States News Roundup
The North Carolina panel that advises the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has agreed to conduct a study of the causes behind resegregation in the state's public schools, according to a member of the panel.
Joseph DiBona, professor of education at Duke University and a member of the advisory committee, said demographic shifts in the state's urban and rural counties are eroding gains in integration made over the past 20 years.
A recent upsurge in "white flight" from North Carolina's cities is largely due to the industrialization of previously rural counties in the state, according to Mr. DiBona. Industries have been hiring many more white workers than blacks, he said, with the result that the percentage of white students in urban schools has dropped. The problem is compounded, he added, by the fact that the departure of affluent white workers from a city weakens its tax base, making it less attractive to new businesses.
During a recent meeting of the committee, Mr. DiBona cited statistics from the state education department indicating that the percentage of black students in Durham's public schools has risen from 73 percent to 83 percent during the past eight years. Mr. DiBona said state statistics also indicate a significant amount of public-school resegrega4tion in Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, Kinston, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, and Washington.
Ohio's Controlling Board, a joint committee of the legislature, authorized the release last month of $16.1 million in excess lottery profits to pay for school desegregation in four cities, marking the first time the state has used lottery proceeds for that purpose.
Under court order, the state shares the cost of school desegregation with the four cities involved--Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Lorain--but it has traditionally paid its share from general revenues.
For the past two years, the state lottery has produced excess profits, which the state has distributed to school districts on a per-pupil basis. In 1985, for example, the state distributed $49 million in excess lottery profits--$23.58 per pupil, according to G. Robert Bowers, assistant state superintendent for public instruction.
This year, each district will receive $19.29 per pupil, Mr. Bowers said.
According to a legislative resolution, lottery profits are supposed to be dedicated to education, but in practice they are folded into the state's general fund, Mr. Bowers said. Education receives a share of the profits, Mr. Bowers said, "but it may not be getting a comparable share."
The controlling board also set aside $3 million in excess lottery8profits to replenish the state's depleted Emergency School Advancement Fund.
Spending for education in Arizona will soon reach a limit set by the state constitution, foreclosing any efforts to raise teacher salaries, warns a study commissioned by the legislature's joint committee on teacher compensation.
The lengthy report, now under discussion by the committee, indicated the spending limit approved by the legislature and affirmed by the state's voters in 1980 will be exceeded sometime during fiscal 1987 unless voters approve a referendum this year to raise the limit.
According to Judy Richardson, the Senate research analyst who prepared the report, the education-spending limit for a given year is calculated on the basis of a formula. Preliminary estimates indicate that spending will meet or exceed the anticipated limit of $1.5 billion during the fiscal year that begins in July.
During its last session, the legislature considered but did not approve a proposal to raise salaries for all teachers. Instead, lawmakers created the joint committee to study the issue and make recommendations.
The deputy speaker of the New York State Assembly has introduced legislation that would require the state commissioner of education to take control of any school district with a dropout rate of more than 50 percent.
Under the bill introduced by Arthur Eve, Republican of Buffalo, the commissioner would suspend the superintendent and school board in such districts and appoint interim personnel to devise a plan for addressing the dropout problem, according to Donald Robbins, Assemblyman Eve's legislative assistant.
The commissioner would be required to report back to the legislature within 90 days of the suspensions, Mr. Robbins said.
The bill, which would require no new money, is still being revised, Mr. Robbins said. The legislation might be changed to focus on high schools with high dropout rates, rather than on districts, he said.
Mr. Robbins said the dropout rate for New York City, if calculated over a four-year period, is more than 50 percent. A spokesman for the city board of education said, however, that the projected four-year figure in 1983-84 was 42 percent.
The Idaho superintendent of instruction has proposed that the legislature enact a bill making school-board members accused of violating their oath of office subject to voter recall.
Although the state constitution provides for the recall of all elected officials except judges, no state law outlines the requirements for mounting a recall drive for a school-board member, according to a spokesman for the state department of education.
