News Update

September 12, 1984 2 min read

After a year of debate, the New Jersey State Board of Education has unanimously approved a proposal that will allow local school districts to train teachers largely on their own. (See Education Week, May 9, 1984.)

The so-called “alternative route” to certification will allow prospective teachers to bypass collegiate teacher-training programs, the traditional route to licensing, and enter the profession by completing one-year apprenticeships in the public schools. The new program takes effect next September.

When the alternative route was proposed last year, a number of key state lawmakers and the New Jersey Education Association opposed the plan, arguing that the proposal would allow school districts to hire people who lacked academic training in such areas as child behavior and classroom management.

But the njea and the two chief legislative opponents--Assemblymen Joseph V. Doria and John A. Rocco--withdrew their objections after the proposal was modified to encourage school districts to form cooperative agreements with local colleges to create the training programs.

Joe Kelly Butler, the controversial chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, has resigned from the board.

Because Mr. Butler lost his board seat in a Republican primary in May, his term was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. (See Education Week, May 23, 1984.)

Mr. Butler, in letters to fellow board members and state officials, said he chose to relinquish his nine-year tenure as chairman before the “Educational Opportunity Act of 1984" went into effect on Sept. 1, according to Cis Myers, deputy commissioner of education.

Part of that education-reform act, which was approved in a special summer session of the legislature, mandates that the 27-member elected board be changed to an appointed body of 15 members for the next four years.

Mr. Butler will be succeeded by Paul Mathews, vice-chairman of the board, until a new panel is appoint-ed by Gov. Mark White, according to a board spokesman.

The configuration of the new state board must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department which, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is required to determine if the change from an elected to an appointed body violates the guarantee of fair representation of minority voters.

A New Hampshire judge has declined to block Gov. John H. Sununu’s plan to finance school-computer purchases. (See Education Week, Aug. 29, 1984.) Superior Court Chief Justice Richard P. Dunfey told the Governor and the state lawmaker who sought the court ac-tion to prepare for a hearing by Sept. 14.

In June, Governor Sununu announced a plan to use $3.4 million in state lottery money to buy Digital Equipment Corporation computers for local school districts. The Governor later announced that the state would merely strike a “pricing agreement” with Digital so school districts, which receive a share of the lottery revenues, could purchase the computers at a reduced price. The lawsuit was filed by Representative Michael King, who argued that the Governor was not authorized to spend state money on the deal without legislative approval.

A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 1984 edition of Education Week as News Update