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An oath for parents

New York lawmaker Jeffrey Klein wants parents to make a pledge to their school-age children, and he has introduced legislation to help them do just that.

The assemblyman's "Parent's Education Pledge" bill would ask parents to pledge at least one hour a day to help their children with their schoolwork, provide a quiet place to do homework, and require daily quiet time for their children.

For every parent who signed the pledge, the state would give the school a dollar. Mr. Klein is hopeful that schools will regard the parental commitments as a way to raise money.

"We spend a lot of money on education," said Mr. Klein, a Democrat from the Bronx in New York City who is in his fourth year as a legislator. "I am a firm believer that there must be input from parents."

Although the bill was introduced just recently and he is still working to collect co-sponsors, doubts about whether the legislation will make it into law have already arisen, Mr. Klein acknowledged.

Even so, he sees his plan as a good way to get parents involved.

"You can't legislate morals or parent involvement," he said, "but you can give incentives."

Plea agreement

Alice McDonald, Kentucky's superintendent of public instruction from 1984 to 1988 and a former official in Gov. Paul E. Patton's administration, pleaded guilty April 7 to two felony charges in Franklin County Circuit Court in Frankfort.

Ms. McDonald, 57, admitted to theft of state services and tampering with evidence, charges that stemmed from an investigation by the state attorney general's office that she was misusing her state job.

Ms. McDonald ran the Governmental Services Center, a small state-financed training agency in Louisville.

As part of her guilty plea, Ms. McDonald agreed to pay $60,000 to the state, an amount intended to cover stolen services and the cost of the state's investigation of her, according to Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Morris Burton.

She also agreed to testify before a special grand jury investigating the 1995 governor's race on the condition that her request for probation be taken into consideration, Mr. Burton said.

Ms. McDonald was fired from her recent state post the day after she was indicted in November. Her sentencing is scheduled for late May.


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