Panel Faces Challenges In Drafting Blueprint For 1st National Tests

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Immunization Effort Is Unveiled

Three federal agencies launched a pilot project last week to boost immunization rates among children living in public-housing projects.

The $800,000 grant program will be jointly administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Corporation for National Service. It is designed to raise parents' and health providers' awareness about childhood immunizations, and to help families overcome obstacles that often prevent their children from being vaccinated on time.

Despite record-high immunization rates for children nationally, some communities, particularly in low-income areas, tend to lag behind in getting children vaccinated and are at greater risk for disease outbreaks, according to HHS. The effort, part of President Clinton's Childhood Immunization Initiative, will be piloted later this year in four cities: Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., Philadelphia, and Little Rock, Ark.

NRC Releases Title I Details

The National Research Council has released a final report explaining its reasons for recommending that the federal government rely on a hybrid of population data to distribute Title I funds in the 1997-98 school year.

Until last week, the council gave the public only an executive summary with its conclusion that the most reliable data for calculating Title I grants is a combination of child-poverty rates from the 1990 census and child-poverty estimates from a variety of 1994 data.The secretaries of education and commerce decided to follow the recommendation. One result: About 60 percent of the nation's counties can expect to see their grants drop. ("60% of Counties To Receive Less In Title I Grants," April 30, 1997.) In the full report, panel members write that "it is common practice in various areas of applied statistical analysis to average two (or more) estimates with different properties to produce improved estimates." The panel also says the solution should be scrapped once the method used to create the 1994 estimates is perfected.

High Court Rejects Teacher Case

The U.S. Supreme Court refused last week to hear an appeal from a Kentucky teacher whose license was revoked by state authorities after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from improprieties in her 1992 campaign for Congress.

Carol B. Hubbard, a 5th grade teacher in Hardin County, Ky., pleaded guilty in 1994 to aiding and abetting the theft of government property. Federal prosecutors charged Ms. Hubbard and her husband, former Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr., with enlisting congressional employees to aid Ms. Hubbard's House campaign. Ms. Hubbard ran for Congress and lost.

After Ms. Hubbard's conviction, the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board revoked her teaching license for two years, stating that her conduct "sets a bad example for students."

Ms. Hubbard unsuccessfully challenged the revocation in Kentucky state courts, arguing that there was no significant connection between her misdemeanor conviction and teaching duties. The Supreme Court, without comment on May 27, declined to hear her appeal in Hubbard v. Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (Case No. 96-1504).

FCC Chairman Reed Hundt To Resign

Reed E. Hundt announced last week that he will resign as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a post he has held for 3« years. Mr. Hundt has been active on communications issues of concern to schools.

Since President Clinton appointed him in 1993, Mr. Hundt, 49, has been a central figure in the communications revolution that accelerated after the Telecommunications Act became law in 1996. During his tenure, the commission has rewritten the nation's rules on telephone, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcast communications. The results, so far, have been mixed.

Just last month, the FCC issued a landmark order to provide schools and libraries with telecommunications discounts worth up to $9 billion over the next four years. Last fall, the FCC required television broadcasters to offer three hours of children's educational television programming per week.

Mr. Hundt will remain in the post until his replacement has been appointed and confirmed by the Senate.

The departure of two other commission members, whose terms have expired, will leave only one of the current commissioners, Susan Ness, at the agency.

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