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A federal district judge has approved an agreement, outlined in a 44-page document, that requires the Jackson County, Mo., social-services agency to provide better monitoring of children placed in foster homes.

The case, which was filed by the Legal Aid of Western Missouri, has been described as the first federal decision protecting the rights of foster children.

In signing the consent decree last month, Chief Judge Russell G. Clark of the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., ordered the state to take corrective measures to improve the foster-care program in Jackson County. The implementation of the consent decree is to be supervised by the court.

The suit, which began in 1977, was based on a study of the county's foster-care program showing that 43 percent of the children had been placed in homes that were described as unsuitable and often dangerous.

The study found that 59 percent of the children had not had a medical examination in a year and that 87 percent had not had dental care. There were also incidences of physical abuse.

The Agriculture Department has announced that it will proceed with its plan to require school districts next fall to verify that children receiving free or subsidized meals or milk are eligible for those benefits.

An interim rule published by the department last week recommends that the districts implement the verification standards for the remainder of the current school year and requires them to do so by the beginning of the next school year.

Last year, the department began requiring applicants for the reduced-cost and free meals to supply the names and Social Security numbers of all adults living in their household. The new rule first recommends, then requires, the districts to verify either 3 percent or 3,000 of the applications that they receive.

Under the verification procedure, the districts can ask applicants to provide them with paycheck stubs or notices of unemployment, alimony, child support, or veterans' benefits. If applicants refuse to supply such information, or if they fail to present a landlord, social worker, or other "collateral contact" who can verify their claims, their children will be excluded from the program.

In a related development, Representative Ted S. Weiss, Democrat of New York, has introduced a bill in the House that would eliminate the requirement that applicants provide school officials with the Social Security numbers of all adults in the household. A companion measure, also introduced by Representative Weiss, would allow applicants to deduct "income used for certain hardship conditions" when they determine their eligibility.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

A bill exempting private schools from state curriculum and teacher-certification regulations passed in the Colorado House by a slim margin last week, despite opposition from the leadership of both parties and from the Association of Colorado Independent Schools.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. James E. Moore, who called it "an innovative, constitutional step forward."

But Majority Leader Ronald Strahle warned that without teacher-certification safeguards,"a person who couldn't read or write could teach English."

Testimony arguing that parents have constitutional rights to define their children's education helped push the bill through the House, according to a legislative staffer.

A statewide poll conducted for The Omaha World Herald indicates that Nebraska residents strongly oppose a bill that would allow school districts the option of dropping the traditional five-day school week in favor of an alternative calendar system.

The bill, introduced in the Nebraska legislature, would permit districts to keep schools open for fewer than 5 days a week, provided they require the same number of hours of instruction as districts in which schools operate on a five-day week.

The bill is intended to allow students in rural school districts more hours away from school during the harvest season.

Of the scientifically selected sample of 602 adults, 62 percent disapproved of the pending legislation. Thirty percent supported it. Eight percent had no opinion on the matter.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 24 registered the highest approval rate for the plan (40 percent) while those between the ages of 35 and 44 registered the lowest approval rate (18 percent).

Gov. James J. Blanchard of Michigan last week signed into law a 38-percent income-tax increase, a move designed to boost the state's budget.

The tax hike, which will decline gradually over the next four years, should raise about $3.6 billion through 1986. Governor Blanchard predicted it would erase the state's current $900-million deficit.

That comes as good news to Michigan's beleaguered public-school officials. Since taking office in January, Mr. Blanchard has postponed state-aid payments to local school districts three times. And his predecessor, William G. Milliken, cut education aid three times in two years.

"This is the best thing to happen to schools in a long time," said Tom Farrell of the education department. "[This] month, when the money starts coming in, local districts should really feel the difference."

Also last week, however, the Governor pushed through the state legislature in one day budget cuts of $225 million. Elementary and secondary education will lose $25 million, though school officials said they were not overly upset at the cuts because they felt the tax hike will make for a more secure future.

Prompted by a gubernatorial threat to suspend state aid to local school districts, the Colorado legislature late last month acted to overcome an anticipated $120-million deficit in the current state budget.

