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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 1st-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.

National News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 21, February 16, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

National News Roundup

The federal government should continue to deny tax-exempt status to private schools that maintain racially discriminatory policies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights maintains in a new report.

In a 22-page monograph, "Discriminatory Religious Schools and Tax-Exempt Status," the commission's staff reviews national policy changes that led the Nixon Administration in 1971 to instruct the Internal Revenue Service to deny the tax exemptions that had been available since 1894.

It also discusses the events that occurred during the 11 years leading up to the Reagan Administration's reversal of that policy last February, when it supported Bob Jones University and the Goldsboro Christian Schools in appeals that are currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The eradication of racial discrimination, particularly in the area of education, is a compelling governmental interest of the highest order," the report says.

"To allow tax-exempt status," it continues, "to racially discriminatory private schools, whether religious or nonsectarian, would be contrary to the furtherance of that constitutional objective."

The monograph was approved unanimously by the commission's six members, according to a spokesman.

The number of top-scoring students on the Scholastic Aptitude Test has declined steeply in the past 10 years, according to the College Board.

Between 1972 and 1982, the number of students scoring 650 or higher on the verbal part of the test declined by 45 percent, from 53,794 to 29,236.

On the mathematics part of the test, the number of high-scoring students dropped by 23 percent, from 93,868 to 71,916.

The number of students taking the test declined by only 3 percent during that period.

Teachers may find fewer new students in their classes at mid-year if a trend reported recently continues.

The percentage of Americans who changed their place of residence between 1980 and 1981 declined slightly from percentages found 10 and 20 years before, the Census Bureau reported this month.

Approximately 17 percent of Americans moved between 1980 and 1981, compared with 19 percent between 1970 and 1971, and 21 percent between 1960 and 1961.

The decline, according to the federal agency, is probably due to a steady drop in the average family size, increases in home ownership and two-income families, and the recent difficulties families have had in purchasing homes.

In another recent report, the bureau found that U.S. counties spent $9.2 billion on education in 1981, an increase of 9.4 percent from 1980.

The proportion of county revenue spent on education declined, however. Approximately 15.4 percent of county budgets were devoted to education in 1981, a decrease from the previous year's level of 16.5 percent.

Saying that the task of improving the quality of education can best be accomplished at the "grassroots level," the National Parent-Teacher Association has asked its 25,000 local chapters to evaluate their public schools during 1983.

"We plan to mobilize parents and other concerned citizens to study their local school--to study its operation, to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and to join with administrators, teachers, and students to improve their school in order to better the lives and futures of the children of our nation," said Mary Ann Leveridge, president of the 5.2-million member organization.

To help parents in carrying out this evaluation, the pta has prepared a "workbook" that includes detailed instructions on how to determine the quality of education provided by the school. The publication also suggests practical moves that parents and others might make to improve the schools.

"Experts tell us that one of the factors most responsible for improving the quality of education in our public schools is strong parental and community involvement," Ms. Leveridge said. The association will evaluate the findings of the local chapters.

Contributions to charitable causes were made by nine out of 10 Americans in 1981, according to a new poll by a coalition of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations.

Approximately one-third of donors gave to educational organizations, says the poll sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector and other groups.

The poll found that donors gave an average total of $475, of which $45 was contributed to educational institutions or causes.

The level of educational attainment, income, and profession of the donor all had an effect on the amount contributed to charity, according to the poll. In addition, those who itemized their tax deductions gave two and one-half times as much to charity as those who took the standard deduction.

District News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 21, February 16, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

District News Roundup

The Dallas school board has tentatively approved an extension of classroom hours for 1st- through 3rd-grade pupils that would bring the state into compliance with state accreditation laws.

For the past few years, the number of instructional hours offered by the district in these grades has fallen one-half hour short of the required six-hour daily minimum, and administrators fear that state funds could be cut.

The school board may also drop its voluntary after-school program for low-achieving children in 1st through 6th grades and replace it with a mandatory six-week summer program. The idea was proposed to the school board last month.

The after-school program proved ineffective and costly, said Robert L. Johnston, a district spokeman. The proposed program would be mandatory for all failing students who hope to gain promotion.

An audit of the Kansas City, Kan., school district criticizes the district--considered to be among the most frugal in the state--for paying maintenance workers more than teachers and administrators.

A report by the state's legislative post-audit department, an agency created by the legislature to monitor state agencies, indicates the district could save $400,000 annually by paying maintenance workers wages similar to those in other districts.

