Districts News Roundup

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A Union County, N.J., judge has ruled that the Hillside Board of Education must turn over to the state data on its racially imbalanced elementary schools so that a desegregation plan can be implemented by the beginning of next school year.

Superior Court Judge William DiBuono issued the order on Jan. 28. The state, meanwhile, was ordered to hire a consultant, at the school district's expense, to prepare a desegregation plan.

Earlier this month, state attorneys asked Judge DiBuono to force the city's school board to choose one of three desegregation plans that had been approved by Saul Cooperman, the state commissioner of education.

"Our position has been that Mr. Cooperman's plans are not comprehensive and provide us with no information on which kids to move, how many should be moved, and where they should be moved," said Anthony Avella, superintendent of the 34,000-student district.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the school district have filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that the state has illegally used federal funds in waging its battle to force the district to accept one of the desegregation plans.

The state board of education ordered the Hillside school board to implement a desegregation plan after finding the school illegally segregated under state law in 1973. Approximately 65 percent of the district's elementary-school students and 70 percent of its high-school students are black.

In a related development, a New Jersey appeals court also ruled on Jan. 28 that the state commissioner of education has the right to order school districts to design and implement desegregation plans, and if the districts fail to comply, he has the right to impose a plan of his own.

That decision came in a lawsuit involving the Linden, N.J., Board of Education.

The city of New York "runs separate vocational high schools for girls and boys" and "trains girls for low-paying, dead-end jobs," according to a recent study conducted by a local coalition of educators and civil-rights advocates.

The 55-page study, conducted by the Full Access and Rights to Education Coalition, alleged that "however vast and comprehensive [the city's] vocational-education system may be, it fails to provide young women with the services, opportunities, and benefits it provides young men."

For example, the study noted that women made up only 35 percent of the city's vocational-technical schools' enrollment, although they make up more than half of the school district's total enrollment.

In addition, it said that most of the female vocational high-school students are concentrated in five schools where "'traditional' female occupational" subjects such as cosmetology, health assisting, and secretarial skills are emphasized.

The study contended that the sex segregation "is not a result of mere differences in student choice," but rather "the product of a wide range of institutional policies and practices--both official and unofficial--which promote traditional occupational stereotypes and which channel students on the basis of their sex into distinct career paths."

The Reidsville, N.C., board of education has approved a plan to allow 4th- and 5th-grade students to leave campus for one period each week to take a Bible class aboard a bus provided by a local religious group.

Until a Reidsville lawyer, William F. Horsley, protested, Bible instruction had been permitted for 60 years in all of the town's schools. It is still permitted in the junior and senior high schools, Mr. Horsley said.

A teacher whose salary was paid by a local group of religious fundamentalists, the Committee for Bible in Public Schools, taught the classes.

Mr. Horsley said he advised the school board that the policy was unconstitutional, the board's lawyer agreed, and the board voted to change the policy. The Bible-study classes are still offered as an elective for students in the junior and senior high schools.

George H. Gardner, executive director of the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, said his group is "very interested" in filing suit to stop the classes at the secondary level, but is looking for a person willing to participate in the suit.

The Rev. Everett Sileven, pastor of the Faith Baptist Church and Superintendent of the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., has completed his four-month jail sentence for refusing to close his Christian school in defiance of court orders.

Mr. Sileven, who, according to his wife, has temporarily left Nebraska, objects to state education-department requirements that he use state-certified teachers in his school, and has been fighting the state for several years over the issue.

His case is one of several continuing conflicts between the state and church-affiliated private schools.

The school has been closed since Oct. 22, and its students have taken instruction at home.

States News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

States News Roundup

Gov. Richard F. Celeste of Ohio last week ordered a $190-million cut in state aid to elementary and secondary schools to help balance the state's fiscal 1983 budget, which has a deficit projected at $528 million.

Together with a $40-million cut in state support for colleges and universities, the reductions for education represent more than 81 percent of the $282 million trimmed by the Governor's executive order.

