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The Selma, Ala., public schools were closed last week when protests over the firing of the district's first black superintendent escalated into violent confrontations between whites and blacks.

Black students and protest leaders occupied Selma High School and city hall last week in an effort to wrest concessions from the city council, which appoints school-board members.

The city has been wracked by protests and school boycotts since December, when the school board, citing negative job evaluations, voted along racial lines not to renew the contract of superintendent Norward Roussell. (See Education Week, Jan. 24, 1990.)

But tensions reached new heights last week after the board summarily fired Mr. Roussell--a decision it was forced to rescind a few days later. At least two people were hospitalized, one from a gunshot wound, and four protest leaders were arrested during last week's incidents.

Carl Barker, president of the Selma school board, did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the board's action. It was unclear when the schools might reopen.


The Idaho Board of Education has voted to create an alternative route to teacher certification for people without formal training in education.

The board's 6-to-2 vote last month reversed an earlier tie vote by which the board defeated the proposal. (See Education Week, Nov. 8, 1989.)

The plan calls for a four-member panel to develop individual study plans for prospective teachers, who will teach at the high-school level only. Each candidate for certification will be required to complete nine hours of coursework in education each of two summers, while serving a four-semester, paid internship in a school.

After a candidate has completed the coursework and internship, the panel will make a recommendation on licensure.

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