But Kansas City's superintendent of schools, O.L. Plucker, who said the district "will implement some of the audit's suggestions," was critical of the report.

Although the district does employ licensed craftsmen, Mr. Plucker said, most of the maintenance work is done by regular staff members. For the most part, maintenance workers are paid 80 percent of normal union scale, he noted.

The audit also criticized a buildup of uninvested cash reserves that cost the district $107,000 in unearned interest last year.

Mr. Plucker said keeping cash on hand is sound fiscal policy, particularly when the legislature makes large rescissions in school programs. The legislature cut aid to the district by over $1 million last year.

The Kansas City audit is one of four that the post-audit department is conducting this year. The department conducted 12 audits in 1982, the first year it began monitoring school districts.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 21, February 16, 1983, p 2-3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

The New York City board of education endorsed a new policy last week requiring daily homework assignments for all students in the school system.

Under the new policy, daily homework assignments must be a minimum of 20 minutes for 1st and 2nd graders, 30 minutes for 3rd and 4th graders, 45 minutes for 5th and 6th graders, and one hour for 7th and 8th graders. For high-school students, the minimum is two hours.

Until the measure went into effect, principals at each school could establish their own polices on homework. Now, they will be required to monitor teachers and the way they carry out the new policy.

School officials believe the new policy will reinforce materials taught in classroom, stimulate interest in topics discussed during the day, and develop independent study skills.
Boston school officials have increased security and begun installing anti-theft devices after discovering that more than 13,000 gallons of No. 2 home heating oil was siphoned from storage tanks at two schools.

Paul Mooney, director of planning and engineering, said the heating oil was valued at more than $16,000. He said one of the storage tanks was buried underground at the school, and the other was located inside the school.

School officials had been told about a suspicious oil truck making a delivery at one of the schools last fall, Mr. Mooney said. But no arrests have been made because officials could not locate the company whose name was seen on the truck, he said.

In the meantime, according to Mr. Mooney, security guards are increasing their surveillance of the schools and special vandal-proof caps and fuel-line bolts are being installed.

The Coloma, Mich., school board has decided to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court's ruling requiring the predominantly white, suburban school district to participate in a desegregation plan with the predominantly black public schools in nearby Benton Harbor.

Late last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld, in part, an earlier ruling by a federal district judge requiring the Coloma schools to participate in the plan because their acceptance of white students from Benton Harbor contributed to segregation in that city's schools.

The court's decision also affected the predominantly white Eau Claire school district, but school officials there have announced that they will not contest the ruling.

An anonymous donor has offered $25,000 to the Alexandria, Va., public schools to improve instruction in elementary-school classrooms.

The donor, acting through the local parent-teacher association president, asked the school district to use the funds to pay the salary of a teacher who would "spend a year working on a project" to raise the quality of instruction, according to a district spokesman, Mel V. Alba.

The school board of the district, located in a suburb of Washington, D.C., will decide on criteria for selecting the teacher.

The South Carolina State Board of Education last week invalidated the results of a writing test taken by 132,000 students last year, after state officials found that the test papers were graded incorrectly.

The statewide test, in its second year, was administered to 6th, 8th, and 11th graders and scored by Westinghouse Information Systems under a contract with the state, according to Paul Sandifer, the state education department's director of research.

When test results, distributed throughout the state, were found to be "exceptionally low," officials re-scored a sample of the tests, Mr. Sandifer said. They subsequently found that a state employee was responsible for "inadequately communicating" the scoring criteria to the contractor, he said.

"The immediate reaction was that the state wasted money," Mr. Sandifer added. "But a writing assessment of this type is in the developmental stage; when you're dealing with papers that have to be hand-scored, there is not a well-developed scoring method, such as for multiple-choice tests."

The state board of education has decided against re-scoring all the tests, he said. "The purpose of the test was to provide feedback for remediation purposes. The worst thing that has happened as a result is that kids got more extra attention than they otherwise might have."

Arizona is forming a tax-exempt foundation to raise money from private sources for use by public schools in the state.

The Arizona Education Foundation, which should be incorporated within 60 to 90 days, will solicit funds from private, corporate, and foundation sources, according to David Bolger, an assistant to the state superintendent of public instruction.

To date, West Virginia is the only state that has established a similar foundation, although numerous community foundations for education are springing up around the country.

Mr. Bolger said the money, paid to districts in the form of grants for special projects, will "help deal with the tremendous decrease in discretionary funding that has hit the schools."

The board of directors for the new foundation will probably have about 15 members, Mr. Bolger said, the majority of them from private business and industry.

