N.G.A. Report Finds Few Seek Waiver on Rules
Washington--The National Governors' Association last week released a report on school restructuring whose findings may indicate some initial reluctance on the part of school districts being offered relaxation of rules in exchange for greater accountability.
"It takes educators a while to learn that they can go beyond existing boundaries," said Gov. John R. McKernan of Maine in releasing the report here at the n.g.a.'s winter meeting. "The cumulative effect of many regulations built up over the years has been to create an ingrained way of thinking and operating."
His comments were in reaction to a report finding that, in the five states whose restructuring initiatives were studied, few districts have taken advantage early on of offers for waivers from regulations.
The report, State Actions To Restructure Schools: First Steps, focuses on Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington. It defines restructuring as changing what is taught, and how it is taught, to actively involve the learner.
The report is the fourth in an nga series on restructuring, and it identifies the granting of flexibility in instructional and operational matters in exchange for accountability for results as integral to program success.
The report also includes statistics on the costs of restructuring efforts, which indicate that so far they have remained relatively low.
The n.g.a. also adopted a new policy resolution on adult literacy last week that calls for increased state and federal action.
The resolution expresses the chief executives' concern over "the estimated 20 million to 40 million adults who are seriously disadvantaged in their work and everyday lives" because of limited basic skills.
The literacy problem, it says, poses serious barriers to economic growth, international competitiveness, individual self-sufficiency, and full participation in a democratic society.
The statement calls for upgrading the professional capacities of adult-literacy providers, expanding family-oriented literacy programs, and providing support for literacy initiatives in the workplace.
Such actions may be accomplished, it says, through direct funding and incentives for increased public- and private-sector investment.
The resolution also calls on the federal government to indentify, and disseminate information on, the best programs and technologies available, and to allow governors flexibility in integrating funds from existing federal programs for vocational education, job training, adult education, and welfare into literacy efforts.
The Democratic Governors' Association also released a report here outlining in capsule form the education initiatives of the Democratic governors of 29 states and two territories. Copies are available through the d.g.a., 430 South Capitol St., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.
Copies of the restructuring report are available for $7.50 each from the National Governors' Association, 444 North Capitol St., Suite 250, Washington, D.C. 20001.