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To ease a serious statewide shortage of special educators, Oklahoma education officials have approved a plan to offer regular-classroom teachers a quick route to special-education certification.

Under the "emergency certification" plan, approved last month by the state school board and the state regents for higher education, regular-classroom teachers can be certified to teach handicapped students if they undergo an intensive, one-week course in special education. The teachers must also agree to complete six more credit hours of special-education coursework during the6year they are certified.

The certificates can be renewed for a second year if teachers agree to continue working toward full special-education certification.

Special-education officials said the state has been facing an increasing shortage of special educators for several years. Last year, Oklahoma districts reported vacancies in 437 special-education jobs--up from 360 in the previous year.

Public agencies, such as school districts, that settle lawsuits are obliged to make the settlements public, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled.

The court delivered its opinion Sept. 1, affirming a lower-court decision that the Anchorage Daily Newshad the right to publish the terms of a settlement between the Anchorage school district and W.R. Grace & Co. The settlement arose out of a school-district suit over asbestos removal at an Anchorage high school. W.R. Grace paid the district $10.2 million in 1988 as part of that settlement.

The newspaper had requested that the terms of the settlement be released, but school officials refused to provide the information. The newspaper obtained the data elsewhere, and printed the story anyway. The lower court then ruled in the paper's favor.

In affirming that decision, the supreme court stated, "It is more important that [Alaskans] have access to this type of information than that it remain confidential."

It costs Maryland taxpayers $154 each to provide public assistance to families of teenage mothers, a new study has found.

In 1987, the study found, the federal and state governments combined spent more than $454 million to provide assistance to 6,633 Maryland teenagers who became mothers for the first time. State funds accounted for almost $180 million of the assistance. The study also found that mothers between the ages of 15 and 17 received the most public support because they were more likely to drop out of school and live on their own.

Researchers at the University of Baltimore conducted the study for "Campaign For Our Children," a nonprofit organization that works with the state government to promote abstinence among adolescents.

The Getty Center for Education in the Arts has awarded grants totaling $3.75 million to consortia of educational and cultural organizations in six states to restructure the way the visual arts are taught in American public schools.

Located in Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas, the consortia will receive $625,000 each , to be awarded over five years in annual $125,000 increments.

The consortia of school districts, universities, state departments of education, art museums, and other cultural organizations will use the grants, supplemented by matching funds they are required to raise, to establish regional institutes to train teachers, administrators, and others in the theory and practice of art education. The Getty center advo6cates that art be taught with the same emphasis as other basic disciplines.

The six institutes will serve public schools, universities, and art museums in their own states and others by developing curricular materials and encouraging adoption of art-education requirements in teacher-preparation and museum-education programs.

Vol. 09, Issue 03

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