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President Reagan, declaring that "freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God acknowledged," sent to the Congress last week a proposed constitutional amendment to permit prayer in public schools.

The President unveiled the new measure during a meeting of evangelical Christians in Orlando, Fla. A similar initiative that he supported last year failed to win the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"When our founding fathers passed the First Amendment, they sought to protect churches from government interference," the President told members of the religious group. "They never meant to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself."

If the Reagan Administration's tuition tax-credit proposal were enacted, the average tax credit available to parents who pay private-school tuition would be approximately $211 in 1985, according to an analysis of the plan's economic effects.

That amount would be equal to 95 percent of the current average per-pupil federal expenditure on public schools, says a report prepared by the Education Commission of the States for the National Institute of Education.

The amount of the credit would range from $180 to $258, and states in New England, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Far West would receive a slightly higher proportion of tax credits as compared to enrollments, the analysis said.

A lawyer representing the father of two Ann Arbor, Mich., girls has asked a federal appeals court to rehear a lawsuit challenging a lower court's ruling that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 applies only to those parts of a school that receive federal aid directly.

Early last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in Othen v. Ann Arbor School Board that the lower court should not have ruled on the merits of the case because the only question before it was a request for attorney's fees.

The three-member appeals panel then held that, on the basis of its reading of the record, the father of the two former high-school students was not a prevailing party in the case and therefore was not entitled to compensation.

Jean King, the lawyer representing the Othens, contended in papers filed with the appeals court that the three-member panel misread the issues in the case and should have ruled on the question of whether interscholastic athletics in a public high school are subject to Title IX where the school system receives federal impact aid, which subsidizes the school system generally.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Grove City College v. Bell, a case which also tests the applicability of the anti-sex-discrimination statute to educational institutions that receive federal aid as a whole.

Although the Justice Department decided earlier this month not to file a brief in support of voluntary school prayer in two Alabama court cases, the Reagan Administration and the Justice Department remain committed to allowing voluntary prayer in the schools, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

Officials in the department chose not to file a brief in the two Alabama cases, now being appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, because they decided that they would rather wait until those--or some other case--"turn on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment instead of the 14th Amendment," according to Thomas P. DeCair, director of public affairs for the department.

Last month, U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled in favor of voluntary school prayer in both cases on the grounds that the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution was intended by the framers to prohibit only the federal government, and not the states, from establishing religion.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 25, March 16, 1983, p 2-3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

A committee of the Massachusetts legislature has ordered a detailed audit of the state's special-education program because the results of an earlier study showed that the state had proportionately more special-education students than any other state in the nation.

In a report released this month, the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight of the state legislature noted that the number of students receiving special-education services under Chapter 766, the state special-education law, is more than twice the national average.

The legislative report further alleges that school districts may be taking advantage of the weighted funding formula for handicapped students to get more revenue from the state.

In denying those findings, Roger Brown, director of special education for the state department of education, said that the legislative report compares 1978 and 1981 statistics, and the methods for computing the statistics differed. "It's like comparing apples and oranges," he said.

Mr. Brown said that the department is preparing a response to the legislative report that will refute the allegations point by point. "We do agree that there are questions that should be pursued," he said, adding that the department will be cooperating with the legislature on its planned audit.

The Maryland Court of Appeals early this month refused to force the Montgomery County school district to pay damages to a student who is handicapped as a result of a 1978 accident that occurred in a physical-education class.

In a 6-to-1 decision, the state's high court ruled that Gaithersburg Junior High School was not responsible for an accident in which Michael Harrison, then 14 years old, fractured his spine.

Mr. Harrison, who now lives at a special school for the handicapped in Illinois, was injured while doing a front flip during class. He contended that the teachers should have prevented him from doing the flip.

The plaintiff argued that the court should adopt a new standard to hold individuals liable for their actions. Under a 135-year-old state law, the district is not at all liable because the boy was at least partly responsible for the accident.

The teachers named in the suit testified that they had told students not to perform such acts and therefore had fulfilled their obligations.

The court, in overturning an earlier ruling by the Montgomery County Circuit Court, said that the boy contributed to his injury.

A federal judge this month ordered the state of Missouri to provide summer-school programs for handicapped students who need additional schooling beyond the normal school year.

U.S. District Judge John F. Nangle ruled that the state's failure to provide summer-school programs for students who need them violates the federal law that protects the rights of handicapped students.

In his decision, Judge Nangle said the state was denying handicapped students a "free and appropriate public education by failing to consider the educational needs beyond the 180-day school year."

The lawsuit was filed three years ago by Robert and Mary Yaris, whose handicapped son attends the St. Louis County school system's Special School District, which also serves students from parts of Jefferson County.

