[States, National, etc.]

April 11, 1984 23 min read

Will Not End ‘Crisis’

Raising requirements in science and mathematics will exacerbate the already serious shortage of qualified teachers in these fields, and, because many teachers remain unqualified, will not result in improved learning, an analysis of the status of science education suggests.

In a report presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, held this month in Boston, Bill G. Aldridge and Karen L. Johnston analyzed the factors contributing to the widely reported “crisis” in science and mathematics education. Mr. Aldridge is the executive director of the nsta and Ms. Johnston is a researcher at the University of North Carolina.

One of the most common responses on the part of states to the inadequacies in schools’ science offerings has been to increase the number of required courses. Twenty states have done so to date, and 20 more are considering doing so, Mr. Aldridge and Ms. Johnston said.

One effect of those actions will be to decrease the number of elective courses that students may take, thus reducing the need for teachers for those classes. Schools most likely will reassign the teachers of the electives to science and mathematics positions for which they are unqualified, the speakers said.

“Even though students may be acquiring credits in science and math, what will they be learning?” Mr. Aldridge and Ms. Johnston asked. “As long as science and math teaching slots are filled with unqualified teachers, increasing the course requirements is futile.”

Currently, about 30 percent of all secondary science and mathematics teachers are “completely unqualified or severely underqualified to teach those subjects,” the authors stated.

The practice of reassigning teachers from other disciplines to science and mathematics has also influenced the supply of college graduates in science and mathematics education. Because the slots are filled, in many instances with unqualified teachers, there are few jobs for the qualified teachers. The absence of jobs, Mr. Aldridge and Ms. Johnston argued, has deterred students who want to enter the field.

Education Agencies

Awarded Grants for

Pregnant Youths

The Council of Chief State School Officers last week awarded $500 coordination grants to seven state education agencies to support projects aimed at aiding pregnant teen-agers and those who have children.

The grants, which were made possible through a grant to the council’s resource center from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, were awarded to state education agencies in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

In January, agency representatives and officials from state health and social-services groups met to discuss the special problems of educating and providing support services to pregnant teen-agers and teen-agers with children. (See Education Week, Feb. 8, 1984.)

At the conference, which was sponsored by the council and the National Association of State Boards of Education, education agency representatives were invited to apply for the grants by submitting interagency plans for cooperatively addressing the needs of pregnant adolescents and youths raising children.

The state agencies can use the funds to develop new programs or to supplement existing programs. In New Jersey, for example, the funds will be used to raise public awareness of the problems that face such youths and of the services that are available to them through local and state agencies, according to a spokesman for the council.

Justice Department

To Create Center

For Missing Children

President Reagan last week announced that the Justice Department will provide $3.3 million for the creation of a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The center, which is being developed by the Justice Department’s office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, will help educate parents on how to prevent abductions and runaways, assist parents of missing children, and provide technical assistance to local law-enforcement agencies in their efforts to locate missing children, Mr. Reagan said.

President Reagan announced the grant during an April 5 speech before the New York State Federation of Catholic School Parents. (See page 12 for excerpts.) Justice Department officials, who declined to comment on the center, said they plan to make further information available next week.

Pay-Equity Bills

Are Introduced

In the Congress

The concept of “pay equity,” or the comparable worth of various jobs, would be advanced in the federal government and the private sector under two bills introduced recently by Representative Mary Rose Oakar, Democrat of Ohio.

The pay-equity act of 1984 would require the Labor Department, the Justice Department, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to report to the President and the Congress on their actions in the field of pay equity, said Cathy Straggas, a spokesman with the House Compensation and Employee Benefits Subcommittee. The bill would also require that the eeoc provide information to private-sector employers on the evaluation and equitable compensation of jobs.

The second bill--the federal employee pay-equity act--would require that the Office of Personnel Management conduct a study of the federal employee system to evaluate its equity, Ms. Straggas said.

Earlier this month, at hearings on the bills, relatives of the Democratic Presidential candidates praised their candidates’ dedication to equal pay for women. Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, testified that the comparable-worth concept is unfair to the traditional family.

Wyoming Teachers

Urge Ban on Jobs

During School Hours

Delegates to the 52nd annual Wyoming Education Assembly have unanimously approved a resolution asking the state to prohibit public-school students from holding jobs that require them to work during the school day, except in the context of the school curriculum.

