[States, National, etc...]

January 11, 1984 23 min read

Poll Finds Support,

Concern For Safety

Of School Sports

Despite concerns about the safety of and costs of football, wrestling and other sports programs, a national survey of 706 adults has found substantial agreement that interscholastic athletics make contributions that no other school programs offer.

About 79 percent of those surveyed said they think high schools do not spend too much money on interscholastic sports programs, according to the poll, which was conducted last month for the newspaper USA Today. Further-more, almost 70 percent said sports teach students lessons they would not learn in other school programs.

But about 62 percent of the adults polled said schools placed too much pressure on athletes.

Ninety-three percent said they would encourage their children to join a swimming team. Eighty-nine percent said they would encourage their children to play baseball and tennis; 87 percent, basketball; 53 percent, football; and 48 percent, wrestling.

Cuts in Head Start,

Nutrition Programs

Viewed as Unlikely

President Reagan will not seek substantial changes in the Head Start and National School Lunch Program in his fiscal 1985 budget, according to Administration sources.

There will be “no dramatic change in policy” on the funding of the two programs for low-income students, an official familiar with the programs said.

For the current fiscal year, the Congress appropriated $995.7 million for Head Start, a program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services that helps community groups offer services for low-income, preschool chil-dren and their families. The Reagan Administration had sought an appropriation of $963.3 million for the program.

The National School Lunch Program, which is administered by the Agriculture Department and provides free, reduced-price, and full-price school lunches, is funded at $3.28 billion for the current fiscal year, which runs through next Sept. 30. The Reagan Administration, in its budget proposal for the current fiscal year, had sought $2.93 billion for the program.

Agency Withdrawal

To Have Little Effect

On U.S. Education

Although the nation’s scientific community is expected to be affected by the American withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, little, if any, effect will be felt in the education community, accord-ing to sources familiar with the agency.

The Reagan Administration recently informed the organization, known as unesco, of its intent to withdraw at the end of 1984, an action that will cost unesco one-fourth of its $374-million annual budget. The Administration, in its formal statement, accused unesco of “politiciz[ing] every subject it deals with,” and exhibiting “a hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society.” unesco was established in 1945 as an arm of the United Nations.

The agency’s education programs did not directly involve the U.S., although American teachers’ unions occasionally participated through their international affiliations, according to David Dorn of the American Federation of Teachers. Chester E. Finn Jr., a professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University who was a delegate to a unesco education meeting last year, said U.S. schools “will not lose anything” as a result of the withdrawal.

Christian School

In Nebraska Opens

Despite Court Ban

The Christian school in Nebraska that has been the focus of a bitter fight over the state’s right to regulate private schools last week opened in defiance of a court order, and authorities would not say whether they would further prosecute school leaders.

The Faith Christian School in Louisville started its winter session with 27 students in attendance. The Cass County Court has ordered the school to close unless it complies with state certification regulations.

The opening of the school came on the heels of demonstrations by Christian-school supporters across the country. One group of about 100 people demonstrated last month in front of the White House. The group left a petition asking President Reagan to intervene in the controversy.

Seven fathers of Faith Christian School students have been jailed for contempt of court since Nov. 23 for refusing to testify in court to explain their involvement with the school. Eight women and the leader of the church school are reported to be staying in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during the controversy.

The leader of the school, the Rev. Everett Sileven, is being sought by the county court. He is reported to have given speeches in Iowa and Alabama.

Thirteen other Christian schools in the state are operating without state-certified teachers, according to press reports, but no other school officials have been jailed in the cases. All of those schools are involved in litigation, the reports said.

Indiana Task Force

Proposes Merit Pay,

Longer School Year

Merit pay, a longer school year, competency testing, and increased discipline were among a series of reform proposals announced by the Education Task Force of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce last month.

The proposals, which will be submitted to the 1984 General Assembly this month, were written by the seven-member panel charged with updating the Chamber’s 1972 education policy, according to William Styring, a staff executive.

In a series of position papers, the task force recommended:

Pay for excellence for teachers, a concept the panel said should not be “bargainable.”

An appointed state superintendent of public instruction. The superintendency is now an elected position.

A longer school year. Indiana currently requires students to attend school 175 days of the year. Although the panel did not recommend a specific number of days, Mr. Styring said schools should make sure students are attending class all 175 days. A typical school year, he said, is usually closer to 170 days due to missed days that are not made up and the scheduling of half days at the beginning of the school year.