"It grieved him that so much of this came out of education," said a spokesman. "But he has only five months to balance the budget. Between now and then, there is virtually nothing that can be done to curtail Medicaid costs," which have exceeded projections by $149 million.

School districts will have until the end of the current fiscal year to absorb cuts in general aid averaging about 18 percent, according to the state department of education. Categorical programs will be cut by 10 percent.

With the new cuts, the $757-million increase appropriated in the current biennium has dwindled to $350 million. State and local officials, noting that many districts have no contracts with employees, predicted that many districts will be forced to attempt local property-tax increases or to tap the state's emergency school-loan fund.

Cleveland's superintendent, Frederick D. Holliday, immediately ordered his subordinates to devise plans for cutting expenses by 10, 15, or 20 percent, anticipating further cuts in the next biennium.

The Governor also last week asked the legislature to close the budget gap and create a small contingency fund by increasing and extending a "temporary" surcharge on income taxes enacted last year and by raising the tax on utility companies.

An Illinois circuit judge has blocked Gov. James R. Thompson's plan to cut $159 million from the state's fiscal 1983 budget, a move that would have reduced state aid to elementary and secondary schools by $42 million.

Judge Albert S. Porter of Cook County Circuit Court issued a temporary injunction preventing Governor Thompson from taking action under the Emergency Budget Act, which the General Assembly passed last year to give him one-time emergency authority to cut as much as 2 percent of this year's budget.

The judge ruled that the state legislature unconstitutionally relinquished its budget-making authority when it passed the emergency act. The Governor has said he will appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, State Superintendent Donald G. Gill has proposed a $2.1-billion budget for fiscal 1984, an increase of $98 million but still less than the "full resource needs" for the state's 1,009 school districts.

Mr. Gill said those needs call for an increase of $154 million over current-year spending, but suggested his proposal represented a more realistic goal in view of the state's troubled economy.

Mr. Gill's budget seeks $1.4 billion in general state aid, an increase of $53 million or about 4 percent over this year's spending.

Spending for programs mandated by law and other categorical programs would increase $34.7 million to $387.2 million.

Thirty-three high-school students were arrested by police in Anne Arundel County, Md., last week following a seven-month undercover investigation of drug dealing at three area high schools.

Police also arrested 14 adults from communities near the schools. It was the largest school drug raid in Anne Arundel history, police said.

Seventeen of the students were arrested at Meade Senior High School, which is located on the grounds of Fort Meade, an Army base.

The students--who came mostly from middle- and upper-middle-class families--were charged with distributing cocaine, hashish, lsd, and other drugs. They were released in the custody of their parents pending court appearances.

They also face expulsion from school, authorities said, and will be required to attend drug counseling sessions with their parents before being readmitted.

Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas has signed into law a "30 and out" teacher-retirement plan that will cost the state somewhere between $3.5 million and $5 million per year.

The law will permit public-school teachers to retire with full benefits after 30 years of service, instead of after 35 years, as was formerly required.

The law does not have a requirement regarding a minimum retirement age. As a result, a teacher who has 30 years' experience before age 55, for example, will be eligible to retire at that age.

The Gideon Society has agreed to stop distributing Bibles in Illinois public schools, following a state legal advisor's opinion that the practice was illegal.

David A. Thompson, assistant legal advisor to the Illinois State Board of Education, said the state received complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union about Bible giveaways during school hours, primarily in the southeastern portion of the state.

"The question had come up before," he said. "They've been doing it for more than 20 years, according to one of the superintendents."

Basing its opinion on the U.S. and Illinois constitutions, the legal office advised school districts late last year not to permit the distribution.

"We said that if they [the Gideons] want to stand across the street and distribute Bibles to children as they walk by, that's their privilege," Mr. Thompson said. "Our objection was to the use of school property during school hours, which we felt violated the Establishment Clause."

Mr. Thompson said the Gideons announced this month that they would cease the practice.

Cities News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

Cities News Roundup

Ruth B. Love, Chicago's superintendent of schools, has asked for a probe of allegations of widespread drinking and marijuana use among school bus drivers.

