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Strike activity was down in most states last week, but teachers in St. John the Baptist Parish (La.) Public Schools were still out--the seventh week of that strike. (See Education Week, Sept. 12, 1984.)

In Pennsylvania, which has experienced much of the strike activity this fall, strikes have ended in Butler, Independent Unified School District No. 27, Mohawk, New Castle, South Fayette, and Springfield Township. The most recent strike there occurred in Laurel on Oct. 5.

In Illinois, teachers in the Mattoon school district went on strike Oct. 4, but strikes have been settled in Shiller Park, Orion, and Abingdon.

And the last of the strike activity in Michigan ended Oct. 11, when teachers went back to work in Waverly.

The Illinois Department of Education has denied $57,000 in state funding to the Peoria school district's gifted and talented program, saying the program discriminates against minorities.

Leo Hennessy, assistant superintendent with the state department of education, said the state board of education made it known at the beginning of the month that the money would not be reauthorized and the reasons for the decision.

"It was the position of the state board of education that programs which employ neutral-selection criteria but have a discriminatory impact" can be denied state funding, Mr. Hennessy said.

As part of an investigation initiated three years ago into the district's treatment of minority students, the state found that over a six-year period, only 0.3 percent of all eligible black students entering the 4th grade were selected for the program, compared with 6.3 percent of all eligible white students. (See Education Week, Aug. 22, 1984.)

Students are tested in the 3rd grade for placement on the basis of grades, achievement scores, and teacher recommendations. Then, if chosen, the students enter a special program for the 4th- through-6th grades.

Harry Whitaker, Peoria school superintendent, said the district will not change the standards for the program or close it down. He said the $57,000 was only a small portion of the program's funding.

Mr. Whitaker said the Peoria school board may consider suing the state for the funds.

In a report to the state board of education this month, Nebraska education officials said that under regulations approved by the board in August, 13 religious schools and 43 parents who operate home schools have been granted exemptions from Nebraska's6school-certification law. (See Education Week, Aug. 29, 1984.)

The list of schools included the Faith Christian School, led by the Rev. Everett Sileven, the pastor who had been an outspoken critic of the state law that required church schools to hire state-certified teachers.

The regulations, which implement "compromise" legislation adopted by state lawmakers last spring, provide exemptions for schools in which a parent representative signs a statement saying that regulation of the schools violates "sincerely held" religious beliefs and that parents are satisfied that instructors in the schools are "qualified" teachers.

The North Carolina State Board of Education has approved the final blueprint for a curriculum plan intended to pro-vide a minimum basic course of study for public-school students throughout the state.

The plan, which was issued last month by the state department of public instruction, is designed to ensure that all students receive basic instruction in traditional subject areas as well as in arts, communication, media, and computer skills. (See Education Week, Sept. 19, 1984.) The plan would also require that students spend at least five and a half hours a day in classrooms and that thinking and reasoning skills be integrated into each course.

The draft goes to the General Assembly, which had ordered the board to develop a plan by Oct. 15.

The North Carolina state board has also approved a five-step career-development plan for principals, superintendents, supervisors, and other public-3school administrators. The plan is similar to a teacher ladder that was approved by the board last month. (See Education Week, Sept. 19, 1984.)

The plan would require that administrators work for two years under an initial, nonrenewable certificate at base salaries ranging from $21,564 for vice principals to $37,716 for superintendents of districts with more than 30,000 students. Salaries are supplemented by individual school systems.

After two years and a successful review, administrators may move into a two-year provisional status, according to the plan. Following each subsequent two-year period, the administrator would be eligible to advance to the next level with pay raises of 10 percent.

The plan would also establish a review panel of supervisors and peers that would make recommendations for advancement.

Computers are likely to replace textbooks "as the main educational tools" in schools as a means of coping with an increasingly rapid flow of information, the 1983 national teacher of the year predicted recently.

Speaking to graduate students in education at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., LeRoy E. Hay, who teaches high-school literature courses, contended, for example, that "a history book is outdated by the time you get it [in class], more so with a science book."

Mr. Hay, a teacher at Manchester (Conn.) Public High School, also said that because students will be able to practice their basic skills on computers, teachers will be able to work more intensively with them to "mold" that basic information.

Vol. 04, Issue 07

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