News In Brief
Connecticut teachers may use physical force on students only under limited circumstances, under a bill approved by the legislature.
The measure, given final approval this month, revises a statute that had allowed teachers to use physical force in order to maintain discipline or promote students' welfare.
Connecticut was the only Northeastern state that permitted corporal punishment, according to the state school-psychologists association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which backed the change.
The new measure would authorize teachers to use force only to protect themselves; to take a dangerous instrument or controlled substances away from students; to protect property from damage; or to restrain a student to maintain order.
North Carolina's auditor has called for the elimination of 139 jobs in the state education department.
The report last week by State Auditor Edward Renfrow cited "fragmented authority" and a duplication of duties in the agency. It recommended that the department reduce its staff from 1,010 to 871 positions through reorganization and consolidation.
Mr. Renfrow said the department had grown "in an inconsistent manner, without any standards or criteria for uniform staffing patterns." He also said the department lacked a "formal system of documenting employees' work" and offered guidance on how to adopt one.
The study had been requested by Superintendent of Public Instruction Bobby R. Etheridge. Tony Copeland, the school chief's executive assistant, said Mr. Etheridge had already begun to reorganize the department and did not plan to fill some 70 jobs that are now vacant as a result of attrition.
Gov. Michael N. Castle of Delaware has criticized lawmakers for passing a bill that ensures that the state's prosperous northernmost county will not suffer from reduced state funding under a new equalization formula.
Despite his criticism, the Governor pledged not to veto the measure, which was passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.
The bill will prevent schools in New Castle County, where property values have risen sharply, from losing $3.1 million in state aid that, under the new formula, would have been re-allocated to schools in the state's two southern counties.
Under the bill, Kent and Sussex counties still will receive an additional $3.4 million in state aid. But Mr. Castle said the proposal "takes money off the table that potentially would have gone to the poorer districts."
Gov. Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma has signed legislation that could exempt more than 200 school districts from paying fines for violations of class-size limits.
The new law gives the state education department authority, under certain conditions, to grant districts waivers from compliance with the requirement for grades 1 through 3, said Thomas Pickens, the agency's assistant director of state aid.
The measure also raised the pupil-teacher ratio for those grades from 21 to 1 to 22 to 1. About a third of the state's 609 districts had failed to meet the requirement.
Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York has joined officials in several other states in proposing cutbacks in the number of hours that teenagers are allowed to work.
Saying after-school work should not detract from education, Governor Cuomo proposed legislation to prohibit 16- and 17-year-olds from working past 10 P.M. on school nights and limit their total amount of work each week to 28 hours. His recommendation has been endorsed by Commissioner of Education Thomas Sobol and the New York State United Teachers.
New Hampshire lawmakers voted to limit teenagers' working hours this year, and the Tennessee House is expected to act shortly on a similar bill that has already been approved by the Senate.
Similar Minnesota legislation died last month in a Senate committee.
The Louisiana Senate has passed measures to establish "drug free" zones around the state's schools and ban the prescription of anabolic steroidsfor body building.
The first bill, which was adopted unanimously, would impose the maximum possible sentence on those convicted of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, school buses, and recreation centers. It also would require school districts to hire more drug counselors and to offer students at least eight hours of instruction annually on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Under the second measure, physicians who prescribe steroids solely for "muscle enhancement" could lose their licenses to practice medicine and face up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Arizona business and educa4tion groups plan to launch a petition drive to place an education- and school-finance-reform measure on the November 1990 ballot.
According to Douglas Kilgore of the Arizona Education Association, the exact nature of the initiative has yet to be decided.
He said it would probably require the state to spend an additional $500 million to $1.1 billion over five to 10 years to help schools both increase achievement levels and graduation rates and improve students' employment skills.
Arizona Citizens for Education, the umbrella group backing the proposal, must collect more than 130,000 signatures by July 5, 1990, to place the measure on the ballot.