State News Roundup
A Washington State panel has issued a draft report containing 139 proposals for improving the state's public schools.
Among them are recommendations that high-school graduation requirements be stiffened to include more English, science, and social science, and that teachers' salaries be raised.
The Temporary Committee on Education Policies, Structure, and Management, a 17-member panel formed by Gov. John Spellman in August 1982, also recommended that high-school students take yearly competency tests, that prospective teachers be required to take tests before they are certified, and that the state board and the superintendent of public instruction be appointed by the Governor, according to a spokesman for the committee. Board members and the state superintendent are now elected.
Public hearings on the proposals will be held throughout the state this month, after which a final draft of the report will be presented to the Governor and the state legislature, the spokesman said.
The committee did not attach cost estimates to any of the proposals, which also include:
The reduction of teacher-student ratios in kindergarten through 3rd grade.
The development of preschool programs for the disadvantaged.
Creation of a career-ladder system with diversified salaries and responsibilities for teachers.
Greater involvement of business and community groups and parents in local schools.
The introduction of foreign-language courses at the elementary-school level.
Say Idaho's Teachers
Need More Training
High-school mathematics teachers in Idaho need more training in their subject, not less, according to a position statement signed by all 19 members of the department of mathematics and applied statistics at the University of Idaho.
The faculty members presented their position statement to the state's professional standards commission late last month. The commission has proposed changing the certification requirements for mathematics teachers based on recom6mendations by the state's commission on excellence, according to Darrell K. Loosle, supervisor of teacher education and certification for the state department of education and administrator of the professional standards commission.
According to Mr. Loosle, Idaho currently has two sets of mathematics standards--one for elementary-school teachers and one for secondary-school teachers. Those teaching in grades 7 and 8 can be certified under either standard.
Existing standards for secondary-school teachers require 20 semester-credits of mathematics, including courses in algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, he said. He added that elementary-school teachers are only required to take 6 semester-credits of mathematics.
The commission's new proposal, Mr. Loosle stated, includes a "basic math endorsement" that would require 15 semester-credits to teach classes through the level of algebra 1.
The commission also has proposed a "standard math endorsement" that would require 20 semester- credits and include coursework in calculus and analytic geometry, abstract algebra or linear algebra, probability or statistics, and trigonometry. Teachers would be required to have such a certificate to teach beyond the level of algebra 1, said Mr. Loosle.
But the university faculty mem-bers argue that certification requirements for teaching the first two years of high-school mathematics should include 20 college credits, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Certification to teach all levels of high-school mathematics should include 30 college credits in these areas and in some kind of discrete mathematics, they wrote in their paper.
Issues 'Comic Book'
A booklet attacking the "ultra-left-wing" political activities of the National Education Association was distributed to 194,000 homes in Idaho this month.
Ronald D. Rankin, publisher of the booklet and a reforestation contractor in the state, said he and a group of anonymous donors decided to publish the pamphlet, "What in the World is Going On in Your School?'' to call attention to the activities of the nea and its state affiliate, the Idaho Education Association.
"The message is that the nea is not a professional association like the American Medical Association, but an ultra-left-wing union," he said.
Newspapers in the state, he added, "tended to make the nea syn-onymous with education and I didn't believe that."
The publication, which is printed in comic-book format, portrays a representative of the iea standing in front of a blackboard inscribed with "Gay Rights Dance--Friday 8 P.M." A citizen explains that the nea supports gun control, affirmative action for homosexual teachers, and the Equal Rights Amendment.
The booklet, which states that the nea is out of touch with "mainstream America," also includes a checklist for people to compare their stands on issues with those of the nea
Mr. Rankin said he believes public schools in Idaho are overfunded, primarily due to the success of the nea's political activity.
"In Idaho, 50 percent of county taxes and 75 percent of the total general-fund budget goes to education," he said. "If they get much more, we can just turn the state over to them and they can fix the roads, too."
Jerry L. Evans, state superintendent of public instruction, said that he was not pleased with the pamphlet and that it contained "many half-truths."
"And how anyone could conclude that [education] is overfunded is a complete mystery to me," Mr. Evans added, explaining that Idaho has one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures in the United States and that teachers' salaries "rank near the bottom year after year."
Student Receives Surprise in Soviet Package
Vol. 04, Issue 07