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City officials in Yonkers, N.Y., last week presented a federal judge with a plan designed to resolve the city's longstanding school- and housing-desegregation case. (See Education Week, April 22, 1992.)

But resistance by one of the plaintiffs in the case, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, appeared to lessen the chances that the plan will be accepted by Judge Leonard B. Sand of the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Local N.A.A.C.P. officials initially agreed to the city's plan, but withdrew their support early this month because, they said, it does not provide enough long-term, low-income housing and had not received the backing it needs from cooperative-apartment boards and condominium owners.

Robert Weber, the press secretary for Mayor Terence M. Zaleski, last week said the city was continuing its negotiations with the N.A.A.C.P. on the city council-approved plan, which calls for 709 units of low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied housing to be built in existing condominiums and cooperative apartments.

School officials already have desegregated the district's schools as a result of the 12-year-old case, in which city and school officials were found to be working in tandem to perpetuate the segregation of neighborhoods and schools.

The Roman Catholic bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., diocese has announced he will no longer recognize or meet with the local Catholic school teachers' union.

The surprise--and apparently unprecedented--announcement late last month by Bishop John M. D'Arcy "shocked'' the teachers who were anticipating a negotiating session the same day with diocesan officials, said Mike Thompson, the president of the union, Community Alliance for Teachers in Catholic High Schools.

Instead of negotiating with a union, Bishop D'Arcy said he will form an advisory council to be composed equally of teachers appointed by him and teachers elected by the union.

"Our frustration is that the church has long championed the rights of the union,'' Mr. Thompson said. "Now [Bishop D'Arcy] is taking this away from us.''

The teachers, who have not yet formulated a response to the announcement, have had an ongoing dispute with the bishop. The high-school teachers are in their third year of working without a contract. (See Education Week, Feb. 12, 1992.)

A statement issued by the diocese said that Bishop D'Arcy made the decision after an "extended study'' he conducted involving legal and religious experts, including other bishops.

John J. Reilly, the president of the National Association of Catholic School Teachers who had waged a national campaign on behalf of the Indiana teachers, last week called Bishop D'Arcy's decision a "disaster.''

"It's union-busting ... pure and simple,'' Mr. Reilly said.

John Dickinson, a California teacher who spent six months in a military prison for refusing to serve with his Air Force Reserve unit in the Persian Gulf war, will be allowed to keep his teaching credentials. (See Education Week, April 8, 1992.)

A committee of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing late last month closed Mr. Dickinson's case, which means he will not be sanctioned for his military offense. The committee could have recommended revocation of his license on grounds of "moral turpitude.''

Early last month, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr. Dickinson, sent the committee a brief that included 400 letters of support from a broad array of backers, among them a large majority of Mr. Dickinson's colleagues at the Santa Ana elementary school where he teaches 5th grade.

The committee closed the case after reviewing it during a three-day hearing in late May.

The District of Columbia school board is expected this month to approve a measure that will require students to complete a semester in algebra in order to graduate.

The proposal, which was announced by Superintendent Franklin L. Smith last week, is one of a package of strengthened requirements for the district's 18,000 students. Mr. Smith also called for adding a year of foreign language and a semester of geography to the curriculum.

The requirements would be phased in beginning in the fall.

The College Board has identified algebra and geometry as "gatekeeper'' courses whose successful completion correlates with college admission and graduation, particularly for minority students.

Louisiana is thought to be the only state to require algebra for high-school graduation, but there is little agreement among educators there as to whether the requirement has improved academic performance or simply forced marginal students out of the state's system. (See Education Week, June 5, 1991.)

But districts nationwide, including the Dayton, Ohio, public schools, where Mr. Smith previously served as superintendent, have already imposed such requirements or are considering them in the hope of instilling academic discipline.

The Maryland State Board of Education, meanwhile, is expected to vote next month on a proposal to require the teaching of "algebra and geometry concepts'' in all secondary-school mathematics courses.

Boston school officials have agreed to settle a case brought by Latino parents who accused the district of systematically denying federally funded Chapter 1 services to thousands of limited-English-proficient students. (See Education Week, July 31, 1991.)

The parents brought the class action last summer charging that, over all, 25 percent of students in the district received Chapter 1 compensatory services, while only 4.3 percent of L.E.P. students received such services.

Under the settlement, the district pledged to ensure equal access to the services for L.E.P. students, involve the plaintiffs in budget discussions for the program, provide both native-language and English-as-a-second-language Chapter 1 services, and issue an annual status report on the success of the effort.

Roger Rice, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the settlement should result in "several millions of dollars'' in additional funds for bilingual and E.S.L. students.

The agreement also notes that the district, which denies any deliberate discrimination, increased services to L.E.P. students this school year.

Resistance from teachers has prompted Los Angeles Unified School District officials to abandon a proposal to shorten the school year and lengthen the school day to save money.

The district's board agreed last week not to seek a state waiver to shorten the school year after a United Teachers of Los Angeles poll of 13,000 of its members showed that 80 percent oppose the idea.

Superintendent William A. Anton last month had proposed shortening the 180-day school year by 17 days and adding 30 to 40 minutes to each school day in an effort to save $160 million in staff and teachers' salaries and various other costs. (See Education Week, May 27, 1992.)

The board was expected to consider new budget cuts late last week in light of its decision not to try to alter the school year.

Vol. 11, Issue 39, Page 3

Published in Print: June 17, 1992, as News Updates
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