Column One: Teachers

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To save money, the American Federation of Teachers has temporarily suspended the paid "Where We Stand" columns written by Albert Shanker, the union president, that appear weekly in The New York Times and Education Week.

The decision comes as the union is looking to trim expenses to concentrate its money in areas most helpful to its members, who are beset by budget cutbacks and the threat of furloughs and layoffs, Kate Mattos, an aft spokesman, said.

"We need to do whatever we can to put our resources where they are most needed," she said. Suspending the column until Sept. 1, for example, is expected to save between $35,000 and $40,000 that can be used to help aft's affiliates fight for more education funding.

The amount of dues money collected by the union remains unchanged, she added.

The Maryland State Teachers Association is celebrating the signing of a bill creating a more independent professional-standards board to adopt regulations on teacher preparation and certification.

The previous standards board had only advisory responsibilities.

The 25-member board will share authority with the state board of education for certifying teachers and determining requirements for teacher-education programs.

Regulations initiated by the standards board will take effect unless vetoed by a three-fourths vote of the state board of education. And the standards board can block policies initiated by the state school board, unless it is overruled by the same super majority.

The m.s.t.a. says it is hopeful that the new board will block what the union views as state efforts to lower certification standards.

A slate of candidates who ran on a "progressive" platform has been elected to top positions in the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, the nation's largest independent teachers' union local.

Six of eight members of the slate won the top executive positions--president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer--and two executive-committee seats.

Several of the candidates are closely allied with Rethinking Schools, an independent newspaper published by Milwaukee-area teachers. (See Education Week, April 17, 1991.)

Bob Peterson, an executive-board member who is associated with the slate of candidates, said they ran on a platform of making the union more democratic; becoming more involved in issues affecting children's lives; and supporting the concept of restructuring schools.

"It's a mandate for change," Mr. Peterson said.--ab

Vol. 10, Issue 38

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