“A student’s performance in school must take precedence over a job outside school,” the 163 teachers who constitute the assembly agreed.

The delegate’s reform package, entitled “Time To Teach--Time To Learn,” included nine other recommendations. Among them were: the convening of a statewide conference on absenteeism and truancy; the enactment of a Wyoming collective-bargaining law; further equalization of school funding by the legislature; and the use of flexible teacher scheduling, according to Deborah K. Lee, communications officer for the Wyoming Education Association.

The teachers also asked that the state fund “educational excellence grants” that would allow up to 5 percent of teachers annually to take sabbaticals, study leaves, or have time off to work on curriculum development, Ms. Lee said.

They also approved the idea of legislation that would allow teachers to receive a summer contract once every five years to go back to school for further education, to pursue research, or to work on curriculum development.

Virginia Board

Examines Baptist

Biology Program

Liberty Baptist College, founded by the television evangelist Jerry Falwell, is being scrutinized this month by Virginia Board of Education officials, who must decide by June 30 whether or not to renew the conditional accreditation they granted the school’s biology-education program two years ago.

The school’s biology program has been controversial because it had required prospective biology teachers to take a course on creationism theory, according to Harry L. Smith, a spokesman for the board.

In order to qualify for state accreditation, a biology program must provide a “scientific” approach to biology. Graduates of any unaccredited program are not permitted to teach in Virginia public schools.

In granting the conditional accreditation in 1982, board members asked the college to make the “History of Life” class an elective and to remove some religious language from the school’s written objectives, Mr. Smith said, adding that school officials have told the board that they have complied with the requests.

But recently the creationism issue came up again when board officials learned that the college has been endorsed by the Transnational Association of Christian Schools, which Mr. Smith characterized as “an accrediting association for schools and colleges that are committed to the doctrine of creationism.”

According to A. Pierre Guillermin, president of Liberty Baptist College, although the school has been “recognized” by the Transnational Association of Christian Schools, it is not a member or associated in any way.

“The Liberty Baptist College governing board has never authorized application or requested tracs recognition or membership,” Mr. Guillermin wrote last month in response to questions raised by the state board.

An investigation team will visit the college this month, Mr. Smith said. The board is expected to make a final decision regarding accreditation of the program at either its April or its May meeting.

Ohio Panel Asked

To Outline Changes

For Certification

The Ohio State Board of Education has directed the state’s Teacher Education and Certification Advisory Commission to develop recommendations for revised teacher education and certification standards.

Meeting last week, the board also directed the commission to develop standards for postgraduate education programs in colleges and universities.

The teacher-education standards were last revised in 1970 and became effective in January 1972. The current standards on colleges and universities were adopted in 1974.

In its resolution, the board said, “the broadest possible base of lay and professional thinking [should] be brought to bear on the key issues surrounding teacher education and certification prior to formulating recommendations.

New Jersey Chief

To Decide Penalty

For Off-Campus Act

The New Jersey commissioner of education should decide whether officials can punish a student for offenses committed off school grounds, a state appeals court ruled earlier this month.

The ruling from the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court involved a case in which school officials suspended a student at Woodstown High School when they learned he had been arrested off campus for possession of marijuana.

A lower-court judge, ruling that the suspension was proper, said he deferred to school officials’ “assessment of the need for discipline.’'

In transferring the case to the commissioner of education, the appellate division agreed that school officials could suspend the student but added that “whether [the judge] was correct or incorrect, few will quarrel with the conclusion that the entire problem suggested by the facts of this case invokes substantial educational policy considerations.”

Daniel A. Zehner, attorney for the student, argued that state laws on school discipline prohibit school officials from punishing students for infractions that have not occurred on school grounds.

Allowing school officials to punish students for such infractions creates “all kinds of problems,” Mr. Zehner said. “It opens up a whole area I think should be left to the juvenile courts.”

Methane Hazard

Halts Construction

Of Passaic School

Construction of a vocational-technical high school in Passaic, N.J., will not continue until school officials give the state a plan for venting and controlling the methane gas generated by the former garbage dump on which the school is being built.

As of last week, officials in the state’s department of environmental protection said, they had received neither the plan nor any notice that the school board had hired an engineering consultant to replace the one who resigned in early March.