A recognition of the importance of the basic structure and attitudes of education.

Communities, the panel recommended, should support higher expectations for students and stronger classroom discipline.

Competency testing for both students and entry-level teachers. The panel did not recommend specific tests or grade levels, but did maintain that the current lack of competency testing for teachers and standardized statewide pupil testing should be remedied.

Utah Legislator

Proposes Trust Fund

For Education

A plan to finance elementary and secondary education in Utah with proceeds from a state trust fund will be introduced in the Utah legislature this month.

The plan would require the state to put its revenues from the use of state lands, including mineral-lease funds and trespass and grazing-rights fees, into a trust fund for education each year, rather than putting the money directly into the state school fund.

Placing those revenues--about $25 million annually--in a trust fund eventually will generate enough income to fund the state’s entire education budget, according to Representative Ervin Skousen, the Salt Lake City Republican who is sponsoring the bill.

Although it would take “75 to 100 years” before interest from the trust fund could finance the state’s entire education budget, Representative Skousen estimates that the plan would pay for itself after about 10 years. The state legislature would have to make up the difference in state-lands revenues during that time, he added.

Ultimately, the plan would elimi-nate property taxation for education and cut the tax bill of Utah citizens in half, Representative Skousen said.

Gov. Scott M. Matheson is in favor of the trust-fund plan, aides said, and according to Representative Skousen, the plan has broad-based support in the capital.

“I have support from every organization in education, as well as in government,” he said. “The state board [of education] actually was thinking of the same thing.”

California Library

To Fund Statewide

Literacy Program

The California State Library in Sacramento released $2.5 million in federal grants last month to finance a statewide literacy campaign. The funding measure represents the first time a state library has designated federal library funds for such a project.

Twenty-eight libraries that applied for project funding under the Library Services and Construction Act will share the grant to develop local adult-literacy campaigns, according to Gail McGovern, a library consultant. Scheduled to begin immediately and end in September, the programs include studies of com-puter-assisted audio-visual methods, community learning centers, and literacy in employment-training programs, according to Carmela Ruby, a consultant for the California Literacy Campaign.

The campaigns are directed at adults who are not otherwise being served by the current educational system, Ms. Ruby explained. Some 2.5 million California adults cannot read and write English at the 4th-grade level, and 6 million of the state’s 17.3 million adults do not have a high-school diploma.

Minnesota Board

Calls for More

Academic Courses

The Minnesota State Board of Education last month recommended that the number of required high-school academic courses that schools offer be increased.

In a presentation to the Minnesota Senate Education Committee, William Ridley, board chairman, presented a revised curriculum plan in which high schools would be required to offer at least five year-long courses in English; four years each of mathematics, science, and social studies; two years each of foreign language, music, and visual arts; and one year of industrial arts.

In addition, according to the board’s proposal, high schools would be required to provide students with “information-technology literacy” courses and guidance for making course choices, according to Mr. Ridley.

Minnesota’s 437 districts are currently required to provide those courses required for graduation--four years of English, three years of social studies, and one-year courses in science and mathematics.

The board’s recommendations--which are part of a long-term goal to create individualized education plans for every student by 1990--would not change graduation requirements, but “simply mean schools must offer those courses,” Mr. Ridley explained.

Public hearings on the proposed curriculum plan are scheduled to begin in March, Mr. Ridley said. The proposal does not require legislative approval to become law.

Also speaking before the Senate committee, Education Commissioner Ruth Randall presented recommendations for restructuring the state’s school system. Ms. Randall advocates that students be moved from one grade to the next according to achievement instead of age, and that competency tests be established to set promotions and graduation standards, according to an education department spokesman.

Teacher’s Religious

Dress Violates

Oregon Statute

An Oregon public-school teacher was suspended with pay last month for wearing articles of religious clothing while teaching.

The Eugene School Board voted unanimously to suspend Karta Kaur Khalsa in accordance with a state law that prohibits teachers from wearing religious clothing in the classroom.

Ms. Khalsa is a member of the Sikh faith, an Indian religion, and was wearing a turban and other white clothing--the traditional dress of her religion--to school.

