State News Round Up

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A two-year study of Massachusetts' special-education law found that the majority of the state's educators, administrators, and parents support the concept of education for all children and would not favor paring the law down.

Support for Chapter 766, which was enacted in 1972 and predates by three years the federal law for educating handicapped children, averaged about 67 percent among the groups surveyed, according to James McGarry, the project director for the $500,000 study.

The diocese of Manchester had argued that a civil court has no jurisdiction over the matter. The judge said that he did have jurisdiction over the parish school board approved the firings.

The advocates of creationism have won a battle in Virginia.

A committee of the state's board of education has recommended that graduates of the teacher-education program at Liberty Baptist College be eligible for certification as public-school teachers, even though the college's biology department teaches the "scientific basis for biblical creationism."

The state board's panel approved the biology program of the university--where the Rev. Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority is chancellor--after Liberty Baptist officials produced course outlines and textbooks demonstrating that biology courses at the school also include the theory of evolution.

If the 8-to-1 vote is upheld by an advisory group within the state education department and then by the full state board, Liberty Baptist's education graduates will be eligible for teacher certificates in Virginia and in about 30 other states that have reciprocal certification agreements with Virginia.

The suspension of Cyril Lang, the Maryland high-school teacher who was temporarily relieved of his duties for teaching classics deemed too difficult for 10th graders, has been upheld by the state board of education.

The state panel found that the Montgomery County school board was justified in suspending Mr. Lang for insubordination when he continued to teach the works of Machiavelli and Aristotle despite administrators' orders not to use the books in his English course.

Mr. Lang contended that the principle of academic freedom entitled him to use the books, and his case became something of a cause celebre in the media and among education groups.

But the state board retroactively reduced the length of the suspension from 28 to 15 days, cutting the teacher's loss in salary from nearly $3,300 to about $1,700.

Mr. Lang has left Charles W. Woodward High School, where the incident took place, and is now teaching at another high school in Montgomery County.

Vol. 01, Issue 30

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