The charges, made last week by the Better Government Association and radio station WCFL, stemmed from a four-month investigation by the association and reporters from the station. They contend that drivers employed by Spears Transportation Inc., which holds a $9.1-million contract with the school board this year to transport 20,000 students, routinely use alcohol and marijuana before and during work.

One driver reportedly told bga investigators that "on a bad day" more than half of the company's drivers are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs during their afternoon trips. Investigators said they witnessed several incidents of drinking and marijuana use among drivers between trips.

Officials of the school system said they were not aware of the alleged abuses until bga and WCFL made their report public last week. The Spears firm, one of several companies providing bus service to the district, also denied knowledge of the alleged misconduct.

Ms. Love has asked Cook County's regional school superintendent, who reports directly to the Illinois State Board of Education, to examine the charges. In addition, she has asked the Chicago police to help monitor the conduct of bus drivers and has ordered principals to supervise the loading and unloading of children "so that we are in good touch with the drivers," a spokesman said.

The Dallas school district is being asked to contribute nearly $434,400 toward an intensive city drive to collect delinquent city and school taxes. That is the district's share under its contract with the city for tax-collection services.

School officials have become alarmed at the declining level of voluntary property-tax payments and welcome the city drive, said a spokesman for the district.

The collection drive, which will cost nearly $1 million, includes $173,000 to fund an automated lawsuit-filing program, and $750,000 to collect taxes owed on real estate and personal property. Only the promising cases--less than half the total number--will be pursued, said an assistant city manager.

Parents in Pittsburgh went back to school recently--not to adult-education classes, but to a series of 13 workshops intended to refresh their knowledge of the basic skills their children are learning and to teach them a few "tips of the trade" to motivate their children.

The classes, which have drawn about 40 parents so far, are an outgrowth of the district's Monitoring Achievement in Pittsburgh program, in which parents are notified of students' levels of skill in 20 different areas.

"Since parents are being notified on how well their children are doing, we thought it was important, if we want parents to contribute, that they understand the information and be able to help their children,'' said Pat Crawford, information coordinator for the district.

Officials also teach parents the new vocabulary used in the fundamental disciplines. Parents who grew up "carrying" when they multiplied and "borrowing" when they subtracted will not be able effectively to help a child who was taught that he or she must "regroup" the numbers. "Regrouping is Greek to parents," Ms. Crawford said.

News Update

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, pp 3, 16

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

News Update

At 10:17 P.M. on Jan. 26, one of the most celebrated book-banning controversies in the country ended.

The board of the Island Trees Union Free School District in Levittown, N.Y., voted 4 to 3 to keep on the shelves nine books that it had banned from its school libraries in 1976.

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the board's action warranted a trial to determine whether the First Amendment's free-speech guarantee had been denied to the five students who challenged the book ban.

Shortly after the Court's ruling, a parents' group gave the board a petition with 1,200 signatures urging that the books be returned to the library shelves.

The board agreed in August to return the books to library shelves with a requirement that students receive parental consent in order to read them. But the American Civil Liberties Union took its case to New York Attorney General Robert Abrams, who said in December that the board's newest requirement would violate a law on the confidentiality of library records.

Among the once-banned books: Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas; A Reader for Writers: A Critical Anthology of Prose Readings, compiled by Jerome Archer; Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver; and Go Ask Alice, by an anonymous writer.

A federal district judge, saying he reached his decision "with considerable reluctance," has dismissed the Goldsboro, N.C., public schools' desegregation lawsuit against the schools in outlying Wayne County.

Lawyers for the city school district had argued that the suburban schools had refused for racial reasons to merge or change their district borders. But in his Jan. 28 ruling, U.S. District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. said that "the jurisdiction of the federal courts cannot be invoked," in the case.

"I hasten to say that I reach this result with considerable reluctance," he added. "My sympathies in this case, if I may be permitted to have some, are wholly with" the city district's school board.