The decision will affect about 126,000 handicapped students in the state, according to Keith Givens, assistant director for community relations for the special district. He said the state does not plan to appeal the decision.

The Idaho Department of Education has entered into an out-of-court settlement requiring the state agency to monitor local school districts' efforts to provide special help to children whose proficiency in English is limited.

The consent decree, endorsed on March 3 by U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan of Boise, does not stipulate any particular method of instruction, such as transitional bilingual education, but requires the state to ensure that minority-language children are "adequately served" by local districts.

The case goes back to 1979, when the Idaho Migrant Council Inc. sued the state education department, contending that Spanish-speaking children of farmworkers in some portions of the state were not receiving special services to help them learn English and keep up in other subjects. The state contended at the time that individual districts, and not state authorities, were responsible for providing such programs. A federal district judge agreed and dismissed the suit.

But the migrant council, aided by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, appealed. In 1981, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the state had both the authority and the responsibility, under federal civil-rights laws and migrant-education rules, to oversee such services.

In the negotiated settlement reached this month, the state does not admit any wrongdoing but agrees to collect data on limited-English-proficient pupils, review districts' instructional plans, and intervene if necessary.

"There's no great difference from the way we've been doing it other than that school districts without migrant programs will have to develop them if they have migrant children," said Donald J. Carpenter, associate state superintendent.

Saul Cooperman, New Jersey commissoner of education, has given Fairleigh Dickinson University until July 1 to upgrade half of its teacher-education programs.

If improvements are not made by then, Mr. Cooperman said, the programs will lose their state approval, which would bar graduates of the programs from teaching in New Jersey or 28 other states with which New Jersey has teacher-certification reciprocity.

The commissioner based his decision on the report of a panel of state educators who recently evaluated the school's education offerings as part of New Jersey's ongoing oversight of its teacher-education programs.

The panel found that the university's 24 education programs were staffed with about the same number of faculty members, a number found to be inadequate. It also found the programs to be dispersed among three campuses, causing them to be, in Mr. Cooperman's words, "organizationally disjointed."

Similar criticisms were leveled against the university by another state accreditation panel in 1980. At that time, the university was given two years to improve its programs. The panel that conducted the recent review recommended that the school be given two more years to upgrade its programs. Mr. Cooperman rejected that recommendation.

In West Virginia, a public-school teacher who has a reputation as a homosexual may be fired from his or her job even if there is no proof for the charge, according to an opinion written by the state's assistant attorney general.

The opinion, issued earlier this month, argues that most West Virginia communities consider homosexuality immoral, and that teachers may be fired for immorality if it affects their ability to do their work.

The opinion is not binding, and as yet there has been no attempt to fire a teacher for homosexuality, said John Kozak, a Charleston lawyer and the local spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The opinion describes a hypothetical case of a female Hampshire County teacher who wears sideburns and a mustache, works as an auto mechanic, and lives with another woman. Hampshire County School Superintendent Harold C. Carl requested the opinion from the state attorney general's office, a spokesman there said.

A 44-member task force was appointed early this month to study Louisiana's teacher shortage, which is especially critical in mathematics, science, and special education.

The state's education superintendent, J. Kelly Nix, says the public schools need another 800 teachers in these subjects. He has asked the task force to consider modifying existing certification rules to allow people with liberal-arts degrees to start teaching before they have completed their certification requirements, a spokesman for the department said.

Mr. Nix is also recommending a program that would give students free college tuition if they agree to teach for 10 years in Louisiana schools.

About one third of the task-force members are businessmen. They will also study a state proposal to grant tax breaks to industries that release their employees to teach in public schools.

District News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 25, March 16, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

District News Roundup

An atheist's group in Colorado has succeeded in getting some books used in the Jefferson County public schools labeled as "biased toward Christianity."

The books, a world history text and a guide to marriage and family living, won't be banned. Instead, teachers in the district will be notified in writing of the pro-religious portions of the books.

The action, taken by a 10-member committee of teachers, parents and administrators, came in response to complaints about religious bias in 15 books that had been filed by the Colorado Chapter of American Atheists. The committee found no bias or took no action on 13 of the books cited.

A spokesman for the 80,000-pupil district, the state's largest, said that, in addition to notifying teachers, the committee's action will also lead to "a more careful briefing of our textbook review committee."

In a proposal similar to one made recently by the president of the Ford Foundation, New York City Mayor Edward Koch has suggested that young Americans be required to spend one year in civilian or military national service.

Mr. Koch's proposal would have young men and women, upon reaching their 18th birthday, choose between civilian or military service. Those who opted for civilian service might work in areas such as environmental protection, health care, and education, the Mayor said.

