Districts News Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The Philadelphia Board of Education has named a four-member panel to select a successor to Superintendent Michael P. Marcase, whose contract expires next July.

Mr. Marcase indicated that he would consider a contract extension if the search committee or the full nine-member school board requests that he stay on. The superintendent, however, told the press in late October that under no circumstances would he ask the board for an extension.

Mr. Marcase, who earns a $54,000 salary, has supervised the 213,000-student school system since 1975.

Philadelphia's schools have been buffeted by serious financial problems and several teacher strikes during his tenure in office, the most recent walkout having delayed the start of the current school year by 50 days. Mayor William J. Green and local parents' groups have repeatedly called on the superintendent and on several school-board members to resign.

The reopening of schools in the financially troubled Estacada School District in northwest Oregon was marred by a bombing incident early last week.

Estacada High School Principal LeRoy Key said two sticks of dynamite were set off outside the building shortly after midnight on Nov. 29. The district's six schools, however, which had been closed since Nov. 6 following the defeat of a tax referendum, opened the next day.

Voters in the Estacada district decided by almost a two-to-one margin on Nov. 24 to approve a $2.75-million emergency tax measure that enabled the district's 2,500 students to return to school. Estacada residents had turned down four previous tax proposals earlier this year, eventually forcing the school board to close schools and to lay off employees.

Mr. Key said the bombing incident, which caused minor damage to the building, did not affect the school's operation the next day.

He added, however, that the effects of the three-week school closing and the political schism within the community caused by the tax millage question are only beginning to be felt.

"The interruption of the school year is taking its toll on students and teachers in the district," Mr. Key said. "Students will have to go to classes through both the Christmas and Easter holidays, and that's causing a great deal of consternation among them. The teachers are pretty well exhausted emotionally as well."

Mr. Key also said the school district could suffer cash-flow problems for the duration of the school year because revenues generated by the tax increase will not be available to the schools until March at the earliest.

A federal judge has allowed a severely retarded 10-year-old boy who is a carrier of hepatitis-B to remain in school until a grievance over unsafe working conditions is settled in court.

M. Thomas Goedeke, superintendent of schools in Howard County, Md., said staff members at the boy's school filed a grievance when he was found to be a carrier of the disease. The school board agreed to provide "home schooling" but the boy's parents objected because they were not consulted or given enough notice.

"It is our opinion that because of the uniqueness of the situation that the child should be in home schooling rather than Cedar Lane School," Mr. Goedeke said. The staff members' case will be heard in U.S. District Court.

State health officals, according to Mr. Goedeke, said the boy should remain in the school but that precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease.

A federal judge has approved an out-of-court settlement in which the Garden City, Kan., school system agreed to train more teachers for bilingual-education programs.

The Mexican-American Council on Education had filed suit in federal court charging that not all eligible Hispanic children were receiving bilingual education.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Kelly approved a settlement worked out between a group of Hispanic parents and the Garden City school district. The agreement could increase the system's expenditures on bilingual programs--currently $170,000 per year--by $24,000 to $45,000.

"If all new teachers are certified and have 30 hours on the salary schedule, and the teacher aides were all paid what they [the Hispanic parents] wanted, it could cost that much," said Horace J. Good, superintendent of Unified School District #457.

The consent agreement gives Garden City three years to hire new teachers or to train teachers now employed to teach in English and Spanish.

Because the state has no certification standards for bilingual teachers, Mr. Good said, the district will develop its own.

Of the district's 4,700 students, 21 percent are Hispanic.

The cables that bring television to children's homes stretch, metaphorically, back through time to the caves where early men and women left the first written records of communication. Gutenberg's movable type is part of the "chain" of communication; so is Bell's invention, the telephone.

Children may receive a tangible, audible introduction to these and other aspects of communication, the "universal human process," at the Capital Children's Museum in Washington.

The new permanent exhibit is the latest offering from an institution that is rapidly becoming a model for other children's museums in the U.S. With heavy emphasis on "hands-on" exhibits, the Capital Children's Museum belies the traditional "do-not-touch" image of museums.

The communication exhibit has ten major segments. It begins with the cave, moves through printing, radio, and oral traditions, ending with a "future center" where children can learn to use a microcomputer.

The exhibit, which occupies two floors, receives continuing support from the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.

A computer exhibit at the Capital Children's Museum.

Vol. 01, Issue 13

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories