News in Brief
Public-school employees in New Mexico oppose going out on strike over a pay raise, according to a survey by the state affiliate of the National Education Association.
Teachers and other school employees were surveyed by the nea-New Mexico after a special legislative session last month resulted in a 5 percent pay increase. The union had called for a raise of at least 7.1 percent.
The union sent out 30,000 questionnaires to public-school employees and had received about 8,000 responses by March 31, when the results were announced.
Although 84 percent of those responding said they were not satisfied with the 5 percent pay increase, only 31 percent expressed support for a strike over the issue.
The union received no responses from surveys distributed to Albuquerque school employees, who are represented by the New Mexico Federation of Teachers. That union, which was more satisfied with the results of the special legislative session, had asked its members to discard the nea-nm ballot.
The Kansas House has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to limit the powers of the state board of education.
The bill would eliminate language in the state constitution stating that the board has "general supervision" over precollegiate education.
In 1973, the state supreme court ruled that the language meant that the board does not need legislative approval for its actions, although state lawmakers control budget decisions.
Observers said the amendment reflected legislators' frustration over their lack of control over education policy.
If the amendment also receives a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, it will be placed before the voters in a referendum this fall.
The legislature has twice put similar measures on the ballot, but both times voters rejected them.
The House adopted the bill after rejecting an amendment that would have provided that board members be appointed by the governor, instead of elected by popular vote.
The education committee of8the Arizona House has approved major changes in a Senate-passed open-enrollment bill.
Some observers said the changes could make it less likely that the bill will pass this year.
The measure passed by the Senate would allow parents to send their children to any school in the state, as long as the transfer would not significantly alter the racial or ethnic composition of either the student's assigned or desired school.
The House panel's bill, by contrast, would limit open enrollment to schools in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Slightly more than half of the state's pupils attend schools in the county's 55 districts.
The House panel also adopted a "double funding" provision, under which additional funding would be given to schools that accept transferring students, while retaining funding for schools that lose students.
Colorado teachers would be able to "show appropriate affection and encouragement" without fear of facing child-abuse charges, under a bill passed by the Senate.
The bill also would allow teachers to touch students if necessary to maintain discipline, for example by breaking up fights.
Another part of the bill, which had earlier passed the House in slightly different form, would require that the names of those convicted of child abuse go on a state registry. School districts would have to check with state officials to determine whether prospective employees were on the list.