State News Roundup
Bynum in his decision to remove a dictionary from the state's list of approved textbooks because it contains obscene and scatological words.
The Texas State Board of Education has supported Commissioner of Education Raymon L. The words are the same ones that prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to ban radio broadcast of a monologue by the comedian George Carlin.
Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary was being considered for use only by college-bound seniors.
Frederick C. Mish, editorial director at G. & C. Merriam Company, which publishes the dictionary, said that Commissioner Bynum asked the firm to remove certain offensive words from the dictionary, but the publisher refused.
"Their textbook proclamation said, in effect, that entries were legitimate if they were in widespread use in speech, literature, journalism, or academia," Mr. Mish said.
"Our position is that all the offensive words in the Collegiate meet these criteria and are clearly marked. We have good solid evidence that these words appear in reputable publications with some frequency."
Mr. Mish said it is common for individuals and groups to request changes.
"We get hundreds of letters from groups of all beliefs and persuasions wanting us either to delete, modify or move some words," he said.
"Our answer is the same to every single one."
The West Virginia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has sued the state Board of Education, alleging a wide variety of discriminatory practices against blacks and low-income students in public schools.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston, seeks an injunction to prevent further discrimination in hiring, student discipline, testing, and remedial programs.
It also asks that the court order the state to develop a plan "to effectuate a transition to a racially equal and integrated school system."
The naacp suit cites statistics gathered in a year-long study and purporting to show that:
More stringent state requirements for high-school graduation will hurt black students and that racial discrimination in hiring teachers "effectively forecloses this one area of career opportunity for blacks."
A competency test used in Kanawha County assumes that minority students are intellectually inferior.
Black students in two counties are suspended from school or subjected to corporal punishment more often than are white students.
Academic "tracking" in two other counties places a high proportion of blacks in the lower levels, thereby increasing the dropout rate among blacks and decreasing the number of minority students who attend college.
In response to the suit, state Superintendent of Schools Roy Truby said he resented the notion that stricter graduation requirements will harm black students. The naacp, he said, "greatly underestimates black and low-income students."
Mr. Truby added that the suit, which focuses on the 1978-79 school year, fails to take account of recent efforts in several counties to hire more black teachers and administrators.
No hearing has yet been scheduled in the case.
Local school officials in Maine have been sent an "informal letter" by Education Commissioner Harold Raynolds Jr. advising them not to allow the teaching of "scientific creationism" in the public schools.
The letter, sent to all school-district superintendents, warns that any system teaching creationism would be "vulnerable to legal action" for violating the doctrine of separation of church and state.
"The teaching of a course or curriculum entitled 'creationism' or 'scientific creationism' may be proposed in your school community during the school year," Mr. Raynolds said in the letter. While the superintendent advised school officials to reject any request to establish a separate course, he said discussions of creationism might be appropriate in conjunction with some other academic course.
State senators in Washington continued work late last week on a revised state budget that could cut up to $38 million in state aid to elementary and secondary education.
Michael E. Roberts, a budget analyst for the state superintendent of public instruction, said last Wednesday that it was unclear whether the Republican-controlled Senate would be able to come up with the 25 votes necessary for passage of the measure.
Governor John Spellman called the legislature into special session earlier this month in order to cut $227 million from the state's current general-fund budget. The governor asked the legislature to slice $20 million from the state's original $2.3-billion allocation for elementary and secondary education during the current biennium, according to Mr. Roberts.
The Senate Ways and Means committee on Nov. 13, however, approved a revised budget that would cut $18 million more from aid to schools than the governor recommended.
The Senate committee's budget package would repeal a law that orders annual achievement tests for all fourth-graders and would channel funds that had been earmarked for driver education directly to school districts to use as they see fit.
The Senate Ways and Means committee also agreed not to allocate funds to school districts in order to cover cost-of-living raises for teachers. The schools would have to pay for such raises from their general state apportionment, according to Mr. Roberts.
A special session of the Arkansas legislature, which began last week, may enrich the state's teachers by $125 apiece.
The one-time bonuses would come from oil leases at Fort Chaffee awarded to the state by the federal government. Governor Frank D. White has proposed that one-fourth of the $21.5-million "windfall" be given to teachers.
In addition, Governor White has proposed several other bills that would benefit educators, including one that would forbid school boards to cut teachers' salaries in mid-contract even if the district runs short of funds.
The governor also will ask the legislature to set up an 11-member commission to study the state's method of financing schools, a spokesman said.
Arkansas voters need some "basic education" on school finance, according to a recent study conducted by the Center for Urban and Governmental Studies at the University of Arkansas. According to the study, the majority of those interviewed believe that property taxes furnish most of the income for schools, when, in fact, 58 percent of the schools' revenues come from the state.
The Colorado Board of Education has amended the state Teacher Certification Act of 1975 with procedures for firing "incompetent or unethical" teachers.
A unanimous vote came after the board adopted several changes recommended by the Colorado Education Association, which represents some 25,000 teachers in the state.
Among other things, the cea's amendments will remove local school boards from involvement in the investigations.
"The State Board of Education," one amendment reads, "is the only body authorized to grant and revoke teacher certification."
It was also agreed that a lack of "adequate facilities, materials, or administrative assistance" would be considered during incompetency proceedings.
The amendments result from a directive to the board, as part of the 1975 teacher-certification law, to adopt standards of incompetence and unethical behavior.
The changes are subject to review by the state attorney general's office before final adoption by the board in December.
Vol. 01, Issue 12