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District Chief Is Fired After Failing Exam

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The Jackson, Miss., school board voted last week to terminate Superintendent T.C. Wallace's contract as of June 30 after the superintendent failed one section of the National Teachers Examination.

The state board of education requires superintendents to pass both the "core battery" and the administration and supervision section of the NTE to become certified.

Mr. Wallace fell 5 points shy of the state-set passing score of 646 out of possible 690 on the general-knowledge section of the core battery, a multiple-choice test with 120 questions on social studies, math, literature and fine arts, and science.

But he scored well above the 590 minimum score on the administrative section of the test, scoring 710 out of a possible 850.

Mr. Wallace took the test in March, nine months after taking office in the 33,000-student district. He previously was the superintendent of the 1,900-student Buena Vista schools in Saginaw, Mich., for nine years.

Mr. Wallace's one-year provisional certificate expires June 30. He is registered to take the NTE core battery again July 13, but he may ask the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., to rescore his original exam by hand, rather than by machine, or try to arrange a special, earlier test date for a fee of $800, according to media reports in Jackson.

Recent Troubles

Mr. Wallace's NTE performance capped a series of troubles in recent months. The district's spokeswoman, Elayne Hayes-Anthony, has filed a sexual-harassment complaint against Mr. Wallace with the Jackson office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And the state is seeking repayment of $137,800 for the salaries of three administrators who came with Mr. Wallace from Buena Vista but later resigned when they did not meet state certification requirements.

Recent months have marked a reversal of fortune for Mr. Wallace. In January, the board gave him a favorable six-month evaluation and voted to extend his three-year contract by one year.

"It's very unfortunate for him and his family, and for the Jackson schools and the 33,000 students we have," said Louis P. Wright, the president of the school board."But the board has no choice in this situation. We have to comply with the law."

Charles Lindsay, the president of Parents for Public Schools of Jackson, a local chapter of a national parents' group, praised Mr. Wallace's efforts and described the superintendent as "willing and open to entertain new ideas."

The superintendent could not be reached for comment last week.

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