News in Brief
The Florida Supreme Court has overturned a state law that required pregnant teenage girls to get the consent of a parent before having an abortion.
In a unanimous decision, the court ruled this month that the privacy clause of the state constitution protected the right of women to obtain an abortion. By a vote of 4 to 3, the court ruled that the protection also applied to minors.
The decision came one week before the legislature, in a special session, rejected several proposals by Gov. Bob Martinez to restrict abortions.
The Florida case was filed on behalf of an unmarried 15-year-old who was afraid to tell her mother that she was pregnant.
In a related development, a federal judge in Tuscon, Ariz., has ruled that a similar parental-consent law that went into effect last month cannot be implemented until questions about its enforcement are reviewed by the state Supreme Court.
Proposition 98 "did not provide large amounts of extra revenues" for California schools, a new analysis has concluded.
The landmark initiative, adopted by California voters last fall, guaranteed the schools a set percentage of the state's future budgets.
But rising enrollments and inflation left schools with just a 1.8 percent increase in revenues per stu4dent over the two-year period between 1987-88 and the current school year, according to the study by Policy Analysis for California Education.
The report noted that California's schools will have to accommodate an estimated 171,200 new students next year.
In the 1990's, the report said, California's school funding will have to increase by nearly $26 billion, or 110 percent, just to cover enrollment growth and inflation.
Kentucky schools should adopt a new "common core of learning" that focuses on applying knowledge and skills, according to the state Council of School Performance Standards.
The council, appointed by Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson in February, recommended a plan to broaden the goals of the public schools and devise new ways of measuring student performance.
The panel set out several goals for students, including learning to apply knowledge gained at schools, working well in groups, acquiring reasoning and problem-solving skills, and becoming self-sufficient.
The council's work was originally intended to support the Governor's proposal for restrucuturing the schools. But since the state Supreme Court ruled June 8 that the state's educational system was unconstitutional, interest in the Governor's plan has waned as legislators have focused on broader restructuring efforts.
The report argues, however, that meeting the council's learning goals would also satisfy the court's guidelines for the type of students the schools should produce.
And David K. Karem, co-chairman of the curriculum subcommittee of the legislative task force undertaking the reform effort, said the council's report falls "very much in line" with goals adopted by the task force last month.
Missouri needs to focus on restructuring middle-school education, Commissioner of Education Robert E. Bartman has urged.
Mr. Bartman has invited some 5,000 citizens and educators to participate in a series of meetings that will focus on the needs of early adolescents and how schools can respond to them.
The "town hall" meetings will include a discussion of the recommendations of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development's report released last spring.
States finished the 1989 fiscal year with a combined surplus of $11.9 billion, according to a survey by the National Governors' Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.
The fiscal surplus, which was $2.1 billion above the previous year's level, represented 4.6 percent of total state expenditures, the report noted.
But the study predicted that, because of economic slowdowns in some areas and federal mandates for increased spending, the state's budgetary cushion will shrink to $9.6 billion in the new fiscal year.
Copies of the September 1989 "Fiscal Survey of the States" are available for $20 each from nga Publications, 444 North Capitol St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001.