State News Roundup
The Illinois High School Association last month voted to expand and elaborate on its definition of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable practices of attracting students. The current definition merely prohibits the use of "undue influence" to secure or retain the attendance of a student.
David Fry, the executive director of the high-school association, said the group based its decision in part on the recommendations of a special committee formed to improve the relationships among various factions that perceived inequities between public and nonpublic member schools.
The new rules are also expected to prevent many of the abuses that have been witnessed or documented in recent years. In a recent series, The Chicago Tribune recounted the pervasive use of questionable tactics to lure grade-school students to particular high schools.
"We want to build a barrier that protects kids and high-school athletics against the ... abuses," said Mr. Fry.
One new provision curtails the role of high-school coaches in dealing with pre-high school youths. Another forbids high schools to place an overemphasis on their athletic programs at the expense of academic and other extracurricular programs during presentations to children in the lower grades.
New York State Teachers Charge Sex Bias in Pension System
A group of nearly 1,200 teachers in New York State has filed a complaint with the state's equal-employment-opportunity commission asking for an investigation of whether the New York Teachers' Retirement System discriminates against women.
New York's four-tiered pension plan reduces benefits for teachers who leave their positions temporarily to care for children or aging parents, or who leave the state to follow a spouse who is changing jobs. Upon their return, the teachers are placed in a lower tier of the pension plan, causing them to lose an estimated $8,000 to $11,000 annually in retirement benefits, according to Lisa Maurer, a lawyer representing the coalition of complainants, all of whom are currently teaching.
"In a system where the overwhelming majority are women," the affidavit reads, "this pension plan conforms to and rewards the male work pattern" of uninterrupted long-term service for a single employer.
The complainants seek to recover prior contributions they made to the retirement system, which are estimated at more then $14 million, and another $3.5 million annually until their retirements to bring them to the level of top-tier benefits.
The Nevada Supreme Court has overturned a lower-court ruling and ordered a trial in an educational-malpractice case filed against a Washoe County private school.
The high court, in a 5-to-0 ruling, last month held that there were enough facts to support a claim of breach of contract and misrepresentation against Cambridge School by Bonnie and Burke Squires on behalf of their son Brandon.
The court did not rule on the educational-malpractice claim itself.
The parents, who enrolled the boy in the private school specifically because they feared he might have trouble learning to read, maintain that the school exposed Brandon to inexperienced teaching interns.
In addition, they charge, the school failed to notify them of any reading problems for four years until they received a fourth-quarter report recommending that Brandon repeat the 2nd grade.
Brandon, who has been identified as extremely bright, subsequently enrolled in a public school only to be retained because of his poor reading skills. As of February, he was a 12-year-old 4th grader, court documents said.
The boy alleges injury to his mental and emotional development, according to the court ruling, and his parents allege monetary damages in the form of wasted tuition and the cost of three years of private tutoring.
Vol. 11, Issue 17, Page 2