City News Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

The Philadelphia public-school district has adopted a policy that sets minimum districtwide standards for homework assignments.

The plan announced by Superintendent Constance E. Clayton, which takes effect immediately, requires that elementary-school students have homework at least four nights a week and high-school students have it in all major subjects at least three times a week.

Under guidelines set in 1978, minimum homework assignments were left to the discretion of schools. Ms. Clayton said she ordered the new policy to make the district's stance on the matter consistent for all schools.

The district will hold three sessions for teachers to introduce the new policy, to suggest innovative ways of using homework, and to evaluate the program's effectiveness.

Principals will be responsible for seeing that the policy is carried out in their schools. Families will be asked to help see that their children complete their assignments, a district official said.

The New York City school system this semester started a training program at Columbia University for teachers of the district's first comprehensive courses in Japanese language and social studies.

The district last fall received an $85,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a two-year program for students in 12 high schools.

The grant money, in addition to $14,000 from this year's school budget, is being used to train 12 language teachers and 12 social-studies teachers to teach the courses. The classes will start in the fall of 1984.

Leo Benardo, the director of foreign languages, said the district is negotiating a proposal with the Japanese Exposition Fund of the Japanese government for the teachers to spend two weeks in Japan this summer. Mr. Benardo said the schools were selected to include at least one school in each of the city's five boroughs and to involve students from all economic backgrounds.

The federal and school-system grants should be considered "seed money" for the establishment of similar two-year programs in other city high schools, Mr. Benardo said.

Federal News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

Federal News Roundup

The Education Department plans to send letters to colleges and universities across the country notifying them that, for the time being, students do not have to register for the draft in order to receive federal financial aid.

Earlier this year, a federal district judge in Minnesota handed down a temporary injunction barring the department from enforcing a law enacted by the Congress late last year that would bar nonregistrants from receiving federal grants and loans.

In light of the injunction, the department's letter says, "no student may be denied ... student financial aid, or have his application for such aid rejected or delayed, by virtue of that student's failure to'' complete a form affirming that he has signed up for the draft.

The department goes on to note, however, that by completing the form now, "a student could avoid possible delay later in his receipt of ... student financial aid in the event that the preliminary injunction is dissolved."

A coalition of civil-rights groups accused the Reagan Administration last week of attempting to undermine regulations governing an executive order that requires federal contractors to implement affirmative-action programs.

The proposed "deregulation" of Executive Order 11246 "would result in the virtual dismantling of equal-employment opportunity requirements for federal contractors and thus [would] have a devastating impact on employment opportunities for women and minorities," said Althea T.L. Simmons, chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, at a press conference in Washington.

It is estimated that 350,000 employers and more than 40 million workers nationwide--or about one-third of the workforce--are covered by the regulations. The civil-rights groups said these businesses received federal contracts totaling more than $100 billion in 1980.

According to the groups, the Labor Department's office of federal contract compliance, which oversees the implementation of the Presidential order, has drafted new regulations that would reduce the number of employers subject to the rules, make it harder for employees who win discrimination disputes to receive back pay, and increase the difficulty of bringing class-action lawsuits against companies.

National News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 2

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

National News Roundup

Officials of the National Education Association last week termed inaccurate recent wire-service reports saying that the 1.6-million-member teachers' union will probably endorse former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for President in 1984.

"His ties with the nea go back to his Senate days and he has a good many supporters in the organization," said Kenneth Melley, the nea's director of political affairs. "But we are not already in Mondale's camp. The nea follows a complex, democratic process for endorsing candidates."

Each presidential candidate seeking the nea's support in the 1984 Presidential race must submit to a videotaped interview with the organization's president and respond in writing to a series of questions.

The organization's 53 "state" representatives will review these materials and vote to support a candi-date or candidates in the state primaries and caucuses.

The nea's board of directors must approve this recommendation, as must the membership of each state, in order for the parent organization to work on behalf of a candidate in the state.

