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A group of 42 educators, parents, business leaders, and government officials has established a private, nonprofit corporation to help the state develop wider agreement on education issues.

The idea for the corporation, the Public School Forum of North Carolina, was developed after several legislators noticed that there were wide differences in public opinion on the education issues before the General Assembly, according to William J. Hancock, a Durham lawyer and former state senator who has been elected chairman of the forum's board of directors.

"We'll give the assembly advice representing a broad base of the education and business communities," said Jay M. Robinson, superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Public Schools and a member of the board. "Too many times, decisions are based on emotion, expediency, or the interests of the group making the most noise."

The group will spend the next several months searching for foundation funding and setting an agenda for debate. The initial meetings were funded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of Winston-Salem.

Asian students in California are far more likely to complete high school and graduate from college than their white, black, and Hispanic counterparts, a study conducted by the California Postsecondary Education Commission suggests.

Of 1,000 Asian 9th graders surveyed, all 1,000 had completed high school four years later, according to the report, which attempted to assess retention rates of students from 9th grade through college.

But only 781 of 1,000 white 9th graders, 667 of 1,000 blacks, and 661 of 1,000 Hispanics had graduated from high school four years later, the report found.

Because of the continuing influx of Asians and Hispanics, however, both the Asian and the Hispanic graduation rates are lower in actuality than the report's totals indicate, cautioned Samuel M. Kipp 3rd, a researcher with the commission. Previous surveys, he noted, have found that only 45 percent of the Hispanic students who enter California secondary schools receive high-school diplomas.

Nonethless, on the basis of retention and graduation reports from the University of California and California State University, Mr. Kipp projected that, of the 1,000 Asian students who graduated from high school in 1982-83, 125 would, within five years, graduate from uc, with another 84 graduating from csu

Of the 781 white, 667 black, and 661 Hispanic high-school graduates, he projected that within five years of university admission 33 whites, 10 blacks, and 8 Hispanics would graduate from uc, and 15 whites, 6 blacks, and 9 Hispanics would graduate from csu

"It appears to me that unwittingly we are evolving into a de facto educational apartheid," said Assemblyman Tom Hayden when the commission report was presented to the Assembly Subcommittee on Higher Education, which he chairs.

A state judge in Montana has ruled that the American Legion Auxiliary's regulations prohibiting girls who are married or who have had children from participating in its Girls State programs are illegal.

But the judge declined to order the organization to allow the teen-age mother who brought the suit to attend the program this year.

Judge C.B. McNeil's ruling followed a hearing on a civil suit filed by Raecille Ann Vaughan, a 17-year-old student in the Charlo school district, and her mother. In the suit, Ms. Vaughan claimed that her equal-protection and due-process rights were denied when she was bypassed for consideration by Girls State because she was preg-nant when she applied for the program, according to Girls State officials.

Girls State, an annual American Legion program in which students learn about state government, prohibits girls who are married, have been married, or are single parents from participating in the program, according to Elsie Daniels, director of Montana Girls State.

Judge McNeil, while ruling that the organization's selection policies are illegal, declined to order that the group admit Ms. Vaughan to this year's program, which began on June 9, according to Ms. Daniels.

Ms. Daniels added that the organization plans to eliminate the restriction on married teen-agers or youths who have children and will consider such students for future Montana programs. "The way it stands right now," she said, "we don't have much choice."

Attempts to reach Ms. Vaughan's lawyer were unsuccessful.

Nearly half of all Alabama high schools offer no foreign-language courses, and almost two-thirds of the state's rural public high schools have no foreign-language programs, according to a recent University of Alabama survey.

A total of 347 high schools responded to the survey, representing about 85 percent of all schools in the state with grades 9 through 12, according to Christian Faltis, assistant professor of secondary language education at the university's college of education.

Statewide education measures approved last year require that all high schools offer an honors-diploma program in which students must take at least two Carnegie units of a foreign language, Mr. Faltis said. The requirements are not yet in effect, he noted.

Mr. Faltis recommends that schools without foreign-language programs develop "consortiums" to share foreign-language teachers, especially in rural areas. The new requirements, coupled with the state's shortage of foreign-language teachers, "may invite a lot of incompetent teachers" into foreign-language programs, he warned.

Of the 347 schools queried, 183--or 53 percent--offered at least one foreign language, Mr. Faltis said.

Of the 196 public rural high schools surveyed, 73--or approximately 37 percent--offered a foreign language, the study found. Of those 73, Mr. Faltis noted, "relatively few schools" offered anything beyond the first year of a foreign language, with 51 of the 73 offering only Spanish I.

A strip search of 45 male students at the Terryville High School in Portsmouth, Conn., has prompted Representative Richard D. Tulisano to introduce a bill in the state's legislature that would ban all strip searches in Connecticut public high schools.

Mr. Tulisano, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said the strip search was conducted because school authorities heard rumors that some students would be taking drugs and alcohol on a school trip.

The 45 students were assembled behind a curtain in the school's auditorium, told to strip, and were searched, according to Mr. Tulisano. Elsewhere in the building, a school nurse searched the belongings of female members of the class.

"I could have guessed that something like this would happen after the Supreme Court's decision," said Mr. Tulisano, referring to New Jersey v. T.L.O., which upheld "reasonable" searches of public-school students. "Simply hearing a rumor, however, isn't a reasonable cause for such a mass invasion of privacy."

Mr. Tulisano's bill would also require the state education department to set strict guidelines on what types of searches would be permissible.

"It seems to me that when you put educators in the role of police, and public-school educators are agents of the government, they should at least be held to the same constitutional procedures as the police," Mr. Tulisano said.

Gov. Martha Layne Collins of Kentucky has proposed an "Education Improvement Program" that will cost an estimated $287.7 million in 1987 and 1988. The Governor has proposed increasing both the corporate-license and corporate-income taxes to help finance the plan. In addition, a current 5-cent sales tax would be applied to leased equipment, according to Ken Hoskins, the Governor's press secretary.

The Governor has proposed a constitutional amendment to provide for the appointment of the state superintendent of public instruction by the Kentucky State Board of Education. In addition, legislation is proposed to expand county boards of education by two additional members elected on an at-large basis.

The plan also proposes to decrease the differences in funding for education between school districts by increasing state support under the "power-equalization formula" from 6.3 to 13 cents over two years. The minimum local tax effort required of school districts to participate in the power-equalization program would increase from 15 to 25 cents.

The proposal also calls for a 5-percent salary increase for teachers in 1987 and 1988, at a cost of $36.6 million, and for additional salary increases for teachers with 10 or more years' experience, at a cost of $39.3 million over two years. Pilot career-ladder programs would be funded in 7 to 10 districts at a cost of $2.7 million.

Other major proposals include a reduction in class size in grades 1 through 6; teacher aides for kindergarten classes; the creation of tests for applicants seeking certification as principals; and the expansion of the state's adult-literacy initiative to every county in Kentucky.

The Governor has also proposed two new commissions--one to develop a plan for improving vocational-technical education, the other to develop recommendations for early- childhood and preschool education.

Vol. 04, Issue 39

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