Cities News Roundup
More than 220 teachers from greater Boston--nearly four times the number expected--met on the Lesley College campus in Cambridge, Mass., last week to discuss "Educating for Responsibility in a Nuclear Age."
The meeting--believed by its sponsors to be the first of its kind held in the nation--was convened to help teachers examine their "role and responsibility" in making students aware of the dangers and implications of the nuclear-arms race.
Robert Sperber, superintendent of the Brookline Public Schools, opened the meeting quoting from a letter written by a seventh grader to a student in the Soviet Union. "All I ask for is a future," the student wrote. "I don't want to get in a war with anybody. I want to play hockey and to make it my life."
"We have the responsibility to teach about nuclear issues, to help our students make intelligent choices, to help them think about critical issues, and to give them a useful outlet for their thoughts and feelings," Mr. Sperber said. "We must deal effectively with this issue which affects the survival of our civilization. If the subject is too controversial, then that is all the more reason it should be included.''
The conference was sponsored jointly by the Lesley College Graduate School, an anti-nuclear group called Educators for Social Responsibility, and "Facing History and Ourselves," a curriculum project of the Brookline Public Schools.
In the hope of avoiding a lawsuit, the board had offered Mr. Carlin a lesser job at his current salary and full benefits. But Franklin B. Walter, state superintendent of public instruction, quashed the deal, saying that the school system, which is $19 million in debt to the state, could not afford to create a new administrative post at a cost of more than $100,000 over two years.
The board has been under pressure to replace Mr. Carlin as superintendent from U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti, who is presiding over the system's desegregation case and has made Mr. Carlin's removal from office a condition of loosening his authority over the system.
In a 6-1 vote, the board decided on Feb. 25 not to renew the superintendent's contract when it expires on July 31. Mr. Carlin is expected to contest the firing on grounds that the four board members elected last fall were prejudiced against him and did not give him a fair evaluation.
Alva T. Bonda, president of the school board, said he was confident that he could raise enough money privately to keep Mr. Carlin on the payroll after his contract expires. That option is acceptable to the state, but Mr. Carlin would not say whether he would accept it.
Marva Collins, the Chicago teacher who said she spurned President Reagan's offer to head the Education Department, has been the subject of renewed media attention over accusations that she has misrepresented herself and her school.
Ms. Collins, a former public-school teacher, first gained national attention for her reported success inteaching poor children with learning disabilities at West Side Prep, the private school she founded. Her rigorous teaching methods and her staunch objections to federal subsidies heightened public curiosity--and boosted enrollment at her school, which began in her home with about 40 children and now has more than 240 students.
Last month, however, a Chicago organization of substitute teachers accused Ms. Collins of, among other things, accepting Comprehensive Employment and Training Act funds from 1975 to 1979, contrary to her insistence that she has never accepted federal aid. The charges were aired by a Chicago television station and repeated in at least one national publication. Since then, Ms. Collins and her lawyer have appeared on local and national television programs to counter the accusations, which they claim have been "innuendo and misstatement of fact."
"She has been an excellent teacher and that's all she's ever held herself out to be," Gerald C. Peterson, Ms. Collins's attorney, said in an interview last week. "There's been no evidence that her method doesn't work and her students don't learn."
Mr. Peterson said that the accusations have not affected enrollment at Ms. Collins' school, and that the parents of her students and the community have been supportive. "They recognize she has nothing to defend against," he said.
Vol. 01, Issue 24