Mr. Melley said the 53 state representatives are scheduled to initiate this process when they meet in Washington on Sept. 29. He said the organization will not actually endorse a candidate until its representative assembly gathers in July 1984.

State News Roundup

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, pp 2-3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

State News Roundup

This week, a rural school district in Wyoming will return to a five-day schedule because the state's Supreme Court has declared its one-year-old experiment with a four-day week to be illegal.

As a result of the ruling, the Sheridan County District One in Ranchester will lose state funds for its education programs, proportionate to the number of days it is short of the minimum state requirement of 175 days of instruction.

The school year ends on May 27 and the district could lose $8,000 to $9,000 per day for each of the 21 days it will be short, according to Dennis J. Kane, a spokesman for the state department of education.

The four-day plan was approved by the state board of education (with the concurrence of the state attorney general) last June. It was part of a pilot program that allowed some rural districts to stay open on fewer days, provided they operated for the same number of hours as they did when they were open 175 days a year, Mr. Kane said.

The state supreme court ruled that a day "commences in the A.M. and ends in the P.M." within a 24-hour period and could not be considered as a sum total of hours counted over several days.

The North Carolina Senate last week was scheduled to consider a bill passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives that would require teachers and education-school faculty members to switch places once a year.

The bill, sponsored by Represen-tative Howard B. Chapin, passed by 106-to-2 in the House earlier this month.

Mr. Chapin, a public-school teacher for 34 years, said the bill was designed to force university faculty members regularly to "get out of the ivory tower" to see how their ideas work in elementary and secondary schools.

Under a pilot program, teachers and professors would switch places for two weeks during the 1983-84 school year.

Mr. Chapin said that the state's 16 state colleges and 29 private colleges would be required to choose at least one faculty member to take part in the project. He said he hopes that three members from each college would take part.

"I just felt that college professors hadn't been in the public schools and that they were teaching theory that wasn't practical," Mr. Chapin said. "They ought to demonstrate the power of their methods in the real world."

Teachers involved in the pilot project would report their findings to the state's joint legislative commission on government operations.

A referendum asking for a freeze on nuclear arms was approved by an overwhelming majority of more than 7,000 Vermont students earlier this month.

The number of students endorsing the freeze was 5,145; those voting against the freeze totaled 1,943, according to David McCauley, field secretary for the Vermont chapter of the American Friends Service Committee, which sponsored the event, along with the University of Vermont Center for World Education.

The vote, which was taken by 7,088 students at 30 schools throughout the state, followed a series of activities centered on nuclear-arms control.

"There was a good-faith effort to make resources [from both sides of the debate] available," Mr. McCauley said. "We wanted to show the Administration that this is an issue that high-school students should and can get involved in," he added.

Mr. McCauley said the state Congressional delegation has agreed to meet with students and teachers from the school and to participate in a discussion on how the Congress is addressing the issue.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit late last month refused to award $32,000 in legal fees to parents of a handicapped child who won a court case against a Rhode Island school district.

In Smith v. Cumberland School Committee, Circuit Judge Levin Campbell refused to require the district to pay the legal fees incurred by the parents of Thomas Smith III, because, the judge said, they had won the case under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which does not call for the reimbursement of legal fees.

(Lawyers say they generally ask for fees under the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and not the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.)

Judge Campbell asserted that it was the intent of Congress, in its careful wording of the law under which the Smith case was argued, to leave out legal fees so that states and districts with limited school funds would not be unduly burdened by such suits.

According to Forrest L. Avilla, legal counsel to the commissioner of education in Rhode Island, the judge's decision was welcome news. He agreed that school committees and state departments of education do not have the resources to act as the "third-party payer" for litigation.

But George Prescott, the attorney for the parents, said he feared the decision would cause attorneys and parents to hesitate to file suit under the handicapped-education law.

The Smith case began in 1976 when the Cumberland School Committee announced it would no longer pay private-school tuition for the Smith child, who has cerebral palsy and is emotionally disturbed. The school committee claimed it was the responsibility of the state department of mental health to finance the child's education.

