News Update

September 16, 1992 3 min read

A New York State task force has recommended strengthening the workforce preparation of noncollege-bound youths by creating “professional technical certificates’’ in a number of occupations.

Lieut. Gov. Stan Lundine presented the final recommendations of the governor’s Task Force on Creating Career Pathways for New York Youth to the state board of regents this summer. (See Education Week, June 10, 1992.)

The report calls for the creation of a “career pathways certificate’’ that all New York students would receive at about age 16 to demonstrate mastery of rigorous academics and work-readiness skills. Students would then choose to pursue either a college-preparatory program or an education-and-training program for a specific occupational field.

Under the proposal, a professional technical certificate earned at the end of that training period would certify mastery of skills and knowledge. It could include training beyond high school, including courses at community colleges and structured work experiences.

The regents have agreed to work with task-force members and Thomas Sobol, the state commissioner of education, to host statewide meetings on the report this fall and to begin determining how to implement its recommendations.

The Mall of America, a mammoth shopping center in Bloomington, Minn., opened on schedule last month, but a planned multi-district educational facility for high school students and children of mall employees is still several months to a year away, officials say.

Five school districts in the Twin Cities area are participating in the unusual venture. The Bloomington, Minneapolis, Richfield, St. Louis Park, and St. Paul districts constitute the Metropolitan Learning Alliance, which is developing educational programs to serve preschoolers through adults at the 4.2 million-square-foot mall. (See Education Week, Oct. 9, 1991.)

The first adult programs are scheduled to open this month, but high school classes will not open until January 1993. The alliance is seeking corporate support for these and other programs, such as early-childhood and elementary school programs that could open by September 1993.

The alliance hopes to raise an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million to build a 40,000-square-foot preschool and elementary school facility beneath the mall’s Bloomingdale’s department store.

A former official in the Arizona Department of Education faces up to 14 years in jail for accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks in a textbook-purchasing scheme. (See Education Week, Jan. 16, 1991.)

James D. Hartgraves, who was the second-highest-ranking official in the state’s education department from 1974 to 1988, pleaded guilty late last month to fraud, money laundering, and bribery under a plea agreement worked out with the state attorney general’s office.

Mr. Hartgraves already has forfeited a $246,000 home in Chandler, Ariz., his car, and personal property. His pension has also been forfeited to the state as compensation for his share of the $460,000 that prosecutors charge Mr. Hartgraves and his accomplices stole from the state by authorizing phony book sales and consulting services.

But Mr. Hartgraves, who was charged with 57 felony counts for actions that prosecutors say he committed between 1985 and 1987, will not be sentenced until he finishes cooperating with state prosecutors, who continue to investigate the scope of the fraudulent schemes.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, reversing its own earlier decision, has ruled that two suburban Milwaukee school districts cannot bill their insurance companies for the costs of fighting a desegregation case.

The court ruled 6 to 1 late last month that the insurance policies of the Shorewood and Greenfield districts did not cover lawyers’ fees and other costs associated with a 1987 settlement of a school-desegregation suit.

The court’s opinion said the term “damages,’' as used in the policies, referred to the districts’ expenses for legal compensation for wrongs and injuries, but not their costs in complying with a court injunction.

The court, in re-interpreting the policy at the insurance companies’ request, directly reversed its earlier 4-to-3 ruling. (See Education Week, June 10, 1992.)

The districts had agreed to the desegregation settlement in response to a 1983 suit by the Milwaukee school board that accused 24 districts and the state of unconstitutionally maintaining segregated school systems.

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 1992 edition of Education Week as News Update