News in Brief
Alaska Governor Vetoes Teacher-Tenure Bill: Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska has vetoed a bill that would have required teachers to work two more years before becoming eligible for tenure and would have given school districts more flexibility to fire tenured teachers.
The state's teachers now are eligible for tenure after two years and, in most cases, tenured teachers can only be fired when enrollment drops.
The bill would have required that teachers have four years of experience to qualify for tenure and would have allowed administrators to fire tenured teachers in districts where the state education commissioner had declared a "financial emergency." The bill sparked a face-off between the state's largest teachers' union, which opposed it, and the school boards' association, which fought for it.
The measure also would have tinkered with the appeals process for tenured teachers who had been fired and would have allowed districts to set up an optional early-retirement program.
In his veto message, Governor Knowles, a Democrat, said the bill was too divisive and did not sufficiently address larger problems in the state's schools. Mr. Knowles plans to convene a panel to look into issues of teacher tenure, layoff, review, and professional development. He likely will raise those issues in the next legislative session, the Governor's spokesman said.
Mr. Knowles also vetoed a welfare-reform bill that would have cut off recipients after five years. He killed the bill largely because the cutoff would have included children, the spokesman said.
Wis. Governor Gets Win: Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson of Wisconsin has won legislative approval of several bold education proposals, such as dismantling the state education department and expanding Milwaukee's school-voucher program to include religious schools. (See related story.)
Voting along partisan lines, the Republican-dominated Assembly and Senate last month passed an omnibus(See education measures, which include legislation lowering the state's compulsory school-attendance age from 18 to 16, changing the state's school-funding formula to rely less on property taxes, and making it easier to set up charter schools. (See related story .)
Vol. 14, Issue 40