Teachers in 24 Louisville, Ky., schools have voted to expand an innovative participatory-management project to 24 more schools this academic year.
The program was developed during contract negotiations last year between the Jefferson County board of education and the Jefferson County Teachers Association, a National Education Association affiliate.
The contract gives individual schools the right to make many decisions previously reserved for the school district.
At one middle school, for example, a team of five teachers works with the same students throughout their three years at the school. Students are not permitted to receive failing grades, but are required to successfully complete all assignments.
At another school, teachers rearranged the daily schedule to include a guidance period during which students receive individualized attention.
Some 2,000 teachers and more than 30,000 students will take part in the program this year. At the end of each semester, teachers in participating schools will vote on whether to continue the program and possibly expand it.
Keith B. Geiger, president of the nea, said at a press conference in Louisville on Aug. 22 that the successful experiment proves "collective bargaining is an effective method for forging the cooperation between teachers and administrators that's needed to create a top-quality education system."
By raising admission standards for prospective teachers, Michigan State University attracted more students who scored higher on most measures of academic achievement, but were not necessarily competent in basic skills, according to a new study.
After an unexpected increase in applications for admission to its teacher-education program, the university in 1986 "substantially raised'' its grade-point-average requirement for teacher candidates.
A study by four researchers at the university found that new entrants had scored higher on college-entrance examinations than students who did not satisfy the school's new standard.
However, the candidates had been no more vigorous in their pursuit of academic coursework in high school than had unsuccessful candidates. And nearly one-third of those admitted to the program had to take at least one remedial course, the study found.
The study also found "no clear distinctions in levels of commitment to teaching" between the two groups, the researchers said.
The researchers said that finding runs counter to earlier studies suggesting that the brightest graduates of teacher-education programs are less likely to enter the teaching profession, or to teach for as long, as less-able students.
The study was published in the May/June 1989 Journal of Teacher Education, available for $6 from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, One Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Arkansas educators are seeking foundation support for a statewide network of "academic alliances" to bring together classroom teachers and higher-education faculty from the same disciplines.
The program, which has been endorsed by the state board of education and board of higher education, will be operated by Arkansas' 15 education cooperatives, which work closely with state universities.
"I've been pleasantly surprised with the response from higher education," said Gary Standridge, director of the Dawson Education Service Cooperative in Arkadelphia.
"We expect education professors to get involved with high-school teachers, but we're talking about professors from arts and sciences, chemistry, physics, and foreign languages--people who have been outside the loop of educational renewal."
Eventually, Mr. Standridge said he hopes to obtain state funding for the academic alliances. The board of higher education has asked the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for $48,000 to launch the program.
The network will give educators the opportunity to exchange ideas regularly, Mr. Standridge said.
"It's something that's very much needed," he added. "It's one of the first things to come down the pike where public school teachers are pretty much in charge of their own agenda."
A test mandated by the Texas legislature that was meant to weed out incompetent teachers was largely ineffective, concludes a study by researchers at the University of Colorado.
The test was given in 1986 to the state's 202,000 teachers, who were given two chances to pass. Those who failed the second time lost their jobs.
The first time taking the test, 96.7 percent of the teachers passed; 99 percent passed on their second try. The test removed 1,775 teachers from Texas schools, the study found--1,099 who failed twice and 676 who did not sign up to be tested a second time.
The authors point out that the high pass rate was in part the result of teachers' preparation, which concentrated on test-taking techniques. Some teachers who passed demonstrated the basic grammar and spelling errors that had prompted legislators to require the test.
The study is available for $9 from the Center for the Study of Evaluation, u.c.l.a. Graduate School of Education, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024.--ab
Vol. 09, Issue 01