District News Roundup
A legal-aid organization has filed a class action against the Chicago Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Education, charging that thousands of Chicago-area homeless children are being denied their right to a free public education.
The Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago contends that many of the children have been unnecessarily prevented from attending the school at which they were enrolled before they became homeless. The group also alleges that the Chicago schools have failed to eliminate other barriers hampering the children's access to education, such as inadequate means of transportation, and have not informed parents of their right to appeal decisions to move their children to a new school.
Ted D. Kimbrough, the general superintendent of the Chicago schools, Robert Leininger, the state superintendent of education, and John Edwards, the state's coordinator of education for homeless children, are also named as defendants.
A Potomac, Md., teenager has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges in what is believed to be the first criminal prosecution involving cheating on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
Late last month, Lawrence Adler, 18, a recent graduate of Winston Churchill High School, filed a plea memo with the Montgomery County Circuit Court, admitting to perjury and subornation of perjury.
In his statement, Mr. Adler acknowledges that he and a friend lied during a March hearing of a civil suit he had filed against the Educational Testing Service. He filed the suit in an effort to force the E.T.S., which administers the S.A.T., to confirm his test scores.
During the hearing, Mr. Adler and a friend, David Srulevich, testified that Mr. Adler took the S.A.T. at a Beltsville, Md., high school in November. In the plea-bargain arrangement, Mr. Adler admits that he hired a University of Virginia freshman to take the test for him. Mr. Srulevich, who was indicted separately, recently agreed to plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice.
Mr. Adler was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury in June, and subsequently was fined $5,000 by a circuit judge for filing a fraudulent lawsuit.
He faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for each of the two counts.
The Paterson, N.J., schools have demonstrated "good progress'' since the state installed a new administration last year to run the academically and fiscally deficient district, according to the first assessment by the Paterson Advisory Board.
In a letter accompanying the June 17 report, Charles L. Walker, the chairman of the advisory board and a local businessman, congratulated Laval S. Wilson, the state-installed schools superintendent, and his cabinet "for receiving the highest overall rating'' given by the board.
In its assessment of 10 categories ranging from management reorganization to education-program reform, the advisory body overwhelmingly found the district had made "progress'' or "good progress'' in upgrading the system.
Only in the area of repairing and renovating school facilities did the district get low marks or did board members find insufficient information to assess any headway.
Paterson was the second New Jersey district to be taken over by the state, following Jersey City.
After weeks of debate, the New York City Board of Education has agreed on a revised AIDS-education curriculum and teaching guide for elementary schools.
The 119-page teaching guide, originally proposed by Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez, was altered in June after criticism from board members.
But the guide remains largely intact, including a lesson that allows condoms to be discussed in the 4th grade if both the local school board and the classroom teacher believe it is appropriate, said Sarah Williams, a spokesman for the chancellor.
Discussion of condom use is mandatory beginning in the 5th grade, she added.
Deleted from the guide are mentions of specific forms of intercourse--vaginal, oral, and anal--during discussion of transmission of the virus that causes AIDS and of a discussion for 4th graders on how to clean needles for intravenous injection.
Added to the guide is a statement in the introduction that abstinence is the "most appropriate'' way to avoid AIDS.
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has said he agrees with and intends to implement the recent recommendations of a three-member panel he convened last October to advise him on the issue of priests' sexual misconduct with minors.
The commission, which included a juvenile-court judge, issued a 93-page report in June.
The panel recommended creation of a nine-member review board, primarily made up of lay people, to handle allegations of misconduct and monitor cases; appointment of a professional case manager to investigate allegations and do case follow-up; establishment of a 24-hour telephone hotline to receive reports; and enhancement of outreach efforts to victims, their families, and parish communities.
The panel also called for more comprehensive screening and training of seminarians.
Since the commission convened last fall, five priests have been
removed from parish work on its recommendations. The archdiocese is in
the process of removing eight other priests and reassigning them to
Vol. 11, Issue 40, Page 3