The Mayor estimated that the program would cost between $25 billion and $30 billion each year. He said that the cost would be offset in part by the value of the work.

Franklin A. Thomas, the president of the Ford Foundation, said earlier last week that such a program would be a "major reform." The foundation has approved a $259,000 grant for a study of ways of putting the plan into effect.

Twelve high-school students from Montgomery County, Md., public schools have been appointed to the Junior Board of Directors for Fairchild Industries Inc., a Fortune 500 company with its headquarters in Germantown, Md. School and corporate officials say that Fairchild is probably the first corporation to have a junior board.

The board is the outgrowth of an earlier program, America Awareness. Both were developed at the behest of Edward G. Uhl, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of the company. Mr. Uhl is interested in acquainting students with the world of business and also the world of high technology, according to William Fulwider, a spokesman for Fairchild.

The 11th- and 12th-grade students will work with the company's board of directors and its top corporate management officers. They will also attend the annual meeting.

New York City schools last fall experienced the smallest enrollment drop since 1977 as well as an increase in enrollment in the lower grades, according to statistics released last week.

The total enrollment for the system last fall was 919,633, a decrease of about 6,000 students. School-board officials said annual enrollment drops had ranged between 20,000 and 40,000 since 1977.

Acting Schools Chancellor Richard F. Halverson said the statistics showed that the city's long enrollment decline was about to end. "We will not be asking support anymore for an institution that is down and out," he told New York City's Congressional delegation at a meeting in Washington last week. "We are now a growth industry."

Schools for three groups of students experienced enrollment increases in the last year. Elementary enrollment increased from 429,698 to 432,458; enrollment in middle schools jumped from 192,373 to 195,027, and the number of pupils enrolled in special schools moved from 14,703 to 15,154.

Total high-school enrollment dropped from 234,085 to 223,846.

News Updates
Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 25, March 16, 1983, p 13

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

News Updates

A commonwealth court judge in Philadelphia has postponed indefinitely a hearing to determine whether the city's desegregation program complies with an order handed down by the court last year.

Lawyers for the school district filed papers with the court late last month asking Judge James C. Crumlish Jr. to delay the hearing, which was scheduled to begin on March 1.

The lawyers said that a 21-day strike by the district's blue-collar workers last month hampered the district's ability to comply with the order. Futhermore, they said, Superintendent Constance E. Clayton, who assumed her position on Oct. 4, has had little time to develop "a clear and concise" position on the issue of desegregation.

School officials were also said to be concerned about the "politicized atmosphere" hovering over Philadelphia as a result of the city's upcoming mayoral elections, and the possible effects of the election cam-paign on the outcome of the hearing, according to an official who asked not to be identified.

Despite a court order requiring that it remain closed, the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., has reopened.

The school was reopened on Feb. 28 by the parents of children who attend it. On the following Monday, Cass County Attorney Ronald D. Moravec filed motions for contempt citations against 14 individuals who reopened the school.

The Faith school has been the most widely publicized of several Nebraska cases involving state certification of private schools.

The Rev. Everett Sileven, founder of the church and the school, recently completed a four-month jail term for defying court orders to close the school. At present he is on an "evangelical tour" of the United States, according to a spokesman at the Faith Christian School.

Widespread Cheating, Copying Belie Honor System

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 25, March 16, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

Widespread Cheating, Copying Belie Honor System

Cheating, whether by borrowing someone's homework, buying a term paper, or cribbing on a test, appears to be the rule rather than the exception among high-school students today, according to a survey conducted by Highwire magazine, the national quarterly written by and for high-school students.

The survey, which queried 433 students at public, private, and parochial high schools, found that more than three-fourths of the students admitted to having cheated on tests or on homework at some time. Most of those responding said that "cheating was common whether an honor system was used in their schools or not," according to a summary of the survey.

Cheating on tests was the most frequently reported form of the behavior; 68 percent of the students said they had "seldom" cheated and 8 percent said they cheated frequently. Copying homework was the next most common misdemeanor, with 65 percent reporting "seldom" copying and 15 percent reporting "frequent" copying. Least common was copying or buying a term paper that was turned in as the student's own work; 8 percent reported resorting to this practice.

About half of the students surveyed said their schools used an honor system that expected students to report episodes of cheating. However, only 34 percent of the students whose schools had such systems reported thinking that the system was an effective means of de-terring cheaters.

Cheaters offered numerous explanations and rationalizations for their behavior. Some students said the work was too easy or "meaningless" and others said that teachers had unreasonably high expectations of the students.

A complete copy of the cheating survey is available from Highwire, Dept. pr, 217 Jackson St., Box 948, Lowell, Mass., 01843.

Vol. 02, Issue 25

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