State News Roundup

February 27, 1991 3 min read
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The Massachussetts Commission Against Discrimination is working with the state education department to develop guidelines for schools that wish to adopt Indian mascots that do not offend the state’s Native American community.

The commission began an “informal investigation” into the issue of Indian emblems after Chief John Peters, who heads the state’s Indian Affairs Office, was unsuccessful in getting districts in the towns of Quincy and Athol to drop images of “warlike” Indians, said Kathleen Allen, an mcad commissioner.

Ms. Allen said that it is hoped that the state agencies will be able to persuade schools to modify or to rid themselves of symbols that portray Indians with “caricatured features.”

But, she added, the commission has the power to withhold affirmative-action funds from townships that violate state human-relations laws and may consider doing so if the two districts cited by Chief Peters refuse to modify their mascots.

A series of discussions over the last year between Chief Peters and officials of the two districts have been unsuccessful in bringing about any change in the mascots, she said.

“The critical problem is that the [offensive nature of] those symbols has been ignored,” she said.

The Detroit chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People last week called on the State of Michigan to extend the school year and implement other sweeping education reforms.

A position paper on education reform released by the Detroit n.a.a.c.p. called for extending the school year from 180 to 220 days; setting statewide teacher-pay rates with merit-pay provisions based on student achievement; and levying school taxes statewide, with 3- to 5-mill limits on how much school districts could levy for their own programs.

The position paper also called for the number of Michigan school districts to be reduced from more than 500 to 125 in order to reduce district administrative overhead and eliminate the duplication of services.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 10, Issue 23, February 27, 1991, p 2

Copyright 1991, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

Public elementary and high-school students in Louisiana cannot be required to take a foreign-language course if their parents object, the state attorney general has ruled.

In 1983 the state board of education adopted a rule requiring 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to study a foreign language for 30 minutes a day. Seventh- and 8th-grade students are required to study for 150 minutes a week during the language-arts period.

The law allows districts to choose which language to offer, and school officials in St. Tammany Parish in Covington chose French.

Last November, however, the St. Tammany school board voted to defy the state directive.

Terry Bankston, superintendent of the district, asked the attorney general’s office for an opinion, saying that some parents had objected to the requirement, preferring that language-arts classes focus on the study of English.

Assistant Attorney General James Ross held that state law allows parents to make a written request for an exemption to the school’s principal or to the superintendent of the parish or city school system.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 10, Issue 23, February 27, 1991, p 2

Copyright 1991, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

Tuskegee University in Alabama is planning an adult-education center to serve disadvantaged and poor rural residents of the Southeast.

Using satellite communications and other technology, the center will transmit via television university programs to 10 rural Alabama counties. The center, which its organizers hope will become a model for such programs in the South, also is expected to bring educational opportunities to other states in the region.

Programs will be broadcast to schools, churches, and community centers in rural areas, and the center will offer on-campus literacy courses and schooling for adults with little education.

The center also will present courses for educators, training in community leadership, and training in family financial management, nutrition, health, and hygiene.

The center, scheduled to begin operations in several years, will be funded by a $10.5-million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. An additional $4 million will come from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $1.7 million.

Called the Kellogg Center for Continuing Education, the Tuskegee effort is the 10th adult-education center established by the foundation in the United States and England. It will be the first at a historically black university.

A version of this article appeared in the February 27, 1991 edition of Education Week as State News Roundup


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