States News Roundup
Iowa Court Says Substitutes Entitled to Bargaining Rights
In a unanimous ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court has held that substitute teachers are entitled to the same collective-bargaining rights as full-time teachers.
The court ruled that substitutes "share with regular classroom teachers the common mission of education'' and are thus entitled to representation by local teachers' unions.
Substitutes must teach at least one day a month for four consecutive months to be eligible, the justices said, citing a previous ruling.
The case, Dubuque Community School District v. Public Employment Relations Board and the Dubuque Education Association, began as a dispute between the district and the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, which ruled in the substitutes' favor last year.
The district appealed that decision to a state district court and won. But the D.E.A., the local affiliate of the National Education Association, appealed the lower court's ruling to the state supreme court.
Dubuque school officials had argued that substitutes should not be included in the same bargaining unit as other teachers because the state's collective-bargaining law treats full- and part-time employees differently. The union contended that substitutes perform the same job functions as full-time teachers.
The substitutes also charged that the district deliberately tried to keep them out of bargaining units by terminating some instructors' jobs before they had worked the required four months, then rehiring them. In its ruling, the court said that substitutes must be given the opportunity to have continuous work.
William L. Sherman, a spokesman for the Iowa State Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, said the ruling directly affects 75 substitutes in Dubuque, and between 1,000 and 2,000 statewide.
Complaints About Literature Texts Prompt Speedier Adoption Schedule
The North Carolina Board of Education has voted to adopt new world-literature textbooks next fall, three years ahead of schedule, because of complaints from teachers that the previously adopted books contained too few works by non-Western authors.
The six textbooks adopted in 1986 were "the best available at the time,'' according to Mary R. Lohmueller, textbook-adoption coordinator for the state department of education.
She noted, however, that since then other texts have been published that include more works from nations other than the United States and Great Britain, and the board has asked publishers to supply lists of such books.
Over the past two years, local districts have bought more than 100,000 of the approved 10th-grade textbooks at a total cost of $1.5 million, state officials said last week. According to state law, districts cannot use state funds to purchase textbooks not included on the list approved by the textbook commission.
Fewer than 10 percent of Arizona's 217 school districts are using a sex-education curriculum that has been approved by the state's board of education, state education officials said.
Since 1978, board rules have required districts wanting to teach sex education to have their curriculum approved by the state board of education. An approved curriculum must feature an ungraded program that does not exceed six classroom periods.
Although only 17 districts are using such a curriculum, education officials said last week that they believe other districts are teaching the topic and are unaware of the mandated approval process. Earlier this year, a state official said, one district stopped teaching sex education after accidently discovering the rule.
The president of an Iowa bus company has pleaded guilty to charges that his firm conspired with five other bus companies to fix the prices of buses sold in the eastern and central sections of the state.
Wayne Steinkamp, the president of Hawkeye Bus Sales Inc., pleaded guilty this month in federal court in Cedar Rapids. Under an agreement reached between federal prosecutors and his lawyers, Mr. Steinkamp will be sentenced to 75 days in jail and fined $10,000. The other defendents will be tried next month.
Vol. 07, Issue 35