States News Roundup
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Dallas Schools Still Segregated
A federal appeals court earlier this month upheld a 1982 decision by a lower court, in which the judge refused to declare the Dallas Independent School District "unitary," or fully desegregated, and to retain jurisdiction in the case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit also upheld all but one attendance-boundary change that Judge Barefoot Sanders ordered into effect last year in order to improve racial mixing in the 127,000-student district.
The only portion of Judge Sanders's opinion that was reversed on Aug. 11 involved attendance-zone changes for three East Dallas high schools. The appeals court agreed with motions filed by a parents' group arguing that the changes would disrupt a naturally integrated setting.
Dallas school officials have indicated that they would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court's ruling.
In other school-desegregation-related activity:
New Jersey's commissioner of education recently announced that he would allow the Hillside Public Schools district to desegregate its elementary schools in two phases rather than enforce an unpopular plan designed to fully integrate classrooms when classes resume next month.
Under the new plan, the school district will be allowed to delay the integration of students in kindergarten through 5th grade until the beginning of the 1984-85 school year. Students in grades 6 through 8 will be assigned to new schools before classes begin on Sept. 6.
City officials and black parents in St. Louis recently filed motions with a federal appeals court seeking to delay the scheduled implementation next month of a county-wide voluntary school-desegregation plan.
Lawyers for the city are contesting a part of U.S. District Judge William L. Hungate's order requiring the city to raise taxes to help pay for the plan. The parents, meanwhile, have claimed that the plan, which envisions the eventual transfer of 15,000 black students from the city to surrounding suburban schools, will strip city schools of their finest black students.
Nebraskans Support Higher Teacher Pay, But Not Tax Hikes
Respondents in a survey conducted by the Governor's Task Force on Excellence in Education in Nebraska said they favor higher pay for teachers but do not want higher property taxes.
Some 84.9 percent of the respondents favored higher pay for teachers and 60 percent supported the establishment of merit-pay programs for outstanding teachers. But only about 31 percent said they wanted an increase in property taxes to support school-improvement projects.
Some 600 people attending four "town-hall" meetings to determine citizen priorities in education responded to the survey.
About 78 percent of those responding said state aid to education should be increased.
The survey also indicated that residents would like to see more required courses in high school, but they do not want longer school days or a longer school year.
Teachers' Union Will Poll Localities In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Teachers Association announced plans recently to poll local communities in the state in an attempt to gauge public sentiment towards the state's schools.
The telephone survey will be conducted by local union members in 25 to 30 communities, according to Stephen Wollmer, communications director for the mta The random-sample survey will concern issues addressed in the reports of the various national commissions on education, he said.
Mr. Wollmer said the union's leaders are undertaking the survey to ensure local leadership in the state's reform efforts. "We want to have some say in what comes down in Massachusetts," he said.
The union's survey is scheduled to be completed before Dec. 1, the deadline for filing new legislation in the state. Mr. Wollmer said the survey's results could lead to legislation proposed by the union. The mta represents 55,000 teachers in 351 communities statewide, according to Mr. Wollmer.
Vol. 02, Issue 42