After waiting more than two months for legislators to act, an impatient Gov. Richard D. Lamm warned that $27 million in monthly payments to school districts would be withheld if legislation to meet the deficit was not enacted before the end of March.

The legislature responded by vo-ting to increase the state's sales tax for 10 months beginning on May 1. The move will raise the minimum guaranteed base level of state support per pupil by $175 from the current $2,195 next year.

One week after issuing his threat, the Governor signed a short-term ''bail-out" bill that will reduce state school aid in the current calendar year by $13.7 million, a cut of about 2.25 percent.

According to Wesley Apker, executive director of the Colorado Association of School Executives, most local districts anticipated the 1983 state-aid reduction and so will not have to cut back on personnel or essential services.

The Ohio State Board of Education is considering new licensing standards for administrators that would set up a "common core" of academic preparation, establish a "mentor" program for first-year administrators, and require continuing professional education.

The standards, developed by a 26-member committee appointed by Franklin B. Walter, state superintendent of public instruction, would be phased in through December 1984.

They have been the subject of one public hearing; a second hearing on the final recommendations is scheduled for May.

Sue Ann Norton, director of communications for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, said her organization is "very supportive" of the proposed rules and expects them to be passed without major revision.

The provisions dealing with academic preparation of administrators essentially codify changes already made by education schools, she said. Through the mentor program, she added, first-year administrators would work under the guidance of a nearby college or other institution "to be supported, shored up, encouraged, and assured that their work is on target."

Some Idaho business leaders have recently sent letters to legislators and to Gov. John V. Evans voicing their support for increased support for public schools.

Paul Corddry, president of Ore-Ida Foods Inc., John Fery of Boise Cascade Corporation, and members of the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce have indicated that they want the legislature to provide more money for public education in 1984 than is currently planned. Republican leaders in the state are talking about a $7-million cut in education spending, according to a spokesman for the Governor, bringing the budget down to $208 million in 1984.

The business leaders support, for example, a temporary sales-tax increase that would raise an estimated $50 million in 1984.

A bill that would permit local bargaining between teachers and school districts for salaries over the amount set by the state is being considered by the Washington legislature.

At present, the state sets limits on teachers' pay raises, and local districts do not have the right to bargain over additional increases.

The bill, which is now in a House committee, is sponsored by the Washington Education Association.

Ginny D. Nixon, a wea lobbyist, said opponents of the bill argue that allowing the bargaining would result in teacher layoffs, because school districts would have to reduce the teaching force to afford the pay raises.

A separate measure, introduced by the bill's opponents, would allow a "lottery" system of teacher layoffs in the event they are needed, Ms. Nixon said. Under this bill, one of three teachers would be laid off through the lottery system, instead of on the basis of seniority, as is now the case.

Gov. Richard F. Celeste of Ohio last week called for a state education budget that disappointed school officials and interest groups, but that may be more stable than spending plans in recent years.

The Governor proposes to spend $4.6 billion on elementary and secondary schools during the next biennium, a $200-million increase over the amount that was originally appropriated for the 1982-83 biennium but has been cut several times. The state education department had urged at least a $4.8-billion appropriation for the biennium, and the Ohio Education Association had called for $5.1 billion.

Mr. Celeste's plan includes a 5-percent increase in the minimum teacher salary, bringing the base to $12,075; a hike in basic state aid to school districts, from an average of $1,680 per pupil to $1,935; and strengthened programs in mathematics, science, and pupil competency testing. His higher-education budget calls for increasing state grants to students by 5 percent, effective on Jan. 1, and for raising the eligibility standard so that more students from middle-income families may qualify.

State and local education leaders said the small increase would not be enough to compensate for past cuts and rising costs and predicted that many districts would be forced to seek local tax increases or loans from the state's emergency fund.

But several district superintendents said the Governor's proposal was more "realistic" than past budgets and might be less susceptible to disruptive midyear cuts.