The 180-student school, which has already cost an estimated $3.8 million, is being built on a landfill. According to the environmental protection department, school officials were notified in 1981 and several times thereafter that they had to submit the “disruption plan” required for any landfill construction. Such plans describe the way that problems such as liquid run-off, erosion, and solid-waste disposal will be dealt with in the design and construction.

A representative of the technical school’s board, however, said information about the requirement was given only to county officials, not to officials from the technical school. A spokesman for the environmental protection department said that the department had notified the officials involved in planning the school and given them the necessary forms to fill out.

“We did not advise them to build a school on that site, because we had reservations about the site, but without plans, we withheld our final recommendation for their project,” the environmental department’s spokesman said. Tests on the site in November and February revealed concentrations of methane of more than 5 percent, which is above the acceptable level.

Construction work on the school cannot resume until its officials provide the environmental department with an acceptable plan. If there is no way to vent the methane safely, the project could be scrapped.

Maryland District’s

Teachers Stage

‘Sick-Outs’ Over Pay

For the second week in a row, Montgomery County, Md., teachers staged organized “sick-outs” to protest their proposed pay raises and what they view as too-large class sizes and inadequate planning time for teachers at the elementary level.

The board has offered the county’s 6,000 teachers a 5-percent cost-of-living raise for 1984-85 school year; the Montgomery County Education Association, which has not endorsed the sick-outs, has asked for a 6.5-percent raise.

A total of 688 teachers from 26 schools have called in sick on one of seven days in the last two weeks, according to Kenneth K. Muir, director of information for the Montgomery County Public Schools. That figure involves 11 percent of the district’s teaching force and 17 percent of its schools, Mr. Muir said.

To counter the organized sick-outs, the Montgomery County Board of Education, following the third day of the sick-out, approved a suggestion by Superintendent Wilmer S. Cody that teachers who call in sick be required to present a doctor’s certificate or be docked a day’s pay.

“We are getting some doctor’s certificates,” said Mr. Muir. “Since teachers have a week to bring them in, we won’t have a tally for a while.”

In a related development, Marian L. Greenblatt, a board member, called on the board to censure Blair Ewing, a fellow member, for violating the board’s code of ethics when he discussed contract negotiations in public. Mr. Ewing had told reporters that he thought the teachers’ salary request was reasonable and that he hoped the board returns to the negotiating table.

Bronx Teacher

Arrested for

False Credentials

A Bronx, N.Y., teacher was arrested earlier this month and charged with illegally collecting over $31,000 in salary based on his false claim that he held a Ph.D. degree from Fordham University.

According to New York City’s Department of Investigation, Victor Incardona, a teacher at P.S. 721, earned the money over a nine-year period after submitting a forged Fordham Ph.D. transcript to the city’s board of education.

In New York City, as in most school systems in the country, teachers and administrators with advanced degrees are paid higher salaries.

Mr. Incardona was charged with grand larceny and forgery; he also faces disciplinary charges made by the board of education.

Early Use of Drugs

Found Linked With

Later Drug Habits

The younger a teen-ager was when he or she first used one drug--including cigarettes or alcohol--the higher the number of different substances the teen-ager now reports using, a new study has found. But, the researchers who conducted the study caution, the use of one drug does not necessarily lead to abuse of others.

The research, directed by Carol Mills, a psychologist at Franklin and Marshall College, involved the study of 4,400 boys and girls in Maryland public schools between 1978 and 1980. Together with Harvey Noyes, a psychologist with Citicorp Financial Inc., Ms. Mills questioned 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students about their use of drugs.

The survey showed that alcohol was the most commonly used drug, with 67 percent of 8th graders, 81 percent of 10th graders, and 87 percent of 12th graders reporting alcohol consumption. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with nearly half the 10th and 12th graders reporting marijuana use. Six percent of the 8th graders and 19 percent of the 12th graders said they smoked it several times a week.

Only a small number of high-school students move from marijuana to hard drugs, but those who do become involved in using those drugs rarely do so without experimenting first with marijuana, the psychologists found.

Those who used drugs had lower grades, more spending money, and were less certain about their plans for future education than those who did not use drugs. The researchers note, however, that the lower grades may have preceded use of drugs, as has been found in other studies.

