Capital Digest

March 14, 1990 4 min read

The Bush Administration opposes measures pending in the Senate that aim to improve teacher training and recruitment, an Education Department official told a Senate panel this month.

The bills, S 1675 and S 1676, “either address problems we do not agree exist, or they fail to recognize the extensive and pervasive federal efforts already in place to address the problems that do exist,” Leonard L. Haynes 3rd, assistant secretary for postsecondary education, said during testimony on March 2 before the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities

“While shortages may occur in certain states or local areas or in certain fields,” Mr. Haynes said, “there is no evidence of an overall teacher shortage now, nor does it appear that there will likely be in the foreseeable future.”

He pointed out that 11 federal programs already support teacher train4ing, mostly in such areas as bilingual and special education. He also noted that Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos plans to appoint a special adviser for teacher education, and has called for enactment of President Bush’s proposal to aid alternative-certification programs.

While there is an “extraordinary need” for professional-development opportunities for teachers, Mr. Haynes said, the Congressional proposals--which could cost as much as $700 million a year--represent “business as usual” and not the innovative ideas that are needed.

The House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, meanwhile, plans to begin hearings March 15 on HR 4130 and HR 3909, which are similarly focused but less expensive than the Senate measures. The House bills, sponsored by the panel’s chairman and ranking Republican, would authorize loan forgiveness for prospective teachers and offer grants to states for teacher training.

A South Carolina private school that has a policy against racial discrimination but enrolls no black students is not entitled to tax-exempt status, the U.S. Tax Court has ruled.

The court upheld a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service denying the exemption to the Calhoun Academy of Matthews, S.C.

Although the court did not cite discriminatory behavior by the academy, it said the school failed to meet its legal burden of proving that it is not biased against blacks.

The court based its decision in part on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bob Jones University v. U.S., which upheld the right of the irs to deny tax exempàtions to private schools that discriminate on the basis of race.

The 400-student Calhoun Academy has enrolled no black students since its founding in 1969. According to Milly McLauchlin, the headmaster, no blacks have ever applied for admission.

“They said the school was formed during a period of desegregation, and as a result of the time the school was formed, there was an inference it was formed to avoid integration,” said Lee Prickett, a board member and lawyer for the school. “There is no evidence of discrimination, but they put the burden on the school to prove it was not discriminating.”

The school adopted an anti-discrimination policy in 1985. It applied for tax-exempt status a year later.

The irs denied the request and suggested that the school offer reduced tuition to entice blacks to enroll. School officials rejected the idea, saying it would give unequal treatment to one race.

  • The Senate has confirmed the appointment of John MacDonald to be the Education Department’s assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

Mr. MacDonald, 57, has served as New Hampshire’s state school superintendent since 1986. He previously served for eight years as the superintendent of schools in Dartmouth, Mass.

  • President Bush last week said he would nominate Lynne V. Cheney to a second four-year term as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

During her first term, Ms. Cheney stirred controversy among educators with sharp critiques of the4teaching of history and literature in schools and colleges.

In “American Memory,” her Congressionally mandated 1987 report, Ms. Cheney argued that schools’ emphasis on skills, rather than content, had led to “startling gaps” in their knowledge of the subjects.

Following the release of that report, Ms. Cheney created a $1.5-million research center on history instruction, and a teacher-scholar program to allow teachers to undertake a year of independent full-time study in the humanities.

  • The Educational Testing Service has named a 12-member panel of education, business, and labor officials to define literacy as part of a forthcoming federally funded study of adult literacy.

The National Adult Literacy Survey, to be conducted in 1992 by the ets under contract to the Education Department, will assess the literacy skills of a national sample of adults ages 16 to 64.

As part of the four-year effort, the panel will develop objectives for the assessment. It will also produce a document to inform policymakers about current research in the field.

A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 1990 edition of Education Week as Capital Digest