News in Brief
The Maryland legislature last week approved a bill creating a quasi-independent professional-standards board--controlled by teachers and teacher educators--to monitor licensing regulations for teachers.
The legislation converts what was formerly an advisory board for teacher certification into a co-equal partner with the state board of education.
Although the new professional-standards board will have authority to control licensing of teachers, all regulations will be subject to approval by the state board.
Jane Stern, president of the Mary4land State Teachers Association, hailed the new plan for recognizing teachers as full partners in the state's school-reform efforts.
The National Education Association has made the establishment of teacher-dominated licensing boards a major state legislative priority. While it will be controlled by teachers, the Maryland panel will not have the complete autonomy also sought by the nea (See Education Week, Sept. 13, 1989.)
The Kentucky supreme court, which ruled last year that the state's school system was unconstitutional, will not review the legislative package that was passed to meet the court ruling, the state's chief justice has confirmed.
When the court struck down the state's school system, it gave the leg8islature until July 1990 to bring the schools into compliance.
But the court did not retain jurisdiction in the case and refused the request of a lower-court judge, who originally had ruled the school-finance system unconstitutional, to retain jurisdiction.
Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens said recently that there is no precedent for the court maintaining such jurisdiction, and that the issue of whether the legislature has created a constitutional school system will not be tested in court unless a new suit is filed.
The legislature last month approved a massive reform package, which Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson signed last week.
Wisconsin vocational-technical students will no longer have to pay a higher tuition to attend a school in another district, under a bill passed by the legislature.
Previously, students who attended vocational-technical schools outside of their own districts could be required to pay as much as $35 more for every course credit they earned, according to Edward Chin, assistant state director for vocational, technical, and adult education.
Under the new law, however, all of the state's 436,000 vocational-technical students will be allowed to pay the same tuition for the same kinds of programs, regardless of where they attend school.
The legislation, which Gov. Tommy G. Thompson is expected to sign, also provides $1.5 million a year to compensate schools that lose money as a result of the change.
Gov. Booth Gardner of Washington has vetoed a bill exempting school-board members from a state law barring local officials from doing business with the jurisdictions they represent.
The measure had been crafted, in part, to help a businessman retain his seat on the Vancouver school board. State officials had ruled that, under the existing ethics statute, Kyle Corwin had to resign from the school board because his family soft-drink firm had longstanding business dealings with student groups in the district. (See Education Week, March 14, 1990.)
The bill passed the legislature without opposition, despite warnings from some state officials that it could undermine efforts to prevent conflicts of interest.
Mr. Gardner vetoed the bill last month without comment. An aide to the Governor said he did so after Mr. Corwin resigned from the board.
Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson of Kentucky has signed a bill to deny driving privileges to dropouts.
In doing so, however, Mr. Wilkinson criticized a key amendment to the bill and called on the legislature to change it.
The bill allows the state to deny a driver's license to youths under age 18 who drop out of school or who are not making satisfactory progress toward graduation. (See Education Week, April 4, 1990.)
While expressing support for the basic idea of the bill, the Governor said he disapproved of a House-passed provision to restrict its applicability to districts that offer an alternative-education program approved by the state education department.
Mr. Wilkinson noted that very few districts currently offer alternative programs, and none are approved by the department.
Districts that do not wish to adopt the sanctions, he warned, may intentionally avoid establishing alternative programs.
Oklahoma legislation banning the hazing of high-school and college students has died in the Senate.
The bill would have imposed fines of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for organizations found to have engaged in hazing.
The measure cleared the House without opposition. But the Senate version is not expected to emerge from committee, according to an aide to its sponsor, Senator Gary Gardenhire.
Arkansas teachers will receive an unexpected raise because state tax collections are higher than expected, state leaders have decided.
The state finance department revised its revenue estimates upward at the beginning of the month, giving the education department a $10.1-million windfall. State law requires that $1 million of the money go toward programs to help low-achieving students.
The state board of education voted last week to distribute the remaining $9.1 million to school districts. The money will be allocated according to the state's school-funding formula.
In releasing the extra money, the board recommended that it be used to fund teacher pay raises. By law, districts must use at least 56 percent of the money for teachers' salaries.
But the board and Gov. Bill Clinton recommended that districts give teachers as much of the new money as possible. Schools should "go beyond the minimum," the Governor said.