A state judge had recommended the enactment of such a law in a 1984 ruling that involved an un-successful attempt to recall a school-board member.
In the bill proposed by Jerry Evans, the state superintendent, supporters of a recall would be required to bring charges before a district court, which would then determine whether the accusations, if true, constituted unlawful or improper conduct.
If the court ruled in favor of the recall advocates, they would then have to submit a petition signed by 20 percent of the voters who live in the board member's zone and voted in the most recent elections before the recall could appear on the ballot.
A new Arizona law that permits college graduates without formal training in education to teach in public high schools has drawn some interest but no applicants, according to a state education official.
The measure, approved by the legislature earlier this year, authorizes the state board of education to issue "associate" teaching credentials to college graduates who wish to teach in a subject area they studied in college, said R. Berkley Lunt, state director of teacher certification.
The intent of the law, Mr. Lunt said, was to help school administrators find teachers in subject areas where there is a shortage of qualified instructors. An associate credential is valid for one year, but can be renewed twice.
To earn the associate credential, an applicant must pass both the basic-skills and professional-knowledge portions of the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Examination.
But the board, Mr. Lunt said, is "in the process" of eliminating the professional-knowledge testing requirement at the request of Anne Lindeman, the state senator who sponsored the legislation.
Ms. Lindeman has argued that passing the professional-knowledge section of the test is an unrealistic expectation of graduates without4formal training in education and a disincentive to graduates who might consider teaching, according to Mr. Lunt.
The Virginia Department of Education and a legislative watchdog group are locked in a $227-million disagreement over the cost of funding the "Standards of Quality," guidelines for educational excellence mandated by the state's constitution.
Gov. Charles S. Robb and Gov.-elect Gerald L. Baliles have pressed the General Assembly for full funding of the standards--an equal sharing of expenses between the state and Virginia's 135 districts--following several years of partial funding.
Paying the state's fair share would cost $419 million over the next two years, according to the education department. But the joint legislative and audit review commission, using a different methodology, recently unveiled an estimate of $192 million.
S. John Davis, the state superintendent of public instruction, was expected to comment on the disagreement this week, a spokesman said.
Ralph J. Shotwell, research director of the Virginia Education Association, criticized the commission's estimate as "unrealistic and unacceptable."
"That dollar figure might fund standards of mediocrity, but it won't fund 'Standards of Quality,"' Mr. Shotwell said.
Each of the 139,000 9th-grade students in Pennsylvania public schools has been sent a brochure describing ways to prepare for a college education, in a cooperative effort by the department of education and leaders of the state's higher-education community to increase the number of students who attend college.
The chancellor of the state system of higher education and the presidents of Lincoln University, Temple University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pittsburgh joined Secretary of Education Margaret A. Smith in sponsoring distribution of "Preparing for College." The brochure encourages students to choose a well-balanced high-school curriculum that includes writing, mathematics, foreign languages, literature, natural sciences, history, and other core subjects.
"Nearly 50 percent of Pennsylvania's high-school graduates will go on to college," Ms. Smith said in announcing the project. "Their success will depend, in large part, on how well they have been prepared to meet the challenges of higher education."
The Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education was slated to decide this week whether to require prospective teachers to pass a written test in order to obtain certification.
J. Troy Earhart, the state's commissioner of elementary and secondary education, was expected to ask the board "to make a teacher-testing requirement a state regulation," according to Edward L. Dambruch, Rhode Island's director of teacher certification and state accreditation. The board was expected to approve the request, Mr. Dambruch said.
At least 32 states now require new teachers to pass a test for certification; both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers support the testing.
Four of the five speakers at a board hearing on the issue last month advocated testing prospective teachers, Mr. Dambruch said.
Mr. Earhart, who hopes to have the new requirement in place by September 1986, will not ask the board to consider testing practicing teachers, he said. The state would probably use the core battery of the National Teacher Examinations, he added.
Vol. 05, Issue 17