The study was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, April 1984.

Producers of the children’s television show “Sesame Street” have agreed to stop using a song about monsters following a Madison, Wis., parent’s complaint that four lines in the song could be misinterpreted to encourage child molestation.

Martha A. Deming wrote to the Children’s Television Workshop about “I Want a Monster To Be My Friend” after she heard the song performed at a “Sesame Street” road show in Madison last year. The song includes the lines: “If I make friends with a friendly monster/I’ll let him bounce me on his knee/I’ll let him do whatever he wants/Especially if he’s bigger than me.”

“I couldn’t quite believe my ears when I heard the words being sung,” said Ms. Deming, who is the mother of two preschool children. “The words were pretty inappropriate,” she said, adding that she feared children might interpret the lines to mean they could let people bigger than they touch them. After discussing the song with a Madison police officer who gives child-safety talks, Ms. Deming wrote to Edward L. Palmer, vice president of ctw Following a review of the song, Mr. Palmer told Ms. Deming that al3though “the interpretation I gave them was never their intention,” the show’s producers would remove the song from their television and road-show repertoire, Ms. Deming said.

John P. Wilcox, a 63-year-old Philadelphia postal clerk, last week presented a check for $40,000 to Memphis State University to provide needy college students with the education he never received.

Mr. Wilcox grew up in Heth, Ark., and is the son of a sharecropper. He attended a one-room school but left after the 8th grade to go to work.

According to Deborah Baker, Memphis State University’s media-relations director, Mr. Wilcox has relatives in Memphis, but “did not have any affiliation with the university” at the time he decided to donate money to the school. “He had visited [the university],” she said, “heard good things about it, and liked what he saw.” The John P. Wilcox Scholarship Fund will provide four full-tuition scholarships, two for women and two for men, beginning in the fall of 1984. Students with financial need and good academic records are eligible for the awards.

Mr. Wilcox, who has worked as a postal clerk for 24 years, makes $25,000 a year. In 1978 he gave $35,000 to Temple University in Philadelphia to be used for athletic scholarships.

Arlene Pfeiffer, an unmarried mother whose membership in the National Honor Society was revoked after she gave birth to a child, has filed suit in federal district court on the grounds that her dismissal from the honor society at Marion Center (Pa.) Area High School represented illegal discrimination.

The suit names as defendants the state secretary of education, the Marion Center School District, the superintendent of schools, four members of the National Honor Society faculty council at the high school, the school board, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, which administers the National Honor Society.

Ms. Pfeiffer’s suit states that her dismissal from the society violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit sex discrimination and specifically prohibits discrimination against pregnant students. (See Education Week, Feb. 8, 1984.)

Faculty advisers to the honor society at the school stated in a letter to Ms. Pfeiffer last November that her dismissal was due to a “failure to uphold the high standards of leadership and character required for admission and maintenance of leadership.” The lawsuit maintains that in separate discussions with the plaintiff’s parents, the faculty members Continued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page

said she was dismissed because of her out-of-wedlock parenthood.

A similar suit, filed by Loretta Wort against the Brown County School District, is currently under consideration in federal district court in Springfield, Ill.

The New York City Police Department is investigating allegations that John Chin, a central figure in the inquiry into the affairs of Schools Chancellor Anthony J. Alvarado, also loaned money to a large number of police officers in the city.

The department’s Internal Affairs Division has interviewed dozens of officers, primarily those from the 23rd Precinct on the upper east side of Manhattan, after an anonymous tipster linked Mr. Chin to them, according to city officials.

Mr. Chin is a former employee of Mr. Alvarado’s and allegations that Mr. Chin loaned the now-suspended chancellor up to $26,000 led to an investigation of Mr. Alvarado’s financial affairs by the city’s Department of Investigation and, subsequently, formal charges of misconduct against the chancellor by the board of education.

A disciplinary hearing against Mr. Alvarado has been set for May 14.

Mr. Alvarado’s connection with Mr. Chin came to light when checks and a car registration in Mr. Alvarado’s name were found during a search of Mr. Chin’s apartment that followed his arrest on Feb. 27 for, among other things, firing shots into a neighbor’s apartment.

Teachers at the Virginia McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, Calif., gave preschool children tranquilizers in order to transport them to locations outside the school to be photographed and to participate in what could be a prostitution ring, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office has alleged.