The Wallingford, Conn., school board has been ordered to pay more than $7,700 in lost wages to a female physical-education teacher who was denied a position as the coach of the boys' track and field team.

In a decision announced this month, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities found that Sharyn D'Urso was more qualified than the man selected to coach the Lyman Hall High School team and that there was "reasonable cause" for the sex-discrimination complaint.

The commission received Ms. D'Urso's complaint in 1977, according to Thomas P. Clifford, assistant state attorney general.

In addition to paying the money, the district was ordered to discontinue its discriminatory practices and to maintain personnel records for at least one year, Mr. Clifford said. The district had destroyed its records pertaining to the D'Urso case, he said.

School districts in California, where university officials have expressed concern about students' preparation for college, will receive a set of guidelines this month designed to provide a "clear and precise expression of the fundamental English and mathematics competencies needed by any person planning to enter college."

The guidelines, called the "Statement of Competencies in English and Mathematics Expected of Entering Freshmen," were issued this month by the California Round Table on Educational Opportunity. The group is an alliance of the chief executive officers of public colleges and universities in the state and other educators, including the chief state school officer. The development of its guidelines document was supported by the Atlantic Richfield Foundation and others.

The recommended courses include at least four years of English and a minimum of three years of mathematics. Students should take both disciplines during their senior year as well, according to the guidelines. Schools should administer diagnostic tests in mathematics and English during students' junior year, and use the results to guide them in their senior course selection.

Early counseling is also important, the guidelines say. Not only will it help to guide students and their parents, it will also broaden their career choices. Especially critical is the counseling of groups that are now underrepresented in California colleges and universities.

The group also cautions against relying on measures other than achievement to determine grades. "At all levels of education, from elementary school through college, grades in English and mathematics should be based upon achievement rather than upon effort or attendance so that students will receive accurate assessment of their competencies."

The Vermont legislature has approved a measure, which Gov. Richard A. Snelling is expected to sign, requiring alcohol- and drug-abuse education in elementary and secondary schools by 1986.

The measure authorizes the department of education to develop a curriculum for use in elementary and secondary schools, to establish teacher-training programs on the subjects, and to provide technical assistance to local school systems in implementing their programs, according to Mary Ann Luciano, director of intergovernmental affairs for the department of education.

In addition, according to Ms. Luciano, the measure requires that driver-education courses include information on alcohol and drug abuse. And it mandates the creation of a state council on alcohol and drug abuse.

Ms. Luciano said the Governor vetoed a bill last week that would have raised the state's drinking age from 18 to 19. She said the Governor favors the alcohol- and drug-abuse program as a more effective means of addressing the problem.

People News

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 17

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

People News

John I. Goodlad will resign on June 30 as dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California at Los Angeles.

University officials say a successor to Mr. Goodlad, who in recent years has directed a widely cited study of American schooling, will be named within several weeks.

They say no one has been offered the job yet. Speculation within the profession had focused on Charles E. Bidwell, chairman of the department of education at the University of Chicago, as the leading candidate to succeed Mr. Goodlad, who has held the position since 1967. However, Mr. Bidwell last week said he had removed his name from consideration.

News Updates

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

News Updates

Mississippi education officials are taking the first steps toward implementing the state's far-reaching Education Reform Act, passed by the legislature late last year.

By next fall, districts will hire 1,693 teaching assistants for their 1st-grade teachers.

The Mississippi Department of Education will conduct a series of workshops this spring to train the aides, who will spend most of their time helping students to improve their reading skills. The program will cost $10 million the first year. Eventually, each 1st-grade teacher in the state will be assigned an assistant, according to Ralph Brewer, a department official.

Approximately 3,000 more assistants will be hired for grades 2 and 3 over the next two years.

In addition, beginning July 1, the state's educational-finance commission will conduct a survey to determine the educational needs of the state's 154 school districts with an eye toward consolidation, according to Frank Lovell Jr., the commission's executive secretary. The study will be sent to the state board of education in 1985.

Who Was Hitched to Caesar's Woman?

