State News Roundup
In the wake of the stabbing death of a teenage girl, youth-services officials in Ohio are considering requiring that schools be notified of a student's criminal background.
Last month, a 16-year-old high-school student from Northfield was charged with the murder of 13-year-old Lori Ewald. Officials at Nordonia High School said they were shocked to learn from news reports on the case that the student had a past record of kidnapping, rape, and assault. They had not, they said, been informed of his record through official channels.
As in many other states, Ohio's current policy allows youth counselors to decide whether schools should be made aware of a student's criminal record, according to Carol Rapp, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Youth Services.
In this case, the boy had a good school record, Ms. Rapp said. As a result, the counselor chose not to notify school officials of his criminal record, for fear the boy would be "stigmatized," she explained.
After Nordonia officials strenuously protested that decision, the department decided to review the policy, she said. It could be altered within the next two months.
Noting that spanking is sometimes mandated by the Bible, a North Carolina administrative hearing officer has recommended that church day-care centers be allowed to set their own policies on corporal punishment.
John DeLuca, a hearing officer for the human-resources department, said in a ruling for the North Carolina Day Care Commission that a regulation prohibiting church day-care employees from spanking children constitutes state interference in religion. The regulation should be dropped, he said in a nonbinding recommendation.
The commission, which regulates the 2,500 day-care centers in the state, threatened in November 1985 to close church day-care centers if they spanked children.
Thirteen churches in 10 towns refused to stop the practice of corporal punishment, but continued to operate after the commission agreed to seek a legal opinion.
The commission is expected to act on the recommendation next month. Several of the churches have said they would appeal to the courts if the commission's ruling goes against them.
The North Carolina Board of Education plans to review the state's in-school suspension program in response to a report that says the program does little to reduce school-dropout rates.
The board ordered the review after a study of eight schools using in-school suspensions found a wide variation in the way the system is operated. Most of those running the programs had no formal training in counseling, according to the report.
The state spends $27 million a year on dropout prevention, about half of which supports suspension programs that allowstudent violators to remain in school but keep them apart from other students.
Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin residents believe that parents should have the right to choose a school or district for their children, a new poll indicates.
But only one-fourth of those surveyed by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute believe that right should be extended to the selection of specific teachers.
The repondents were more evenly divided on the question of using public monies to fund private education, with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed.
Nearly half of the respondents said they believed that they had received a better education than students do today.
California schools need a "top-to-bottom revolution," according to a report released by the Association of California School Administrators.
Prepared by a group of 20 educators and business leaders, the report calls for a reduction in state regulation of local districts.
Issues involving instruction and work environments should be decided jointly by administrators and teachers at each school, the report argues. Such questions should be kept out of collective-bargaining negotiations, which should be confined to salaries and benefits, it says.
In addition, the report calls for a substantial increase in the state's average spending per pupil, and establishment of a three-year funding cycle for education.
Vol. 08, Issue 07