National News Roundup
A negotiator from the Colorado labor department stepped in to a contract dispute last week between Denver teachers and the school district. Teachers in the 63,000-student district were threatening to walk out this week if they could not resolve disagreements over salaries, working conditions, and school-based governance.
Teachers in four Pennsylvania districts, meanwhile, continued their strikes and were joined by a fifth, the 3,800-student Ringgold district.
Elsewhere, negotiations were proving fruitful. New York City school principals, upset over "unconscionable delays" in settling their contract, had threatened to strike later this month. But the city's Council of Supervisors and Administrators reached a tentative agreement with the board of education last week.
A conflict-mediation program for Massachusetts high schools and a televised teachers' workshop are among 10 winners of the Ford Foundation's annual competition for innovative state- and local-government initiatives.
The Student Conflict Resolution Experts program was established by Attorney General Scott Harshbarger of Massachusetts to train students to defuse violent or potentially violent disputes. Launched as a pilot project in two schools, it has expanded to 20 schools in 10 cities.
"Here, Thayer, and Everywhere," a professional-development program for teachers, is broadcast monthly from Thayer High School in Winchester, N.H. Approximately 5,000 viewers at 550 sites nationwide watch the program.
Each program will receive a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, whichsponsors the competition with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The winners, selected from a pool of 1,300 applicants, were announced at the White House last Thursday by Vice President Gore.
Detention Facilities Lacking
Three out of four public and private juvenile jails and detention centers nationwide fail to provide adequate bed space, health care, security, or suicide-prevention practices, a U.S. Justice Department study has found.
Among its recommendations are that large dormitories be eliminated, that juveniles be screened for suicide risk upon admission, and that constant monitoring be provided for those who are suicidal.
Single copies of the research summary, "Conditions of Confinement: Juvenile Detention and Corrections Facilities" (NCJ-141873), are available from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, Box 6000, Rockville, Md. 20850; or by calling (800) 638-8736.