Goals on trial
An Alabama state senator has sued Gov. Fob James Jr. and the state school board over their refusal to apply for federal funds under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
Sen. Edward "E.B." McClain, a Democrat from Brighton, is asking a state court to allow individual districts to apply for Goals 2000 money directly to the federal Department of Education.
Mr. McClain is also asking that the board reimburse the state's school districts for the more than $6 million the state has forfeited to date.
"It's absolutely wrong to not allow the school districts to apply directly," Sen. McClain said.
Every state except Alabama and Virginia has either applied to the Education Department for Goals 2000 money or pledged to allow districts to apply under a special provision that allows local applications to go straight to Washington. Normally, districts would receive grant payments through the state.
The money comes in exchange for school-improvement plans based on challenging academic and student-performance standards. Goals 2000 has been the centerpiece of President Clinton's school-reform strategy.
Gov. James, a Republican, and the GOP-dominated state board maintain that Goals 2000 represents an unprecedented federal intrusion into the state's education system.
The Birmingham public schools joined the lawsuit filed last month in Montgomery County circuit court. Mr. McClain's lawyer, Gusty Yearout, said he expects other Alabama districts to participate. State officials have yet to respond to the suit.
Retiring Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., has agreed to join the National Teachers Hall of Fame board of directors.
Ms. Kassebaum, the chairwoman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, accepted the board post in June.
She will be the second U.S. senator to serve on the Hall of Fame's board. The other is former Lt. Gov. Sheila Frahm, who was named to the Kansas Senate seat vacated by GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole.
"I have long been interested in education and believe that academic excellence deserves our full support," Ms. Kassebaum said of her new post.
The National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kan., opened in 1989 to honor K-12 teachers. The hall has inducted 20 teachers.
Vol. 15, Issue 41