State News Roundup
Student achievement in Maryland schools is improving slowly, but academic and social performances still meet only 5 of 13 standards adopted in 1990, according to a report released by the state last week.
The second annual Maryland School Performance Program Report showed that the percentage of 11th graders who passed a statewide reading test had reached the cutoff for an excellent rating last year. Promotion rates in grades 1 to 6 had also attained that level. In addition, the percentage of 11th graders passing a writing test and passing all tests, as well as the school- attendance rates in grades 1 to 6, was satisfactory.
But 11th graders' performance in mathematics and citizenship, attendance rates in grades 7 to 12, and dropout rates in grades 9 to 12 all failed to reach a satisfactory rating. Moreover, first- time test takers from grades 9 and 10 failed to reach satisfactory passing rates in all academic categories. Scores for first-time test takers improved slightly over last year in reading, math, and citizenship, but declined in writing, from 88.4 percent passing to 83.2 percent passing.
The measurements were adopted in 1990 as part of a statewide education-reform package. This year, for the first time, the report includes performance data on each of Maryland's 24 school districts.
Teachers in West Virginia have filed a lawsuit against the state Public Employees Insurance Agency, claiming breach of contract.
The suit, filed this month in federal court, argues that members of the West Virginia Federation of Teachers should not be forced to pay health-insurance premiums and co-payments that employers previously covered.
Under a new benefit plan, which took effect in January, some teachers will pay more in health- insurance costs than they received in salary increases this year, said Steve Angel, a staff representative for the union, which represents about 3,700 teachers.
Teachers received $1,000 raises, he said, while some will pay as much as $1,300 for health insurance.
The suit also claims that the P.E.i.A. Was illegally constituted and that the state legislature abdicated its responsibilities to the state agency.
While denying the allegations, Sally Richardson, director of the P.E./.A., said she did not want to comment on specifics. .