A lawsuit against the school board would be “premature,” said Rohn Roberts, Ms. Khalsa’s attorney. However, if state officials revoke her teaching license, which also is required under the law, Ms. Khalsa will challenge the constitutionality of the action, Mr. Roberts said.

“Rumor has it,” Mr. Roberts said, “that the law was designed to prevent nuns from teaching in public schools.”

Mr. Roberts added that the law dates back to 1920 when the Ku Klux Klan was “very active” in the state.

Kentucky District

Switches Posters

After Suit Threat

The board of education of a Kentucky school district, threatened with a lawsuit, has decided to replace posters listing the Ten Commandments with posters that quote historical figures’ ideas about the Bible.

The posters that the Campbellsville Independent School District has decided to replace, entitled “Our Biblical Heritage,” were donated by civic groups under a 1978 Kentucky law. In a 5-to-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 1980 that such public displays are an infringement of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state.

Board members had resisted removing the posters, according to Superintendent David Fryrear, but decided to replace them with other posters when the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union threatened a lawsuit.

The new posters list statements made by figures including Ronald Reagan, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus. The posters also quote portions of the Mayflower Compact, the Northwest Ordinance, and the pledge of allegiance.

The 18-by-24-inch posters were donated to the Campbellsville schools by the Kentucky Heritage Foundation. Mr. Fryrear called the posters “historical” rather than religious documents.

Student Phone Used

For X-Rated Calls

Several weeks after the phone number of the Hustler magazine hot line appeared on a gymnasium wall near a student-funded phone in a Washington State district, some 28 middle-school students and several high-school students began calling the number.

The telephone at Lincoln Middle School in Pullman, Wash., was paid for with student-association funds and had been used for years to let students call parents after athletic practices and school events, according to Michael D. Riggs, the school’s vice principal.

The hot-line number appeared on the wall in October. By late November, 87 calls had been made, costing the student association $52, according to Mr. Riggs.

School officials caught on to the unauthorized use of the telephone after students tipped them off. School authorities then checked the monthly phone bill. Mr. Riggs dialed the hot line number--from his home phone--to “verify” exactly who the students were calling.

“I heard a tape of a woman describing various sexual acts and breathing heavily. I was really disappointed,” said Mr. Riggs, who described the woman’s performance as “lousy.”

The school district has written letters to the students’ parents to collect for the phone calls.

The student council has removed the phone until the money for the calls has been paid. Money raised to operate the telephone comes from funds raised by the student association from the sale of magazines, Mr. Riggs said. He noted that Hustler is not one of them.

School Officials

Object to Teacher’s

Anti-Nuclear Letter

School officials in Farmington, N.M., intercepted 123 form letters last month that would have gone to 6th-grade students around the world asking them to write President Reagan and the Soviet leader Yuri Andropov urging the two men to eliminate “all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.”

The letters were addressed by a class of 6th graders at the Country Club Elementary School as part of a class project, inspired in part by the television movie “The Day After,” said William J. Childress, director of elementary education for the Farmington school district. “The Day After” depicted the probable after-effects of nuclear war.

About 75 of the letters were mailed using school funds before school officials called a halt to the project, Mr. Childress said. The remaining 123 letters were confiscated and opened by school officials. None of the letters was signed by a student, Mr. Childress added.

At issue was the “approach of the teacher,” said Mr. Childress. School officials objected to the teacher’s use of his pupils as an “instrument” to mail a letter espousing his particular viewpoint. School officials did not disapprove of a discussion of nuclear issues in the classroom, and there would have been “no problem” if the students had written their own letters, he added.

The teacher received a “mild” reprimand, Mr. Childress said.

Kan. District Admits

Student With Herpes

After Year of Debate

The Emporia, Kan., school board has agreed to enroll a handicapped 4-year-old student who contracted herpes as an infant, after more than a year of debate and prodding from the Kansas Department of Education.

The girl’s parents had asked more than a year ago that their daughter be admitted to a preschool program for handicapped children administered by the district. But the district turned down their request after some staff members threatened to resign and the parents of other children said they would withdraw from the school.

Instead, the district agreed to provide a home tutor for the girl, who has cerebral palsy in addition to herpes--an infectious virus with no known cure.

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Carroll Schubert, the district’s administrative assistant, said the girl was admitted when her parents reapplied and they have offered to keep her at home when the herpes lesions are active and the risk of passing on the infection is greatest.

