The head of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has lifted a temporary ban on workshops designed to familiarize teachers with a controversial wildlife-education program officially sponsored by 33 states.
Project wild, as the supplementary curriculum is known, has been attacked by animal-rights organizations who say the material is slanted in favor of pro-hunting attitudes. (See Education Week, Jan. 23, 1985.)
Following a meeting with representatives from animal-rights groups last month, Henry G. Williams, New York's environmental commissioner, temporarily postponed the workshops pending a personal and community review of the materials. Williams lifted the ban Jan. 25.
"We decided the material is excellent for classroom use and that it is very well balanced in its presentation of various points of view," said Clarence D. Bassett, a department spokesman.
The Washington State Board of Education has ordered public-school officials at the local level to develop rules on religious activities in their schools.
The board voted 7 to 6 to require districts to write and adopt the rules by Oct. 1. Only two school districts in the state, Seattle and Bellevue, currently have such policies.
The board's action came in response to a petition presented last summer by a coalition of 13 religious groups and the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. The coalition had requested that the state chief develop administrative rules to prohibit public schools from conducting, sponsoring, or encouraging religious worship during school hours.
Frank Brouillet, state superintendent of schools, announced in November that the department would not develop guidelines, but he recommended that each school district adopt its own policy. (See Education Week, Nov. 7, 1984.)
The Coalition of Northeastern Governors--which includes the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island--has approved a resolution to establish a uniform regional drinking age of 21 by June 1, 1985, or as soon thereafter as is practical.
The group, which first agreed to work together in 1983, met in Danbury, Conn., last week to decide on the issue, according to Gina Mitchell, a spokesman for the coalition. The resolution calls on each governor to press his legislature to enact a drinking-age bill. (See Education Week, Dec. 12, 1983.)
The governors' intent, according to Ms. Mitchell, is to comply with the federal mandate to raise the drinking age and to decrease traffic fatalities caused by under-age youths crossing state borders to obtain alcohol in states with lower drinking ages.
The New York City Board of Education, in a 4-3 vote, has decided to remain a party to the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court of a case challenging the city's use of federal compensatory-education funds to send teachers and guidance counselors into parochial schools.
Although the board voted last fall to join the appeal, it held an "ex post facto public debate" on the question last month, which changed the vote of one board member, Joseph G. Barkan, according to Joseph Mancini, a board spokesman.
A 3-to-1 majority of the 40 speakers at the hearing opposed the appeal on the grounds that the program in question is unconstitutional, Mr. Mancini said.
The Court, which heard oral arguments in December in the consolidated case, Felton v. Bell, is expected to rule by the spring. (See Education Week, Dec. 12, 1984.)
A federal appeals court in Washington has restored the right of the naacp Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. to use the initials in its name.
The Jan. 25 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a federal district judge's 1983 order requiringel5lthe national civil-rights group to phase out its use of the initials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the group that it separated from in the late 1950's.
The naacp registered its initials as a trademark in 1982 and then sued the legal-defense fund for trademark infringement. The parent group argued that the fund was using the initials to attract financial contributions that otherwise would have gone to the naacp In its decision, the appeals court held that the naacp had waived its right to sue the fund by having waited so long to take the dispute to court.
Vol. 04, Issue 20