State News Roundup

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Upholding a 1987 district court judgment, the Texas Supreme Court last week ruled that parents have a right to teach their children at home.

In the unanimous decision stemming from a 1981 lawsuit, the court said that the state's compulsory-attendance law does not apply to children who are taught in "legitimate home schools.''

The supreme court agreed with the lower court in saying that a legitimate home school is one that has a written plan of instruction covering such "basic education goals'' as reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship. (See Education Week, April 29, 1987.)

The ruling offers legal clarity but has no practical effect. Since 1986, the state has accepted home schools with written instruction plans.

State Oversight: A three-member state panel will be appointed to oversee the Chester Upland schools in Pennsylvania after Donald M. Carroll Jr., the education secretary, last week declared the district "financially distressed.''

The 7,537-student Philadelphia-area district qualified for state intervention when it ran up budget deficits of at least 2 percent of its assessed tax value for two consecutive years, Gary Tuma, a spokesman for the state education department, said.

In similar action in Kentucky, the state school board has suspended the superintendent of the Letcher County schools and moved to take over the 4,400-student district.

The local board agreed to the takeover and will work with a three-person state oversight team for at least a year. The takeover comes after a blistering audit of the district.

Vol. 13, Issue 39

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