The state department of education also had told district officials that they must admit the girl or discontinue the special-education program for preschoolers, according to Mr. Schubert.

Parents of other children in the program are still concerned about contagion, but the program’s staff is now more receptive to the district’s decision to admit the girl, Mr. Schubert said. The change in attitude may have been the result of inservice training received by the staff from the local health office, he said.

Indiana Pupils Form

Club in Response

To Shooting Incident

Students who witnessed one student shooting another at a high school in Indiana have started a club to counteract the effects of the violent action.

According to Donald R. Golliher, principal of Crawfordsville High School, the students decided to start the club after they heard that one elementary-school student’s response to the shooting was: “Oh neat, I wish I’d been there.”

A group of students who witnessed the shooting early last month are planning a presentation for pupils in lower grades to let them know that violence is not “neat,” Mr. Golliher said.

The student group, which calls itself save (Students Against Violence in Education), is also conducting a fund-raising drive to help the student who was injured and is encouraging other students in the school to donate blood as a way of honoring the doctors and nurses who cared for the student.

The two boys involved in the shooting incident had apparently argued about a girl prior to the shooting, Mr. Golliher said.

The Boston school district and union have ended the possibility of a strike loomed in Minneapolis after months of uncertainty. The new three-year contract, reached last month, will cost the city $17 million the first year, including $7 million for a 5-percent pay raise, and $10 million and $11 million for the second and third years respectively, a district spokesman said. The city council is expected to approve the pact later this month.

The school committee, in a turnaround, agreed to a layoff system based on seniority, the spokesman said. In return, the union agreed to allow principals to choose from among the three most senior teachers instead of being limited to the most senior. The union conceded guaranteed raises in next two years.

In St. Paul, Minn., teachers last month approved a new contract that will boost salaries 6.2 percent the first year and 4.5 percent the second year, a union spokesman said. The teachers will also receive more class-preparation time.

Duluth teachers, who went on strike for 18 days last month for the first time in their history, have ratified a contract providing a 5.5-percent salary increase the first year, and a 4.4-percent increase the second year of their two-year contract.

In Minneapolis, however, the union has called for a strike on Jan. 17 if no agreement is reached with the school board before then. Negotiations ceased in November over salary and working-condition issues. If it occurs, the strike will be the district’s first in 13 years.

After more than two years of study, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) school board has approved a sweeping reform of its system of evaluating and promoting teachers. The new plan, approved last month, establishes a three-level career ladder for the district’s 4,200 teachers, and offers a salary of $37,000 for those who rise to the top level, $13,000 higher than the current maximum. (See Education Week, June 18, 1983.)

It also extends the probationary period before new teachers can win tenure from three to six years. Teams of full-time evaluators will work with teachers who are doing poorly, said Jay Robinson, the district’s superintendent, but no written tests will be given to tenured teachers. “I’m not going to put someone out because he can’t pass a test,” Mr. Robinson said. Initial costs will be about $400,000, he estimated. As more teachers receive higher salaries, the cost could rise to $6 million.

Amy Hovenden, a 14-year-old home-educated student from Orem, Utah, will be the youngest pupil ever to attend Brigham Young University when she starts classes this month.

Ms. Hovenden, who studied at home with six of her nine siblings, finished in the top 4 percent of students taking the American College Testing program examination.

“Amy began reading at age 3. By age 5, when most other kids were trying to figure out where the john is, she was reading at the 9th-grade level,” according to Alan Hovenden, the girl’s father.

“We had to take her out of public school and then private school, because the schools didn’t know what to do with her,” he said.

Samantha Smith, the Maine schoolgirl who last year spent part of her summer vacation in the Soviet Union at the invitation of Soviet President Yuri V. Andropov, recently returned from a trip to Japan. (See Education Week, July 27, 1983.)

Samantha, a 7th-grade student in Manchester, attracted international attention last spring when she received a three-page letter from Mr. Andropov. She had written to him earlier about U.S.-Soviet relations and her fears of of a nuclear confrontation of the two superpowers.

Arthur Smith, Samantha’s father, said his daughter received the invitation to Japan from an organization that is promoting an international trade exposition. During her 10-day visit, Samantha met Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

A new director has been selected to lead the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the group that sets accrediting guidelines for schools of education.

