District News Roundup

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District of Columbia school officials are predicting that as many as 250,000 people will join hands on Nov. 18 as part of an elaborate, citywide ceremony marking American Education Week.

Almost 35 miles of streets throughout Washington will be closed for at least five minutes for the event, which organizers are calling Hands Across the City.

After civil-defense sirens sound at 11:30 A.M., the district's 87,000 public-school students, along with as many as 32,000 pupils from the city's Roman Catholic schools, will link hands with teachers, city and federal workers, parents, politicians, and other volunteers and sing a song written especially for the occasion, "Embracing the City." Students will display the district's public-school flag and will distribute hand-outs to pedestrians asking them to support education.

The event's main route swings by the Capitol building, where Senators and Representatives will be invited to join the chain, and the White House.

Joan Raymond, superintendent of schools in Houston, is denying reports that clashes with key members of the city's board of education may lead to her departure from the nation's seventh-largest school district.

For some months, newspapers in theHouston area have covered the strained relations between Ms. Raymond and the board. This month, the Houston Post reported that sources in the district bureaucracy were predicting she would either resign or be fired.

Ms. Raymond acknowledged last week that conflicts had arisen over a number of "fundamental governance issues," but said she had no intention of leaving.

"My home is in Houston and I intend to remain here for many years," she said. Ms. Raymond, previously the superintendent of schools in Yonkers, N.Y., came to Houston last year.

In July, officials at the Texas Education Agency cited the dispute as one reason for downgrading the accreditation rating of the Houston district.

"Board members [are] usurping administrative perogatives while ignoring theirolicy-setting responsibilities," a state official wrote in one internal memo.

School officials in Dolton, Ill., have been charged with illegal discrimination in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a boy barred from attending classes because he carries the aids virus.

The parents of "Student No. 9387," an unidentified child who suffers from aids-related complex, filed suit in federal district court in Chicago on Oct. 7.

The suit asks the court to order school officials to reinstate the boy.

Citing concern for the health of the child and his classmates, the school board of Dolton Elementary School District 148 voted last month to keep the boy out of the classroom and offer him instruction at6home.

A federal appeals court has ordered officials in Midland, Tex., to revise procedures for electing the city's school-board members.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds several lower-court rulings that the board's system of at-large elections improperly dilutes the voting strength of Hispanic residents.

An advocacy group filed suit against the district in 1985, charging that the at-large system violated the federal Voting Rights Act.

The appeals-court ruling will require that at least 70 percent of the board members be elected from single-member districts.

Vol. 07, Issue 07

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