States News Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Three bills designed to discourage teen-agers from using anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance will be introduced in the California legislature next year by Assemblyman Gary Condit.

Athletes use steroids, which are available only with a medical prescription, to promote muscle and bone growth and increase strength. But the drugs are also thought to cause malignant tumors, cardiovascular irregularities, and reproductive problems, according to Kathryn Lynch, a registered nurse and the director of Steroids Out of Sports, a Sacramento group that backs Mr. Condit's bills.

One bill would make it a crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or one year in jail to furnish steroids "solely for the purpose of increasing athletic performance."

The second bill would direct the state department of education to design a curriculum for 9th- and 10th-grade students on the dangers of steroid use. The third bill would require warning notices about the drug to be posted in athletic facilities.

"When I heard about 13- and 14-year-olds taking steroids, I knew the state had to step in and do something," Mr. Condit said at a press conference at which he announced his proposals.

"There is a great deal of pressure on kids to use steroids to get into college sports," Ms. Lynch said. Studies show that over 60 percent of college athletes have used steroids at some point in their careers, she said.

A task force in Iowa appointed by the governor has recommended that the state drop its requirement that teachers in fundamentalist Christian and home-based schools be certified.

The proposal by the Task Force on Compulsory Education, sent to Gov. Terry E. Bransted last month, drew strong opposition from the Iowa State Education Association, the state's largest teacher's group. The recommendation threatens equal educational opportunity for all, said George B. Brown, political-action specialist for the isea, an affiliate of the National Education Association. "We don't want children to have teachers who have had a substandard education," said Mr. Brown.

M.J. Dolan, administrative assistant to Governor Branstad, said the task force recommended elimination of certification for Christian and home schools, "because of a need for diversity in education." She said the Governor is expected to forward the proposal to the legislature.

A recent ruling by the state supreme court upheld the constitutionality of mandatory teacher certification in private, religious, and home schools.

Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, which is re-sponsible for certification and accreditation, has approved a plan to award interim teaching certificates to some college graduates who lack education degrees.

The rule, which was approved by a 10-to-5 vote and will go into effect early next year, had been criticized by many educators as unnecessary and pedagogically unsound.

The certificates will be granted only in districts where there are shortages of qualified instructors, according to Richard Jones, executive secretary of the commission. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and at least 30 hours of college credit in the area in which they plan to teach.

In addition, they will be required to pass the National Teacher Examinations in their subject area and the California Basic Educational Skills Test, according to Mr. Jones.

The temporary certificate is renewable annually. After teaching for three consecutive years, interim teachers could qualify for a permanent certificate by passing the pedagogy portion of the nte and verifying that their districts would grant them a contract for the fourth year.

"We don't anticipate an awful lot of applicants," said Mr. Jones. ''The shortage areas--in chemistry and physics and advanced mathematics--are not that great in the state."

Ninety-one percent of the 11th-grade students in Texas who took the state's new mandatory exit examination passed the English-language-arts portion and 88 percent passed the mathematics section, the state board of education has announced.

The Texas Educational Assessel15lment of Minimum Skills, mandated under the state's 1984 education-reform law, was taken for the first time in October by 191,000 11th graders, according to Terry Anderson, a spokesman for the state board.

To pass, students must correctly answer 70 percent of the 72 questions on each portion of the test. Those pupils who fail one or both sections have three opportunities to take the test again before graduation--in May of their junior year and in October and May of their senior year.

"We are extremely pleased with these initial results," said Commissioner of Education William N. Kirby, "especially in light of our prediction [based on field tests of the examination] that 25 percent would fail."

Mr. Kirby attributed the better-than-anticipated results to a "stellar effort by school districts" to ensure that students learn the skills measured by the tests. He noted that dis-tricts still must provide remediation for the students who did not pass the exam.

A Boise-based coalition of Idaho business leaders and parent activists has launched a statewide campaign to build support for a tax increase that would raise new funds for education.

"We want to generate grassroots and legislative support for adequate education funding to see that we have high educational standards," said James V. Harkins, a co-chairman of the Education Coalition for Idaho.

The nine-member coalition includes executives from five of the state's most influential corporations: Boise Cascade, J.R. Simplot Company, Intermountain Gas, Ore-Ida, and Morrison-Knudson.

Mr. Harkins formed the coalition last year, in part, he said, because the state has cut a cumulative7 million from its education budgets since 1980, including a 2.5 percent across-the-board cut earlier this year. "It's just a horrible situation," he said.

"The legislative leadership has proven itself rather callous and intransigent over the years, and the business community is saying, 'That's enough,"' said Donald Rollie, the executive director of the Idaho Education Association. "These people understand that if Idaho's economy is to be rebuilt, it cannot be done without rebuilding the state's infrastructure, including education."

The coalition has polled school districts throughout the state to document the impact of budget cuts. It has also been working with local Chamber of Commerce officials to rally support for a one-cent increase in the state sales tax.

Superintendent of Education Wayne Teague of Alabama has proposed a record $1.3-billion budget for elementary and secondary edu-cation that would provide funds for hiring 4,500 new teachers but not for across-the-board pay raises.

The budget request, however, does include $3 million to underwrite salary increases for some 1,500 teachers who will move into a higher pay bracket next year under the provisions of the state's career-ladder program, which was approved last spring.

The 1986-87 proposal, which Mr. Teague presented to a legislative budget committee late last month, represents an 18.3 percent increase over the 1985-86 appropriation. State budget officials, however, have warned that a declining economy could mean less money available for education next year.

About $58 million of the proposed increase would pay for hiring new teachers to reduce the student-teacher ratio in grades 1-3 from 28 to 1 to 20 to 1. The budget request also includes money to hire 500 guidance counselors; 500 art, music, or physical-education teachers for the elementary grades; and 518 special-education teachers. And it would provide $10 million to consolidate schools.

Acting on the advice of a special commission, the Connecticut board of education has recommended a $19,300 minimum salary for all teachers in the state by next fall.

The board also recommended that the General Assembly fund an incentive-grant program for teachers who earn more than the minimum.

Under the board's proposal, the state would supplement the salary of teachers who earn less than $19,300, at a cost of about $4 million, according to Lise Heintz, a board spokesman.

The grants, which could cost up to $50 million a year, would double a teacher's salary over a 14-year period.

Gov. William A. O'Neill has endorsed the minimum salary, but has yet to take a position on the incentive grants.

The legislature will consider the proposals during the 1986 session.

Vol. 05, Issue 16

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories