District News Roundup

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Philadelphia was selected to participate in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's education-reform project after Baltimore officials wavered over their intentions, the project's director said last week.

The selection brings to six the number of sites involved in the second phase of the aaas's Project 2061. During the next three years, teams of teachers in participating sites will work with scholars to design model curricula based on the group's recent report, "Science for All Americans."

The other sites are San Francisco; San Diego; San Antonio; McFarland, Wis.; and two rural counties in Georgia.

Seeking an Eastern city as well, association officials had contacted Baltimore, where scientists from local universities were eager to join the project. But Superintendent of Schools Richard C. Hunter replied that he was hesitant to provide substitutes for the teachers who would be involved in the curriculum-writing effort.

After weeks of negotiations, association officials chose instead to work with Philadelphia, where school leaders were more enthusiastic about participating, according to F. James Rutherford, the project's director.

A year-old desegregation agreement between the Milwaukee Public Schools and suburban school systems has failed to find places for many of the minority students who sought transfers, according to a new report on the plan.

Only 506 of the 2,300 requests for transfers from the city to the suburbs were granted for the current year, the report says. At the same time, an unspecified number of suburban slots that were held open for minorities under the plan went unfilled, it indicates.

The report by Milwaukee administrators did not speculate on the reasons for the relatively low number of successful transfers. But officials who oversee the plan said that the current selection process hinders matching students with the available seats.

In a separate report, city officials charged that some suburban districts are referring transferring students for special-needsevaluations at a higher rate than is warranted. A large percentage of the students who are referred are subsequently found ready for regular classwork, they noted.

The districts are currently negotiating a means of reducing the number of unnecessary referrals, Milwaukee officials said.

Houston voters have approved a $300-million bond issue enabling the school district to launch its first major renovation and repair program in 12 years.

The new bond effort is the first step in a 10-year, two-part project that eventually will cost $629 million. The bond issue, approved March 7, will finance 12 new elementary schools, 10 new classroom wings, and 2 new middle schools, as well as repairs on other facilities. The measure also allowed the district to restructure its existing debt.

A 16-year-old student has been charged with murder as an adult in the shooting death of a 17-year-old student outside a Gary, Ind., high school.

Jocelin Sims is accused of shooting Shannon Brown, a track-and-field athlete, in the head. The incident allegedly occurred outside the gymnasium at William A. Wirt High School, according to a police spokesman.

The Pike County, Ky., school board must deduct union dues from the wages of employees who are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.

A three-judge panel said the board intentionally discriminated against Teamsters members by refusing to collect their union dues, even though for many years it has collected dues from members of the Kentucky Education Association and other groups.

A Roman Catholic high school in Minnesota has received a $5.3-million donation.

The gift from the Hiawatha Educational Foundation appears to be the largest from a single source ever received by a parochial school, according to an official of the National Catholic Educational Association.

Cotter High School in Winona will use income from the gift to enhance academic programs and raise salaries of its 21 teachers by $7,000 over the next two years, according to Principal Thomas J. Borek.

Robert A. Kierlan, president and chairman of the locally based Fastenal Corporation, said the school was chosen because four of the five directors of the firm's philanthropic arm, including Mr. Kierlan, are Cotter graduates.

Houston teachers should avoid touching students in any manner, the city's teachers' union has cautioned.

The warning came in the wake of a number of abuse allegations and a request by the district's security department that teachers disarm students and break up fights.

Since the school year began, 16 teachers have been suspended because of student allegations of sexual and physical abuse, according to Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

Teachers' anger over the issue flared recently when the security department outlined how they should question students armed "with a verifiable weapon" and disarm them if possible.

Superintendent Joan Raymond subsequently rescinded the security department's instruction pending further review, according to a spokesman.

All students, teachers, and staff members at Ascension Interparochial Catholic High School in Donaldsville, La., will be subject to random drug testing beginning next fall.

The Rev. Sean Sheehy, the school system's superintendent, said students who test positive for drug use will have to agree to undergo treatment or counseling.

Vol. 08, Issue 26

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