The Boston City Council and Mayer Raymond L. Flynn have approved placing a binding referendum before voters next month asking for a change in the way the city's schools are governed. (See Education Week, Sept. 19, 1990.) As of late last week, the measure was awaiting the approval of the state legislature and Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, both of which were required by Oct. 1 if the measure was to be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The measure would create a nine-member committee made up of an unusual combination of five members elected from districts and four appointed by the Mayor.
In a compromise designed to appeal to Boston legislators who supported giving parents greater involvement, it also would create a system for allowing parent councils at each school to select the school principal from a list of nominees recommended by the district superintendent.
School officials in Genessee County, Mich., must set up an early-intervention program for disabled children at risk of developing self-injurious behavior patterns under the terms of an unusual court settlement reached last month.
The agreement comes in a case involving a 9-year-old child whose head-banging behavior had become life threatening. The child, Amber Van Duser, could die if a shunt draining excess fluid from her brain is dislodged by a blow to the head. (See Education Week, Jan. 17, 1990.
The girl's parents had sued Genessee school officials in an effort to force them to allow her to wear a controversial electric-shock device designed to curb her head-banging behavior in school.
While school officials agreed months ago to allow the child to use the device as long as it was medically prescribed, the parents continued to press the lawsuit "to make sure that no kid ends up in Amber's situation," said the Van Dusers' lawyer, Richard Landau.
Under the terms of the agreement, approved Sept. 21 in U.S. District Court, school officials must hire a consultant to devise a behavioral-management policy for the district and recommend a plan for providing special-education services to young children at risk of developing such dangerous behaviors.
"A lot of times this starts out as head-slapping or hair-pulling--something less noticeable," Mr. Landau said. "These kids just aren't being picked up."
Students at Fargo North High School in Fargo, N.D., last month walked out of showings of the "Channel One" class room news show, prompting the school board to appoint a committee to reconsider the school's decision to show the controversial program. Several hundred students walked out of their homeroom classes on Sept. 17 and 18, arguing that the show was too immature for high-school students.
The students returned to their homerooms after the school principal, Ed Raymond, threatened them with suspensions. Last week, the school board agreed to reconsider the school's showing of the program.
"I'm in favor of the concept of the program, but [Channel One] is just not deep enough for for 11th and 12th graders," Mr. Raymond said.
The program, produced by Whittle Communications of Knoxville, Tenn., debuted last spring amid controversy over the 2 minutes of commercials that accompany the 10 minutes of news. Schools are loaned a satellite dish and TV monitors in exchange for making the program required viewing for students. (See Education Week, Feb. 21, 1990.)
The program returned to the airwaves Aug. 27 and now is being shown in about 3,500 junior- and senior-high schools nationwide, according to Gary Belis, a Whittle spokesman. Some 4,600 schools are under contract to receive the program; Whittle's goal is 8,000 schools.
The Marriott Corporation has signed an agreement with Domino's Pizza under which Marriott will offer the pizzas in the school-lunch programs it operates.
Under the agreement, a local Domino's will be allowed to deliver its pizzas to school kitchens. A spokesman for Marriott, which runs the school-meals programs of more than 200 districts, said program officials in each district will decide whether to participate in the program, and how often the pizzas will be served.
Marriott officials said the students will be able to purchase the pizzas as an a la carte food item. Such items are not offered at discount to students who are eligible to receive free- or reduced-price meals. Nationally, a growing number of districts are turning to private companies for all or part of their school-meals program. (See 28 Education Week, April 11, 1990.)
Domino's is the second pizza company to target the in-school lunch market. Earlier this year, Pizza Hut announced a marketing campaign aimed at schools.
Vol. 10, Issue 5