The Rev. Everett Sileven, pastor of the Faith Baptist Church and Superintendent of the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., has completed his four-month jail sentence for refusing to close his Christian school in defiance of court orders.

Mr. Sileven, who, according to his wife, has temporarily left Nebraska, objects to state education-department requirements that he use state-certified teachers in his school, and has been fighting the state for several years over the issue.

His case is one of several continuing conflicts between the state and church-affiliated private schools.

The school has been closed since Oct. 22, and its students have taken instruction at home.

The New York City school district's continuing budget crisis took a turn for the better last week when the state agreed to provide $9 million to avoid layoffs of 1,000 teachers.

However, 100 administrative job cuts are planned, as well as cutbacks in free bus service for some 5th- and 6th-grade children, and a five-cent increase in lunch fees.

The state contribution was the final piece needed in a $40-million compromise package between the city, state, and school district. The city contributed $l3 million to avoid the teacher layoffs.

"There's a tremendous feeling of relief from top to bottom," said a school-district spokesman.

Hello, Mrs. Jones? This Is Your Son's, Ah, Principal

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

Hello, Mrs. Jones? This Is Your Son's, Ah, Principal

Need to call 350 parents to let them know Johnnie or Susie cut classes yesterday, or, alternatively, that they made the Dean's list? Or that there is a pta meeting next Wednesday night? Yes, you say, but one can't possibly make that many calls in a day. Well, Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Fla., may have the answer.

Last month, the 1,600-student school put Telsol to work. Half computer, half truant officer, the machine automatically calls and leaves a pre-recorded 20-second message with as many telephone numbers as school officials give it.

"It has real potential," Jean S. Johnson, Boca Ciega's dean of students, said of the electronic tattletale. "I couldn't begin to contact the number of parents with personal calls that I have in past couple of weeks with this thing."

"I type the phone numbers in off the school's master list--yesterday it took a couple of hours because I had 330 absent students and another message that report cards were being handed out--and then I start the robot at 5:30 P.M. and let it run to 9:30 P.M.," Ms. Johnson explained. "It makes 50 calls an hour."

"Some kids intercept the calls," Ms. Johnson continued, "but they have to think pretty fast if they are going to lie to their parents about who the caller was. And, of course, some parents have complained about being called by a computer. I understand that, but I tell them this is the quickest, most accurate way of communicating with them."

The machine calls each number up to three times if there is no answer.

Boca Ciega is using its Telsol on a free, 30-day trial; their Pennsylvania manufacturer usually sells them for $9,000. Ms. Johnson said that if the experiments at Boca Ciega and at another Pinellas County school are successful, the county may purchase one for each of its 14 high schools.

"That would be fine with me," Ms. Johnson said. "I can see only one problem with the robot--it has my voice on it. A lot of kids are starting to come in and complain that I'm calling their parents on them when they skip classes. I don't like always being the bad guy."

People News

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, p 16

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

People News

Robert G. Scanlon, who served as Pennsylvania's education secretary for four years, has left state government and joined the private sector as assistant to the president of Temple University in Philadelphia.

Mr. Scanlon, a Democrat, was not reappointed to a second term as education secretary by Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh. He was reportedly dissatisfied with his new post, executive secretary of the Human Services Committee, and abruptly quit the job after only five days, amidst rumors of an offer from Temple.

One of his new responsibilities at the university will be to "automate" the administration, a public-affairs spokesman said.

Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will take his opinions to the airwaves.

He will address a variety of education and labor issues as one of two guest commentators for WQXR, a New York radio station, according to Susan Glass, spokesman for the aft

"The point of view expressed will be more liberal than conservative, Ms. Glass said. "The commentaries can be lighthearted and often are," Ms. Glass said.

Mr. Shanker's commentaries can be heard on alternating days, Monday through Friday. Herbert Schmertz, vice president for public affairs for the Mobil Corporation is to be the other guest commentator.

Kathleen A. Kelley, president of the Boston Teachers Union, has announced that she will not seek re-election for a third term later this year.

