District News Roundup
N.Y.C. Mayor and Union Reach Broad Agreements
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York has agreed to give pay hikes and protections from future layoffs to the city's teachers.
The proposed teachers' contract would boost their pay and benefits by 13 percent over the next four years while giving the United Federation of Teachers an unusual written guarantee that its members' jobs would be protected for three years.
The contract, which must be ratified by the union membership, also would relieve teachers of having to perform cafeteria duty and other nonprofessional assignments.
UFT negotiators agreed to no wage increases in the contract's first two years. They also accepted provisions that would streamline the process for disciplining teachers and allow schools more flexibility in hiring teachers without seniority.
School Board Favored
Most New Yorkers don't like recent proposals to give Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani control of the city school system or its budget, a new survey has found.
About 70 percent of the 705 city residents polled view giving the mayor, rather than the school board, control of their public schools as a bad idea, according to the survey conducted last month by Quinnipiac College of Hamden, Conn.
The study's authors noted that a majority of those polled favored transferring responsibility for school safety from the school system to the police department--an idea Mr. Giuliani has backed.
The Chicago school district announced plans last week for a system of alternative schools for disruptive students and dropouts.
The 407,000-student district invited proposals from public and private agencies for creating small schools with specialized curricula for at-risk students. Students in grades 6-12 will be referred to such schools after expulsion hearings or on the recommendations of district administrators.
The schools will also be open to older dropouts between 16 and 20 and students who are chronically truant, the district said.
The district plans to have enough schools open by March to enroll 70 percent of the students eligible for them.
A Florida appeals court found that a controversial Dade County curfew ordinance does not violate state law and can be reinstated.
In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel reversed a lower court's ruling that had barred officials of the county, which includes Miami, from enforcing the ordinance.
A North Dakota school district's zero-tolerance policy on weapons has not discouraged students from carrying them, a survey has found.
The proportion of 8th graders who said they brought a weapon to school jumped from 18 percent in 1993 to 30 percent last year, according to the survey conducted by the Grand Forks district last school year and released last month.
The 10,000-student district began the zero-tolerance policy in 1993. Students can be expelled for bringing to school weapons ranging from small pen knives to martial-arts weapons to guns.
Teachers and administrators at the district's Valley Middle School plan to work with students and parents to try to stem the problem, according to Principal Marcia Fivizzani.
The Boston school district is giving a pat on the back--and some cash--to schools that show substantial improvement.
School officials last month passed out $500,000 in award money to 50 of the district's 117 schools. All had made strides in test scores, attendance, and dropout rates.
The effort to recognize schools that improve was launched last year by the Boston Teachers Union, the district, and the city. The winners get to spend the money any way they choose, as long as students will reap the rewards.
Assault Charges Against Teachers
In unconnected incidents, Prince William County, Va., police have charged two middle school teachers with assaulting students.
Police accused Joyce McIntosh, a special-education teacher at Parkside Middle School, with slapping a 13-year-old boy during class.
The teacher said she was innocent, according to news reports following the incident. Ms. McIntosh has since resigned her position and could not be reached for comment.
Additionally, police this month charged Lewis Howard, a teacher at Fred Lynn Middle School, with punching a 13-year-old student in the stomach. Mr. Howard has been suspended with pay pending a court decision, according to Sharon Blackwell, the school's principal.
David Brickley, Mr. Howard's lawyer, told reporters the teacher reacted after the boy slapped Mr. Howard on the back.
Students Protest Firing
Some 50 protesters occupied the Indian Community School in Milwaukee for a weekend this month to protest the dismissal of a school board member. The school canceled classes for most of last week.
The demonstrators were reacting to the termination of board member Loretta Ford, who they said was fired without reason. But the school's four other board members said Ms. Ford made expenditures and staffing decisions--such as firing the principal--without consulting them. The board oversees only the community school, which is financed by a Potawatomi casino.
Vol. 15, Issue 11