State News Briefs
An injunction issued by a lone circuit-court judge ordering striking teachers across West Virginia to return to their classrooms last March was illegal, the state supreme court has ruled.
Handed down this month, the unanimous ruling by the state's highest court said Kanawha County Circuit Judge John Hey had overstepped his jurisdiction when he issued the injunction against striking teachers statewide.
State officials said they had sought a statewide order from the single court so that each school board in the state would not have the expense of filing an individual suit. The West Virginia Education Association subsequently sued to block the injunction.
Noting that this action settled the last outstanding issue in the 11-day strike, William B. McGinley, general counsel for the teachers' union, said the ruling "upholds the notion that decisions concerning injunctions must be made on a county-by-county basis and the state superintendent should not inject himself into the local employment relationship to that extent."
State Superintendent of Schools Henry Marockie said that although the decision puts to rest the current issue, it opens debate about future legal actions the state might take on issues affecting more than one county.
Texas schools that improved their scores on standardized tests will share nearly $8 million in bonuses, Gov. Bill Clements announced recently.
Incentive awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 will be given to 279 schools, state officials said. The bonuses can be used at schools' discretion as long as the money is not earmarked for salary increases or athletics.
Schools were judged on their students' gains on the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills. Results of college-entrance examinations were also considered in making awards to high schools.
The awards, proposed by Governor Clements last year and established by the legislature, require each winning school to empanel a committee to decide how the bonus money should be spent. The program also will provide about $2 million for incentive awards this spring based on schools' effectiveness in reducing the number of dropouts, officials said.
In addition to the cash awards, the Governor's Educational Excellence Awards for Gains in Performance also recognized 374 schools for exemplary performance. Those schools, presented with citations, were recognized for having average test scores at least 10 percent above the state average on the state assessment.
Texas officials said that although this year's awards were based on state test scores, in the future the criteria will include such factors as attendance, parental involvement, graduation rates, and national test scores.
Kentucky's higher-education council has moved to modify college-entrance requirements in an effort to get more high-school students into higher-level courses.
The requirements, which will take effect in the 1994-95 school year, will not alter the number of credits needed to enter a state college or university, but will force students to take algebra II and biology. Those courses are now considered electives and are often replaced by general mathematics and science courses, said Michael Gardone, the council's deputy executive director for academic affairs.
Beginning in the 1992-93 school year, the state also will begin lowering the number of exceptions it allows under the entrance rules, from 20 percent of all admissions to 5 percent by the fall of 1994. The requirements do not apply to students enrolling at the state's community colleges.
In accepting the modifications, some council members warned that the stiffer requirements could hamper black enrollments at the University of Louisville, where two-year programs are more limited than at other state colleges. But Mr. Gardone added that officials are studying the Louisville situation and are prepared to work out accommodations.