Ms. Kelley, who is a tenured first-grade teacher in the Boston school system, has said her future plans are still undecided. But she said her decision not to run for re-election would give the 6,000-member union "an opportunity for some new perspective."

In 198l, union members rejected Ms. Kelley's call for a strike against the school system, prompting her to offer her resignation. The union's executive board, however, refused to accept the resignation. That year also brought layoffs for many tenured white teachers that resulted in racial tensions within the union.

Ms. Kelley's recent decision comes at a time when the union is about to negotiate a new contract with Boston school officials.

Research and Reports

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 20, February 9, 1983, p 16

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education

Research and Reports

Principals received the lowest salary increases in several years in 1982-83, according to a report released last week by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Principals received salary increases this school year ranging from 5.4 percent for elementary-school principals to 7.6 percent for high-school principals in schools with 10,000 to 24,999 students, according to the report. The report was based on the maximum salaries paid to principals and assistant principals by 1,120 school systems that responded to a survey questionnaire.

Last year, principals earned pay increases ranging from 7.1 percent to 9.3 percent; the year before the figures were 9.2 percent and 12 percent, according to the survey.

High-school principals in the districts of 10,000 to 24,999 students also had the highest maximum salaries--an average of $42,554.

Elementary-school principals in districts with more than 25,000 students had the lowest maximum salary--$37,450.

Scott Thomson, executive director of the nassp, said 10 percent of all principals have left the profession in each of the last few years--only one-quarter of those leaving, he said, were retiring.

The data for the report, which has been published in each of the past nine years, came from a national survey of public-school personnel salaries conducted last December by the Education Research Service, a research group sponsored by a number of education associations. The entire report is available to non- ersmembers for $26. Each member receives one copy free, and must pay $13 for eachadditional copy.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will conduct a nationwide survey this month of the use of computers, television, radio, and other audio media in elementary and secondary schools.

A cpb spokesman said questionnaires will be sent to 675 of the nation's approximately 15,600 public-school districts. The final results of the survey will be available in October.

The cpb is working with the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania on the project, which is modeled after a 1977 study of the use of television in the schools.

Pennsylvania State University researchers have developed a telephone "hotline" for students who return to an empty home after school and need advice on personal or household problems in their parents' absence.

"Phonefriend" operates 15 hours each week in the Pittsburgh area. The hotline is used primarily by about 4,500 children aged 4 to 16 years.

Officials with the program say there are as many as four million children nationwide who are responsible for taking care of themselves in the afternoons.

The organization usually helps the children with everyday problems, such as suspicious noises, and many children call because they are lonely, officials said. But the telephone operators have also received requests for help in dealing with more serious matters, such as rape or pregnancy.

Community volunteers--including homemakers, social-work students, and others--operate the phone lines.

The project has been endorsed by the police, several emergency organizations, and the American Association of University Women.

The Norfolk, Va., school board voted last week to abandon its 12-year-old mandatory student-transportation plan and to ask a federal district court to allow elementary-school students in the district to attend their neighborhood schools.

That vote, according to civil-rights advocates, made the 35,000-student district the first in the nation to decide to cast off a mandatory busing plan after successfully desegregating its schools.

The school district was ordered by a federal district court to begin busing students for desegregation purposes in 1970. In 1975, the court declared the system unitary and closed the lawsuit, Beckett v. Norfolk School Board, after 18 years of litigation.

The desegregation plan, however, has remained in effect since then. According to recent school statistics, about 20,000 of the district's 35,000 students continue to be bused.

Today, approximately 60 percent of Norfolk's students are black, compared to a 60-percent white enrollment in 1970 when busing began, according to Sam W. Ray, the district's deputy superintendent.

The board, according to Mr. Ray, plans to ask the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to review the proposed neighborhood-school plan, which would leave 10 of the city's 36 elementary schools almost entirely black and another 18 schools either 70-percent white or 70-percent minority. The plan envisions the continued busing of junior- and senior-high-school students.

Vol. 02, Issue 20

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