Education

People News Roundup

April 15, 1987 5 min read
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The federal judge whose school-desegregation orders sparked more than a decade of controversy in Boston recently criticized President Reagan’s position that judicial restraint is an honored American legal tradition.

“The alternative to federal-court intervention in many instances is not local initiative as a practical matter, but nonenforcement of clearly violated federal constitutional rights,’' argued U.S. District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. in an April 2 speech to a group of Boston University law students and faculty members.

Judge Garrity said the President’s statements on judicial restraint reminded him “of a scene in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ in which Tevye, the father of the family, is supervising the construction of a new roof.’'

“One of the family, standing on the ground, shouts up to him, ‘How do you manage to hold your balance?’'' the judge said. “He shouts back, ‘Tradition.’''

“In my mind, the President’s and father Tevye’s invocations were about equally appropriate,’' Judge Garrity said. “The honored place in our legal tradition has not been judicial restraint, but rather, its bedrock antecedent, judicial review.’'

A 37-year-old high-school biology teacher from Graham, N.C., has been named the 1987-88 National Teacher of the Year.

Donna Hill Oliver has taught biology for the past 13 years at Hugh M. Cummings High School in the Burlington City School System.

The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Oliver was named the 1986 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. She is a member of the National Education Association, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Biology Teachers Association.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elon College and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The national award is presented jointly by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and Good Housekeeping magazine, which earlier this month announced the selection of Ms. Oliver. She is scheduled to be honored on April 22 at a White House ceremony.

Sandra Feldman has been elected by a wide margin to her first full term as president of the United Federation of Teachers, the New York City affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

Ms. Feldman has served as the union’s president since January 1986, when she was named by the its executive board to replace Albert Shanker, who had vacated the post in midterm to devote his full attention to the presidency of the AFT

The 91,000-member UFT is the largest local union in the country.

Ms. Feldman, who received roughly 26,200 votes to her opponent’s 9,500 votes, will begin her new term on July 1.

A South Hamilton, Mass., high-school student has had a new enzyme he discovered named after him.

Daniel Hall, 17, now a senior at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, was a junior when he discovered the enzyme that now bears his name: BspH1, which stands for “bacillus species of enzyme Hall 1.’'

In testing sewage samples for an experiment on enzyme activity, Mr. Hall found a strain of bacteria in which there were three enzymes, one of which was previously undiscovered. About 200 varieties of enzymes have been identified. Enzymes are proteins that function as biochemical catalysts in living organisms.

“I was very lucky to find something new,’' Mr. Hall said. He said he has been interested in science “since I could walk.’'

Because of his discovery, the National Institutes of Health named Mr. Hall the Centennial Scholar from Massachusetts and gave him a trip to Bethesda, Md., to visit the NIH last month with students from the 50 states. The program is designed to raise public awareness of biomedical research.

Could his discovery be instrumental in finding a cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome? Possibly, he said.

“Enzymes are like a socket wrench set the way they cut the DNA,’' Mr. Hall said. “So far, we have only the one-quarter and one-eighth socket, but BspH1 could be the one-sixteenth that eventually will be needed to slice the gene.’'

Mr. Hall is spending his last semester in high school as an intern at New England Biolabs in Beverly, Mass., which will soon begin to market his enzyme. He will attend Yale University next year to study the biosciences and his other interest, music.

Frank Sinatra, a high-school dropout, helped raise $300,000 at a recent benefit for a high school in Palm Springs, Calif.

The crooner, performing this month before a black-tie crowd that paid $1,250 each for dinner and a concert, raised money for the construction of Palm Valley High School, a preparatory school near his home.

“There should be such fund-raising performances for education throughout the country,’' the singer told the crowd. “As a high-school dropout, I can appreciate and treasure the value of an education.’'

Pedro Orozco, a 7th grader from Norwalk, Calif., has become an influential spokesman for language-minority students since he won an essay contest sponsored by the California Association for Bilingual Education in January.

Last month, the student was invited to testify before the state Assembly’s education committee, which was considering an extension of California’s bilingual-education law. When the panel later voted 10 to 3 in favor of the bill, he was given credit for swaying at least two of the “yes’’ votes.

“Bilingual education has enriched my life,’' he wrote in his prize-winning essay. “It has helped me gain a greater respect for learning.’'

The Alaska State Board of Education has selected William Demmert to be the new state education commissioner, effective this month.

Mr. Demmert, who has been dean of the school of education and liberal arts at the University of Alaska-Juneau since 1983, replaces Marshall Lind. Mr. Lind has been “on loan’’ as the state’s education commissioner since March of last year, when he was asked to temporarily replace Harold Raynolds, who left to become chief state school officer in Massachusetts. Mr. Lind is returning to his former position as dean of extended and graduate studies at the University of Alaska-Juneau.

Gov. Steve Cowper has also approved the appointment of Mr. Demmert.

A version of this article appeared in the April 15, 1987 edition of Education Week as People News Roundup

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