The two-year spending plan, accompanied by proposed tax changes that would increase business levies and provide relief to middle- and lower-income families, is not expected to reach a floor vote in the state House of Representatives until May. It will then go to the Senate.

City News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

City News Roundup

The Pittsburgh school board has approved a five-year, $1.3-million plan to put microcomputers in every elementary and secondary school and to require study in "computer literacy" for graduation.

By the time the plan is in place, district officials said, the schools will have at least one computer for every 40 students. The computers will be used for computer-assisted instruction as well as for a required high-school course in programming and for familiarizing students with the technology.

Staff members will be offered training on a voluntary basis, said James F. Angevine, director of management information and planning. He said the district will collaborate with local universities and vendors in that effort.

The district will decide what computer programs, or "software," it will use before investing in any microcomputers, Mr. Angevine said. "We're trying to get away from the typical practice of buying hardware then trying to fit it into the system," he said.

Mr. Angevine said the district would buy only one or two brands of hardware to reduce the cost of the initial purchase and maintenance and to allow software to be used across the system.

A special school-system committee, which has been studying the issue for almost two years, will direct the implementation of the computer initiative in the 42,250-student district, Mr. Angevine said.

About 55 percent of the program will be funded with district funds, a spokesman for the district said. The rest will be financed with funds from Chapter 2 of the federal Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 and from various private-funding sources.

In the midst of a growing debate over who should lead New York City's schools, Frank J. Macchiarola, the former chancellor, has endorsed Deputy Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. as his successor.

Black and Hispanic leaders have asked Mr. Wagner, who has been nominated to run the school system by Mayor Edward I. Koch, to withdraw from consideration, however, saying that he has little education experience and that the system should be led by a minority member.

In a caucus last month, minority leaders endorsed Thomas K. Minter, the deputy chancellor for instruction, for the position, which includes the administration of a $3-billion annual budget.

Mr. Minter, a black and a former official in the U.S. Education Department during the Carter Administration, declined comment on Mr. Macchiarola's action.

Richard F. Halverson has been acting chancellor since Mr. Macchiarola resigned March 1.

District News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, pp 2-3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

District News Roundup

A kindergarten teacher and administrators at her school will face charges of misconduct later this month for allegedly ordering a student to remove her clothes as part of a search for stolen money.

The Oregon, Wis., school board suspended its search policy at a emergency meeting last month and ordered the hearing. A lawyer for the student's parents has called for the teacher's dismissal.

No disciplinary action has been taken against the Brooklyn Elementary School teacher, Joyce Garner, a district official said.

The parents' attorney, John McManus, said the girl and another student were studying alone in a classroom when Ms. Garner returned to the room and discovered $6 missing from her purse.

The girl, according to the lawyer, told the teacher that the other student had taken the money.

Jerald Zibell, the school's principal, authorized Ms. Garner and a secretary to take the student to a locker room for a "strip search." When the search failed to turn up the money, the lawyer said, the other student admitted taking it.

The March 9 incident is being investigated by the Green County sheriff's office.

They are getting ready to store the ashtrays and post the "no smoking" signs in the Mt. Pulaski school district in Illinois.

The school board voted 4 to 3 recently to ban smoking--by anyone, anytime, and any place on school property--beginning next fall.

Thomas Ohler, an ex-smoker who sponsored the resolution, said, "The motivation was simply that passive smoking is just as harmful as real smoking and we're setting a bad example for the children."

More than 50 students at a West Virginia high school staged a walkout last month to protest what they said was an unnecessarily strict disciplinary policy. As a result, they were suspended for three days.

Garry Tenney, the principal of Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, said that only "a very small minority" of the school's nearly 1,000 students was involved in the protest and an earlier one.

A group of parents told the Barbour County Board of Education that Mr. Tenney should be dismissed. They said the principal acted arbitrarily and did not listen seriously to the students' side of disciplinary cases.

But Mr. Tenney said that in suspending the students he was only applying the disciplinary code described in a student handbook, and thus was following school-system policy.

Mr. Tenney said that only one student has been expelled during his four years as principal.

