District News Roundup

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Chicago-area schools last week entered into what the district terms a "historic" teacher-training partnership with the new Russian republic.

Superintendent Ted D. Kimbrough of Chicago and Minister of Education Edward Dneprov of Russia signed an agreement at the Chicago Board of Education headquarters to develop a series of training workshops.

Beginning later this year, several elementary and secondary schools in Chicago, Moscow, and Amsterdam will take part in "Project Metropolis," a collaborative effort funded by International Movement Towards Education, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Chicago was asked to participate because its ethnic diversity and poverty levels closely march those of Moscow, officials said.

The exchange will allow teachers and students to share ideas on faculty training, assessment methods, administrative practices, and vocational and academic curriculum.

Beau Fly Jones, the director of the North Central Regional Educational Lab, which is coordinating the Chicago exchange, emphasized that the workshops will benefit both school systems.

"Besides giving them new curricular options,'' Ms. Jones said, "there is a tremendous value in giving our teachers an understanding of living in a global village."

A federal judge has ruled that the Cincinnati public schools are complying with a consent decree to achieve racial balance among the district's teaching staff.

The district, however, remains under court order to improve student performance and ensure that its student-discipline policies are racially unbiased in eight low achieving elementary schools.

The Bronson agreement, as the 1984 consent decree is known, settled a 10-year-old lawsuit that accused the district of illegally segregating students and teachers. With this month's decision by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice, the school district has been released from all but 2 of the decree's original 10 components.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which brought the original lawsuit, had asked the judge to continue monitoring the district's compliance with the order on staff racial balance.

The Philadelphia school district last week announced the creation of a partnership among Yale University, Temple University, and the district to pilot an integrated approach to meeting the educational and support need of schoolchildren.

The program, "Comprehensive Approach to Schooling Success," combines elements of the school-improvement model developed by the child psychiatrist James P. Comer of Yale with a program developed by Margaret C. Wang, director of Temple's Center for Research in Human Development and Education.

Ms. Wang's "Adapative Learning Environments Model" recognizes that children learn in different ways and need different kinds of instruction. Classrooms run under the model may include regular, special-education, and gifted students working at work stations on self-selected projects.

Dr. Comer's program, widely used in urban districts across the country, stresses enhanced parental involvement, the sharing of authority by educators, and regular involvement of mental-health professionals to solve behavioral problems.

The program will begin at two district elementary schools and one middle school.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has ruled that a high school in Hopkins failed to ensure a nondiscriminatory environment for AfricanAmericans when it failed to act promptly to discipline a teacher for racist remarks.

In the first ruling of its kind in the state, the state department said officials of Hopkins High School failed to act promptly to suspend a teacher who verbally harassed black students and claimed that black people are less intelligent than those of other races.

The high school last year suspended the teacher for 10 days without pay in connection with the incident, but not until more than a month after concerned parents had filed a complaint with state officials.

The school's failure to take prompt action, the department wrote, is "strong evidence" of its acquiescence to discriminatory action by employees.

A 20-year veteran of the Neptune, N.J., schools faces school-district charges for allegedly making racist comments on a call-in radio program.

The Neptune (N.J.) Board of Education suspended David C. Clark, an English teacher at Neptune Senior High, four days after the show aired on WABC-AM.

Mr. Clark could be charged with conduct unbecoming a teacher, which could lead to his dismissal, officials said.

During the broadcast, Mr. Clark allegedly said: "In 200 years we went to the moon. In 2,000 years, [Africans] are still over there urinating in their own drinking and bathing water."

Steven Cohen, a lawyer hired by the Neptune Township Education Association to represent Mr. Clark, said the remarks had been taken out of context in a discussion of teaching translated African literature in an American literature course.

Mr. Cohen also threatened to file a federal civil-rights suit if the beard attempts to fire the teacher.

A federal judge this month sentenced a former Louisiana school-board president to 27 months in jail and fined him $10,000 for trying to extort contract kickbacks.

U.S. District Judge Marcel Livaudais in New Orleans sentenced W.L. (Bill) Folse, the former St. Tammany Parish schoolboard president who had pleaded guilty to seven counts of extortion.

Testimony at a sentencing heating indicated that Mr. Folse solicited kickbacks from engineers and architects who sought school-construction contracts. Prosecutors unsuccessfully argued for a longer sentence for Mr. Folse, saying he had organized a kickback scam that involved other board members.

Another former board member, Donald Crockett, has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 21 months in prison for extortion.

Vol. 11, Issue 23

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