private group's argument this month.
Poor families in Washington State often cannot provide enough food for their young children, a survey by the Governor's Task Force on Hunger has found.
More than 20 percent of the 789 low-income families with one or more children under age 12 surveyed said they did not have enough money to feed their children adequately. Approximately 40 percent of the lower-income families with young children in Seattle and the Yakima/Wapato area said hunger was a problem in their household.
Hungry children are more likely to have health problems and miss school more often, the study noted.
The study was conducted with the aid of the Food Research and Action Center, which is based in Washington, D.C. Frac officials said they planned to help local groups in seven states carry out similar surveys in the next year.