A rural California high school near Fresno will be the first in the state to require students to maintain a C average over four years to earn a diploma, according to Wesley Stewart, superintendent of the Exeter Union High School District.

A panel of teachers, school-board members, and administrators at Exeter Union High School has also voted to increase the number of academic periods per day from five to six, Mr. Stewart said.

Starting with next fall's freshman class, students will be required to take four years of English instead of three; four years of social studies instead of two; and two years each of science and mathematics instead of one.

Mr. Stewart said that parents--and even students of junior-high-school students--have expressed "nothing but support for the new program.''

News Update

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

News Update

Gov. Lamar Alexander's intense promotional campaign for his merit-pay plan and other school proposals cost the state of Tennessee $78,900 for the six weeks ending March 31, state records show. Nine full-time state employees were pulled from other jobs and assigned to the statewide effort, and printing costs came to $20,000, the records also show.

The controversial merit-pay plan, if approved, would link higher salaries to proven ability in the classroom rather than to academic credentials. It would also force poor teachers out of the profession by tightening the recertification system, its backers say.

Governor Alexander, a Republican, has said the $210-million proposal is the most important one he will make on any issue during his tenure. The 36,000-member Tennessee Education Association has strongly opposed the plan.

A state legislator has criticized the promotional costs and called for an investigation by the state comptroller's office. The legislator, James Lewis, a Democrat, said there must be "an awful lot of fat" in the budget, if so much could go to promotion.

But a spokesman in the Governor's office said Mr. Alexander felt the money was well spent. "We don't feel at all defensive about it," said John Parrish. "Leadership is seeing that your ideas are being carried out."

The Nebraska Supreme Court last week issued a temporary order preventing two men from going to jail for reopening the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., in defiance of court orders to close it.

The state Supreme Court sched-uled a hearing for last Friday on the parents' application to delay their sentence until an appeal before the court is resolved.

The four parents are appealing the finding of a state-court judge that they are in contempt for reopening the school despite his orders to keep it closed.

The two men were originally sentenced to 15 days in jail each, and a fine was levied against their wives.

People News

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

People News

William H. Herbert, the executive director of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association, has resigned from the post he has held for the past 19 years.

Mr. Herbert's resignation represents part of "a pattern now developing in a number of states where directors are losing their power to elected union officials," according to a spokesman for the National Education Assocation.

For the past several months, Mr. Herbert and Carol Doherty, president of the statewide teachers' union, have reportedly been in conflict over the direction the 56,000-member organization should take. Ms. Doherty has advocated more member involvement in the development of union policy.

Mr. Herbert joined the teachers' association in 1959 as a field organizer and five years later was appointed executive director.

During Mr. Herbert's tenure, the National Education Association affiliate grew from about 25,000 members to a peak of about 65,000 in 1979.

His resignation will be effective July 1.

Florida Preacher Seeking Student Bible Backers

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 28, April 6, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

Florida Preacher Seeking Student Bible Backers

Jack Moore, a lay preacher and toll collector, has failed in his two-year effort to get the Brevard County, Fla., school board to allow him to hang framed posters of the Ten Commandments in its schools.

Undaunted, Mr. Moore is now trying to send the Christian message into the county's schools on the backs of the students.

A few weeks ago, he began offering T-shirts free to students who were willing to wear them to school. He has said the commandments are an important part of education and, thus, belong in the public schools.

The Brevard branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed Mr. Moore's poster campaign on the grounds that it violated the constitutional separation of church and state, has no problems with the short-sleeved-shirt initiative.

"It is the students' right of religious freedom to express themselves through their T-shirt," said the chapter's president, Aditya Mishra.

School officials don't seem to mind students wearing the Ten Commandments either. Said Ralph P. Beckett, principal at Rockledge High School: "No, I'm not opposed to them; they're better than some I've seen come out of the local surf shops." Brevard County is on the Atlantic shoreline.

It is too early to tell how effective Mr. Moore's back-to-basics approach to the Ten Commandments will be in the eastern Florida school system. He says that "a few" students have accepted his free T-shirt offer so far.

Vol. 02, Issue 28

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