District News Roundup
The executive secretary of the Boston School Committee resigned last week, saying that he was frustrated with the slow pace of change in the troubled school system.
Robert W. Consalvo, who had been appointed to the position by Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, told school-committee members in a letter that he was resigning "with regret.''
"In good conscience, I cannot keep silent about the slow pace of change and reform so urgently needed in the Boston public schools,'' Mr. Consalvo wrote.
Last week, the school committee was deciding whether to accept the resignation. Mayor Flynn, who issued a statement supporting his former aide, reportedly was urging the committee to keep Mr. Consalvo on.
Mr. Consalvo touched off a political furor last month when he proposed that the school system give parents money for tuition at their choice of public or private schools if it fails to successfully educate their children after three years.
He has also criticized Superintendent Lois Harrison-Jones, saying that she has moved too slowly to fire poorly performing principals and to implement reforms in the system.
Ms. Harrison-Jones has defended her record, and said she was not surprised at Mr. Consalvo's resignation.
The resignation is the second on the board appointed by the Mayor, which replaced the elected board in January.
Mr. Conslavo did not disclose his plans.
Affirmative action is "virtually nonexistent'' in many Chicago-area public schools, according to a new report by the Chicago Urban League and the Latino Institute.
The report, which examines educational employment trends during the past decade, "demonstrates a strong persistence of segregated employment patterns and exclusion of minority professionals from many districts,'' the organizations that commissioned it said in a press release.
The report asserts that African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians are "severely underrepresented'' in teaching, administrative, and other professional staff positions. It notes, for example, that fewer than 3 percent of the area's principals are Latino or Asian, while 19 percent of the students come from those groups.
The problem is particularly severe in suburban districts, one-third of which employ no minority teachers, the report says. Among all suburbs, African-Americans and Latinos account for 11.8 percent and 8.2 percent of students, respectively, but only 4.4 percent and 1.1 percent of teachers.
The report says that the racial composition of the area's teaching force has remained nearly constant since 1980, despite the fact that the area's minority enrollment has increased significantly.
A federal judge has ordered the Atlanta school board to reinstate life-insurance benefits to five district teachers, a decision that ultimately could force the board to pay millions in benefits to teachers.
The case stems from the board's decision in June 1991 to reduce the free group life-insurance benefits the district had offered to retiring teachers since 1985.
Citing economic hardships, the board reduced the benefits for teachers who had retired before that date from $10,000 to $3,000. The board also dropped free insurance for teachers who retired after that date.
Teachers angered by the decision filed suit last December, using three retired and two currently employed teachers as test cases.
U.S. District Judge Charles A. Moye Jr. ruled this month that the board's decision violated the teachers' constitutional right to due process.
Craig Frankel, an Atlanta lawyer who represented the teachers, noted that if the decision is upheld it should apply to all the teachers who were promised the free insurance between 1985 and 1991.
"To save money in their $315 million annual budget, the board
decided to take away teachers' benefits--they didn't have to do that,''
Mr. Frankel said.