District News Roundup

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A federal appeals court has upheld the establishment of one-race remedial centers in Dallas over the objections of a coalition of black parents, thus opening the way for further reductions in the number of students bused in the district.

U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders did not abuse his discretion when he approved the establishment of the four centers in predominantly black south Dallas in April 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled on Sept. 21.

The centers, which serve about 2,300 students in grades 4-6, are neighborhood schools that Dallas school officials have staffed with some of the city's top elementary-school teachers and principals. They were established as part of a revised desegregation plan for the district that reduced the number of elementary-school students bused daily by about 4,000.

A group known as the Black Coalition to Maximize Education had asked the Fifth Circuit Court in May 1984 to reject the revised desegregation plan, contending that it would cause a return to single-race schools and would deprive black children from south Dallas of a proper education.

Rodney Davis, director of information services for the Dallas Independent School District, said the appeals court's ruling could pave the way for the opening of similar neighborhood remedial centers in predominantly Hispanic west Dallas.

At least 20 prospective Baltimore public-school teachers who performed "extremely badly" on a required writing test were hired by the district anyway, according to a city school official.

"There is a shortage of teachers," said Ellen Oberfelder, a district spokesman. "We were concerned about having certified teachers in the classrooms, and these folks were all certified."

A portion of the test, which the district began requiring last year as part of its hiring process, asks prospective teachers to write a hypothetical note to a parent.

According to the Baltimore Sun, one of the new teachers who scored 16 out of 30 possible points on the test wrote: "I would like to give you some examples of his misbehaviors. He is absence very often, usually is playing with a book or a pencil during activity time, his handwriting is not clear, and doesn't bring his homeworks."

According to the Sun, four of the new teachers hired by the district scored between 11 and 15 points on the writing test.

Those teachers who performed badly on the test will be asked to take a remedial writing course to be offered by the district, Ms. Oberfelder said. But currently there is no "mechanism" in place to require them to take such a course, she added.

Vol. 05, Issue 05

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