Richard C. Kunkel, dean of the college of education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will be-come ncate’s executive director in July, replacing Acting Director George Denemark.

Mr. Kunkel is a member of the Association of American Colleges of Teacher Education’s accreditation task force and also chairs a task force of the Association of Colleges and Schools of Education in State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.

A native of St. Louis, he did graduate work in administration, curriculum, and counseling at St. Louis University and has served as chairman of the department of education there and assistant to the president.

Fred A. Hargadon, dean of admissions at Stanford University and a former chairman of the College Board, is leaving Stanford to become senior vice president for administration with the College Board, effective Sept. 1.

Integrated Settings

For Handicapped

Endorsed in Study

Both severely handicapped students and nonhandicapped students benefit from their interaction in the schools and in the community, according to a new study by the Educational Testing Service.

The three-year study of severely handicapped students was conducted in 14 diverse school districts. The researchers identified and compared the benefits of different social programs on 245 handicapped students and their classmates.

Although similar studies have been conducted, the ets study is unusual because its results are based on observations of students from the ages of 3 to 22, according to Richard Brinker, a research scientist with the testing service and the project director for the study.

Specifically, the study found that classmates who serve as tutors and special-education teachers who encourage classroom interaction create the best social and learning atmosphere for severely-handicapped students. The study also concluded that integrated settings allow handicapped students to model their behavior on that of nonhandicapped classmates and to develop stronger social skills in consequence.

Integrated settings permit far more positive exchanges between handicapped and nonhandicapped students than segregated settings do, according to the study.

The authors of the study underscore the importance of teachers in fostering social exchanges between handicapped and nonhandicapped students.

And they recommend that special-education teachers receive training that better prepares them for such a role.

Early Use Of Drugs,

Alcohol Found

By the time they start high school, when drug-prevention classes often begin, many students have already tried drugs or decided not to, a University of Florida study suggests.

In a survey involving the 9th- and 12th-grade pupils at six Florida public schools, Professor of Anthropology Brian du Toit found that 10 percent had used cocaine, 47 percent had smoked marijuana, and 83 percent had tried alcohol.

White males began experiment-ing with alcohol at the youngest age, the study showed. Fifty-three percent drank in middle school, compared with 45 percent of white females. Thirty percent of the white males and 20 percent of the white females had smoked marijuana before entering high school.

The rates were lower among the black students surveyed, the researcher found. Thirty-eight percent of the black males and 31 percent of the black females surveyed first drank in middle school. Seventeen percent of black males and 12 percent of black females had tried marijuana by the time they started high school.


What is Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell’s middle name? (The answer will be included with next week’s quiz.)

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Wendell Smith was one of about 60 volunteers who last month began cleaning up the Samuel Gompers Elementary School in Philadelphia. The volunteers included parents, students, and local citizens.

The Diner from ‘Diner’ in a New Role

The 1950’s-style diner that served as the home-away-from-home for four young men in the 1981 film “Diner” will soon serve as the work site for vocational-education students in the city of Baltimore.

The 67-seat diner was donated to the city by a local radio station and will be used to train seniors enrolled in the Baltimore school system’s food-service program.

“We think it’s going to be the only diner run by kids in the United States,” said Fontaine Sullivan, volunteer coordinator for Mayor William D. Schaefer. She said the mayor had “wished for a diner” and when the management at the radio station learned of his wish, they contacted the New Jersey firm that had leased the one used in the movie, which was filmed in Baltimore.

The city has established a diner task force to prepare for the grand opening. “This is a project where so many people have caught the vision,” Ms. Sullivan said of the volunteers, whose contributions have saved the city thousands of dollars, she noted.

“Giving a city a diner,” Ms. Sullivan said, “is not like giving it a picture to hang on the wall.”

Local businesses have donated equipment and labor and, according to Ms. Sullivan, the Marriott Corporation has been working with school officials to develop a food-service training program that will enable students who work at the diner to become eligible for employment with the company after graduation.

Marva Randolph, education specialist for the school system’s office of home economics, said the Kids Diner will be located near City Hall so that it can take advantage of the downtown pedestrian activity.

“This is strictly an educational opportunity,” she said, adding that thework-study program will provide the students with management and service training.

A version of this article appeared in the January 11, 1984 edition of Education Week as [States, National, etc...]