News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Ed. Dept. Sets Meetings On Draft Rules for New ESEA
The Department of Education will hold five regional meetings in the coming weeks to get input on draft regulations for the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001.
The first meeting, set for May 6, will be in Cincinnati. That will be followed by meetings May 7 in Atlanta, May 13 in San Diego, and May 16 in Little Rock, Ark. The agency will host a fifth meeting in New York City, but as of last week the date was still unannounced.
A panel of federally appointed negotiators came together in March to review and revise the proposed regulations on standards and assessments, though the department is not legally bound to follow the panelists' advice. The department is expected to publish draft regulations in the Federal Register this month. The final rules for the law, which revises the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, are expected to be completed by July.
The upcoming meetings will allow time for public comment, but will also include presentations by department officials and outside experts on standards and assessments.
—Erik W. Robelen
Court Declines Religious-Mural Case
The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to consider an appeal from members of a high school's Bible club who were denied permission to include a cross in a school mural.
Two members of the Trojans Loving Christ Bible Club at Tremper High School sued the 20,600-student Kenosha, Wis., school district after their principal's decision about the cross. The school allowed several clubs to paint murals on walls within the school, and the principal approved of some religious imagery in the Bible club's mural.
But the cross would step over the line into a violation of the First Amendment, the principal believed.
Both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, rejected the students' lawsuit. A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled unanimously last year that the principal could bar the cross to preserve order and discipline in the school.
The justices refused without comment on April 22 to hear the students' appeal in Gernetzke v. Kenosha Unified School District (Case No. 01-1181).
Second Teacher Eyes Senate Seat
History is repeating itself this political year, with a second social studies teacher stepping up to campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.
The latest teacher to announce that he's a candidate is Anthony Kandel, 40, who wants to be Massachusetts' Republican nominee for a November run against incumbent Democratic Sen. John Kerry.
In April, Texas world-geography teacher Victor Morales failed in his effort to win the Democratic nomination for the Senate against former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. Mr. Morales also sought the job in 1996. ("Ex-Dallas Mayor Defeats Teacher in Texas Senate Runoff," April 17, 2002.)
Mr. Kandel is almost certain to face an uphill fight. The popular Sen. Kerry has $3 million in his campaign fund and is making noises about seeking the Democratic presidential nomination for president in 2004. Mr. Kerry has served in the Senate for 17 years.
Mr. Kandel told The Boston Globe he knows the effort is a "long shot" and said he was either "courageous or a moron" for taking the senator on. But Mr. Kandel said he was surprised to find that the GOP had no challenger for Mr. Kerry.
Mr. Kandel, who teaches history at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., is also a football coach. To get his name on the ballot for the Sept. 17 Republican primary, he needs 10,000 signatures by May 7.
—Michelle R. Davis
Vol. 21, Issue 33, Page 25