A major oil company and California's largest bank have joined in the creation of a fund to aid California public schools.

The BankAmerica Foundation and Chevron U.S.A., Inc. announced the establishment of the California Educational Initiatives Fund earlier this month.

At the same time, the two major corporations announced the first grants--$588,509 to be given to 67 school systems. These and future funds will support "innovative educational programs developed by California's public elementary and secondary schools," according to a BankAmerica spokesman.

Projects will be selected by a statewide committee composed of school superintendents and individuals concerned with the quality of education, the spokesman said.

The new fund, which will operate independently from both corporations, replaces a similar fund--the Educational Initiatives Program--which was operated by BankAmerica as a pilot project during the past three years. California school systems received 281 grants worth $3 million under that program.

BankAmerica officials view the new fund as a vehicle for other members of the corporate sector to support public education.

Schoolchildren will be one of the three main target groups of a New Jersey program to treat the state's estimated 150,000 compulsive gamblers and prevent others from becoming addicted to the habit, state officials said this month.

The $330,000 effort, which will continue into the next fiscal year, will include studies of the problem, establishment of a hotline, and a public-relations program.

Riley W. Regan, the director of the alcoholism division of the state's department of health, said that in the early phases of the program, no state-run centers would be established for treating compulsive gamblers.

Children, women, and the elderly will receive special attention in the program, said Mr. Regan, because all three groups are normally ignored in efforts to combat the problem.

A survey of 700 New York City students showed that one-third had gambled on horse-racing, cards, numbers or games, Mr. Regan said. "I don't know if that means it's a problem, but we have to at least educate the kids that it can be a problem," he added.

News Updates

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 21, February 16, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

News Updates

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans--which is hearing the state's appeal of a ruling overturning Louisiana's law requiring "balanced treatment" of creation science--has asked the State Supreme Court to render an opinion on the facts in the case before it decides on the appeal.

"The Fifth Circuit will still decide the case," said David A. Hamilton, a lawyer for the state department of education, "but state supreme courts often help the circuit courts decide issues that really involve state law. Most times, the appeals court goes along with the state supreme court," he said.

U.S. District Judge Adrian Duplantier, basing his decision on the Louisiana constitution, struck down the state's law in November on the grounds that the state's constitution grants the state board of education--and not the legislature--sole authority to require teaching of particular courses.

By a three-to-two vote, the West Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear a case in which the state teachers' association challenged the authority of Gov. John D. Rockefeller 4th to cut 10 percent from the state budget. The cuts would reduce the education budget $22 million, or 4 percent.

The West Virginia Education Association will not appeal the case, according to Staff Counsel Jacqueline A. Kinnaman.

The teachers' organization had intended to argue that the state constitution allows only the legislature--not the governor--to make budget cuts, according to Ms. Kinnaman.

More than 1,000 teaching, health-care, and correctional jobs could be lost if the legislature agrees to the Governor's budget proposals.

The teachers' group is also concerned that teachers may be asked to serve as substitutes during their free period to save the state money, according to Ms. Kinnaman.

The Pennsylvania Senate Education Commmittee has unanimously recommended that the full senate confirm Robert C. Wilburn as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Mr. Wilburn, 39, served as secretary of budget and administration during Gov. Richard Thornburgh's first term.

The novel idea of fingerprinting schoolchildren, initiated last month on a voluntary basis in one New Jersey county, has attracted further support. A bill introduced in the state's legislature would require schools to allow county sheriffs to fingerprint children in kindergarten through 8th grade if their parents give consent. (See letter on page 19.)

The bill, introduced Jan. 27, would include public and private schools and would turn over the fingerprint records to either the parents or the school. Until now, fingerprinting has been confined to private schools in Union County.

The procedure was initiated there by the county sheriff's office as a way of assisting police in identifying runaways, or victims of violent crimes such as kidnappings. Parents of about 44,000 children gave their consent for the procedure.

Press reports of children who have simply disappeared, despite extensive police efforts to locate them, largely prompted the new legislation, said an aide to Angela L. Perun, a state representative from Union County. Ms. Perun introduced the bill.

However, the provision in the bill that would permit a school to hold the fingerprint records until the student turns 18 drew criticism from one Union County school administrator.

"I don't like that at all," said Superintendent John T. Farinella. "That would put the schools in a very tenuous position."

Mr. Farinella said some parents have expressed concern about how the records might be used. He said he supports the concept of fingerprinting, but believes that only parents should have custody of the records.

Vol. 02, Issue 21

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