News in Brief

September 01, 2003 1 min read

Private Decision

It may be impolitic for public school administrators to send their kids to private schools, but it’s not against the law. In June, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Greenville, Texas, district was wrong to insist that teacher Karen Jo Barrow move her children from private to public school to be considered for a promotion to assistant principal.

Industry Grade

The Educational Testing Service has announced that it will come up with a single passing score for its Praxis II test, the teacher- licensing exam used in 23 states. Currently, each state sets its own minimum passing score, and the wide disparity in cutoff marks bothers some advocates for teacher quality standards. Company officials say that a national benchmark could make possible more meaningful comparisons between states and among different institutions preparing teachers.

Snack Attack

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: New York City students and faculty seeking a junk food fix won’t find the goods in school vending machines this fall, Reuters reports. To promote good nutrition, the city’s education system, the largest in the country, has replaced candy, soda, and other fattening treats with healthier snacks such as pretzels, energy bars, and 100 percent fruit juices.

Cut the Cord

Talk is cheap? Not when it’s on the Oakland, California, public schools’ dime, says new schools chief Randy Ward. This past summer, he terminated service on all 500 cell phones used by district employees after learning that the schools were spending about $750,000 a year to cover the conversations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ward plans to implement a new policy requiring employees to buy their own phones and pay for all calls that exceed a stipend of up to $100. “A few folks have expressed concerns about their ability to communicate, but really, did we all starve before microwaves?” Ward says.