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January 01, 1991 2 min read

A Longer School Year: The Maryland Board of Education has voted to extend the school year from 180 to 200 days, a move that would give the state the longest school year in the nation. The plan still must be approved by the governor and legislature.

Talk About Talks: Florida’s two major teachers’ unions have met to discuss the possibility of talking about merger. In a joint statement, the presidents of the state affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers said they believe the “issues confronting public education in Florida require a more concerted effort.”

A First: The Texas Board of Education has decided to let schools use state textbook money to buy a videodisc-based curriculum for elementary schools called Windows On Science, produced by Optical Data Corp of New Jersey. It is the first time a state has adopted a videodisc program as a “textbook” and is likely to encourage schools in the state to experiment with the innovative teaching tool and other states to weigh its merits.

The Nation’s Shame: According to new U.S. Census Bureau data, children made up 40 percent of the nation’s poor in 1989. The data showed that 14.2 percent of all white children were living below the poverty level, compared with 36.2 percent of Hispanic children and 43.7 percent of black children.

Witness To Violence: Nearly one-quarter of 1,000 inner-city Chicago students surveyed recently said they had seen someone killed. The study, conducted by researchers affiliated with the Community Mental Health Council of Chicago, found that 35 percent of the middle and high school students surveyed had witnessed a stabbing and 39 percent a shooting.

Oops: The Educational Testing Service, which administers the National Teachers Examinations, has raised the scores of some 49,000 examinees who took two of its teacher-licensing tests after a review revealed that six multiple-choice questions had more than one correct answer. As a result, nearly 1,000 additional examinees met the minimum-score requirements of their states.

Judge Says No: A federal judge, acting on a suit brought by a state teachers’ union, has struck down a Georgia law compelling applicants for public school and state government jobs to be tested for drugs, saying that the law violated applicants’ privacy rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Roughly 6,000 to 8,000 certified educators would have been screened each year.

A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1991 edition of Teacher as Roundup