At an April 6 hearing, Lael Rubin, a deputy district attorney, charged that tranquilizing drugs in liquid and pill form were provided to the children, rendering some unconscious, according to Al Albergate, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Ms. Rubin also alleged that the teachers may have been involved in up to 315 additional incidents of child abuse that were not listed in the original 115-count indictment. The district attorney’s office is deciding whether to present the additional charges to the grand jury, Mr. Albergate said. (See Education Week, April 11, 1984.)

Also last week, an arsonist set fire to the vacant school, causing $10,000 damage. On a sidewalk outside the school, the words, “Only the beginning” were spray-painted. The incident is under investigation by local police.

In the case of the Little Angel Day School in Lynwood, Henry Anthony Lawson, who was charged with sexually abusing a student and his son, both of whom attend the school, was arraigned on April 6.

In statewide school-board elections held this month in New Jersey, local parents’ groups successfully organized campaigns against some of the 113 candidates backed by Lyndon H. LaRouche’s National Democratic Policy Committee.

Officials of the political party claimed last month that they were mobilizing a campaign in 17 of the state’s 21 counties to influence the public debate on education. (See Education Week, March 14, 1984.)

But, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association, few of the candidates were elected. “From our understanding, we don’t believe that any did succeed,” said Frank Belluscio, a spokesman for the school-boards association.

Gov. John Evans of Idaho last week signed the Idaho School Improvement Act of 1984, which includes $20.3 million in new funding for teachers’ salaries. (See Education Week, April 11, 1984.) The Governor also signed an appropriations bill that will set funding for education at about $226 million.

The additional money for teacher salaries will come from a 1-cent increase in the state’s sales tax that the Governor also approved.

Last year’s legislative session raised the tax from 3 to 4.5 cents, with the stipulation that the increase be discontinued by July 1, 1984.

Approximately 100 parents picketed outside city hall in Yonkers, N.Y., recently to protest a controversial plan intended to end a four-year-old school-desegregation lawsuit.

According to press reports, parents who participated in the April 5 protest said they were upset about the proposed closing of nine neighborhood schools. The parents carried signs that read “Only Fools Close Schools” and chanted, “Save our schools.”

The desegregation plan, which would not rely on mandatory busing, was approved last month by the U.S. Justice Department, the city school board, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It calls for the closing of the nine schools, a minority enrollment of at least 28 percent in each school, and the creation of magnet programs to promote voluntary integration.

Small But Enthusiastic Sales Force

Sixth graders from the Solis-Cohen Elementary School, a predominantly white school in Philadelphia, on the auditorium stage of the Kinsey Elementary School, a largely black school in the city. Their recent appearance was part of an effort to recruit black students to their school under a new citywide desegregation plan.

Any Resemblance to Living Principals Is Purely ...

However unpopular school administrators may think they are in the real world, their situation seems to be worse in the realm of fiction.

They are, according to a study of 50 American novels written since 1940, bureaucratic, coercive, and more interested in their jobs than in people. Rarely are they portrayed as heroes.

“The School Administrator in the American Novel,” a paper written by Theresa May Smith at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, concludes that authors who portray school administrators in their books do so in a very negative light.

Ms. Smith, who conducted the study based on the belief that “fictional writers mirror society and, adversely, affect society,” studied books that featured public- and private-school principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and college and university deans and presidents.

Most administrative characters in the books exhibited “a high concern for task and a low concern for people,” Ms. Smith found.

Public-school administrators fared the worst, Ms. Smith found. They were depicted most often in tense interactions with pupils and staff.

Private-school administrators and college administrators fared slightly better; they were sometimes seen in community and school leadership roles.


When and where was the first secondary-school student newspaper published in the United States? (Submitted by Edward J. Oliver, Providence, R.I.)

(The answer will be included with next week’s quiz.)

Answer to last week’s quiz: The first laboratory school for teacher training opened on Oct. 31, 1838, at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

Readers are invited to submit interesting and/or arcane questions involving education (with answers) for possible inclusion in Quizmaster. Please send your name, address, and phone number and indicate the source of your information. Education Week will pay $10 for each item used. Send entries to: Quizmaster, Education Week, 1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Suite 560, Washington, D.C. 20036.

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