State News Roundup
To settle a suit brought by activists for the disabled, the state of West Virginia has agreed to bar the segregation of special-education students in facilities separate from other students.
State officials reached an out-of-court settlement this month with West Virginia Advocacy, a nonprofit organization assisting the handicapped, which filed the lawsuit in a federal district court last December.
The suit alleged that special-education students in many public-school districts were relegated to separate classrooms and other facilities. The separation denied special-education students access to an equal education, the suit charged.
Schools in about 10 of the state's 55 counties have violated federal laws by separating the special-education students, Henry R. Marockie, state superintendent of schools, acknowledged in resolving the suit.
Under the terms of the settlement, the separate facilities are to be abolished by the start of the next school year; schools are not to conduct special-education courses in buildings that do not also house other classes or are not comparable to facilities for other classes; and teachers are to be provided training on the needs of special-education students.
A federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of a University of Maryland scholarship program that is available only to black applicants.
The ruling is believed to be the first since last December, when Michael L. Williams, the U.S. Education Department's assistant secretary for civil rights, declared such scholarships illegal under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander is reviewing that decision.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said that the university's scholarship program was established in response to charges of discrimination made against the university in 1969 by the federal government, and that, therefore, it is legal not only under the Civil Rights Act, but under the constitution as well.
Daniel J. Podberesky, a white freshman, filed the suit last summer, saying that he should be eligible for the Benjamin Banneker Scholarship, which was begun in 1978.
Each of the 28 scholarships offered to students in 1990 is estimated to be worth $33,500.
The Minnesota State Board of Education this month gave preliminary approval to a plan to implement outcome-based high-school graduation requirements statewide.
If implemented, the seven-part standards would make Minnesota the first state to require that graduates master certain skills instead of just completing set courses or accruing credits, according to officials of the state department of education.
The proposals are to be discussed in public hearings and will be formalized through the state board's rule-making process before tentatively taking effect in the 1996-97 school year.
The proposals demand that students be able to communicate with words, numbers, symbols, and sounds; solve problems on the personal, social, and academic levels; contribute as citizens knowledgeable of state, local, and national government; understand human diversity and interdependence; work both independently and cooperatively; develop physical and emotional well-being; and contribute to society's economic well-being.
Vol. 10, Issue 36