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

Who Was Hitched to Caesar's Woman?

The correct answer to the question "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" is a) Yogi Bear; b) Grant; c) your mama.

If you answered anything other than "c" (your mama), you have earned one wrong answer on "The In Your Face Test of No Certain Skills," a test of basic-level street lingo devised by a class of 9th-grade basic-English students at Hill High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. (The correct answer, by the way, might start a fistfight on most high-school playgrounds.)

Robert P. Slater, an English teacher whose class devised the test "strictly for fun," said his students decided to produce the test after having a certain amount of trouble with the language on a standardized test produced by McGraw-Hill Inc.

The students' test asks for a definition of many "standard" street terms, such as "Chill Pill," for which it provides these choices: a) a pork chop; b) a fat lady; c) Batman's shoes; and d) to be cool. (The answer is "d".)

The class sent the test to McGraw-Hill in Monterey, Calif., and eight employees there completed and returned it. The employees did better than the students expected; their scores ranged from 73 to 85.

Mr. Slater said his students were trying to demonstrate, in a semi-serious way, that they and McGraw-Hill employees do not necessarily speak the same language. He did not expect the media avalanche that fol-lowed, however. "There is no segment of the media that I haven't heard from about this," he said.

"Please do not turn this into something it isn't," he added. "This started out as a joke, but some are trying to make more out of it than it is."

For example, he said, one radio reporter suggested that Mr. Slater was trying to oppress the students by teaching them substandard English.

Research And Reports

Education Week
Volume 2, Issue 31, April 27, 1983, p 3

Copyright 1983, Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.

Research And Reports

Stanford University produces more research in education than any other institution in the country, according to a new study.

The study ranked the 25 colleges and universities that produced the most education-related research between 1975 and 1981 according to a formula that includes the extent of faculty members' participation in presentations at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting, the number of articles faculty members published in leading education-research journals, and the value of education-research grants and contracts received by the universities from external sources.

The study was conducted by Maurice Eash, professor of urban-education research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She published a report of her work in the spring issue of the American Educational Research Journal.

"These 25 institutions, from this analysis," she concluded in her report, "represent a major national research resource in education."

The reports that the Japanese have higher I.Q.'s than Americans are greatly exaggerated, a New Zealand researcher has concluded.

Writing in the February issue of Nature, a British journal, James R. Flynn says that American children's I.Q. scores have been rising impressively in recent years--by up to nine points since World War II.

But those gains, Mr. Flynn contends, have been masked by the American practice of regularly updating the figures that represent the average.

Mr. Flynn, a professor of political studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, rebutted an earlier analysis published in the journal that found Japanese students' I.Q.'s averaged 11 points higher than those of American students.

The earlier analysis by Richard Lynn, Mr. Flynn contended, was incomplete because it did not include figures from all seven available tests. When all such tests are included, he writes, the difference between the two groups falls to six points.

Mr. Flynn also writes that Americans' educational progress is more difficult to measure because of the greater ethnic diversity in the U.S., and contends that Mr. Lynn's analysis wrongly compared 1975 Japanese data with 1972 American data.

When all these factors are taken into account, Mr. Flynn writes, it is clear that "Americans [are] making I.Q. gains at a most impressive rate."

. Stanford University, Calif.
. University of California, Los Angeles
. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
. University of Wisconsin, Madison
. University of California, Berkeley
. University of Illinois, Chicago
. University of Minnesota

8. Harvard University, Mass.

9. Pennsylvania State University
0. Ohio State University
0. University of California, Santa Barbara
2. Johns Hopkins University, Md.
3. Indiana University
4. University of Michigan
5. University of Texas, Austin
6. University of Pittsburgh, Pa.
7. Purdue University, Ind.
7. University of Chicago, Ill.
9. University of Southern California
0. Northwestern University, Ill.
1. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2. Columbia University, N.Y.
3. Cornell University, N.Y.
4. Michigan State University
5. Rutgers University, N.J.

Vol. 02, Issue 31

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories