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Ranks To Swell

The number of classroom teachers in the nation's elementary and secondary schools is expected to increase by some 20 percent, to 3.35 million, over the next 10 years, according to projections by the National Center for Education Statistics. While increases are expected at both the elementary and secondary levels, the number of secondary teachers will increase at a faster rate than the number of elementary teachers. The center expects the ranks of public and private school teachers to grow at similar rates

Pious Portrait?

A federal district judge has ordered officials at Bloomingdale (Mich.) High School to remove a portrait of Jesus from a hallway. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Gibson ruled that the 2-by-3-foot portrait violates the First Amendment clause prohibiting government establishment of religion. The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed in October by Eric Pensinger, a senior at the school. Pensinger charged that the portrait implies that the school endorses Christianity and thus violates the establishment clause. School officials argued that the picture is secular in that it informs students about Jesus as a historical figure. They noted that a portrait of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. hangs in a classroom and has not been challenged. The school board will appeal the decision.

Ready To Learn

The U.S. Education Department has issued a guide to help schools and communities meet the national education goal of ensuring that all children enter school ready to learn. In a question-and-answer format, the guide offers ways to define, assess, and promote readiness. It also discusses the roles of parents, schools, and social agencies and cites model readiness programs, private-sector efforts, and federal grant sources. Single copies of Starting School Ready to Learn: Questions and Answers on Reaching National Education Goal One are available at no cost from the Office of Policy and Planning, U.S. Education Department, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Room 3127, Washington, DC 20202; (202) 401-0590.

A Small Raise

The average salary of school principals increased only 2 percent between the 1991-92 and current school years, according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It was the lowest gain recorded since the group started compiling such figures in 1973. The average salary for high school principals this year is $63,054, an increase of 2.04 percent over last year. Principals of middle and junior high schools average $58,620, up 1.9 percent, and elementary principals average $54,905, up 1.91 percent. Some categories of assistant principals actually lost ground this year, the survey found.

Teachers Wanted

A California-based program, American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education, or APPLE, is seeking American teachers to help “overhaul a stolid, longtime Soviet-dominated educational system.” The partnership is seeking educators--particularly teachers of English--willing to spend a semester or an academic year at an elementary or high school in Lithuania. For more information about the program, call or write Dalile Polikaitis, APPLE, 1501 Valecroft Ave., Westlake Village, CA 91361; (805) 496-9711.

Slave Auction

A mock “slave auction” held in a Chester County, Pa., elementary school has sparked a state investigation as well as demands from local civil rights leaders that the teacher and the district superintendent resign. The incident took place at Octorara Elementary School in Attlen, Pa., during class discussions of the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. As part of a class demonstration, Mary Horning, a 1st grade teacher, chose two African-American children to portray slaves, who were then “sold” for $10 and $15 each. A white child was chosen to act as an overseer on a slave boat. Two weeks later, parents of the two African-American children, along with members of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, picketed the school and demanded the resignations of Horning and Superintendent Timothy Daniels. Horning, who said she had conducted the demonstration in previous years, apologized to the parents, and district officials said they would take no steps against her. The state education association and the local teachers' union also issued statements supporting Horning. Dissatisfied with the district's response, the parents filed a formal grievance with the state human-relations committee and took their complaints nationwide with an appearance on the “Donahue” talk show.

Vol. 04, Issue 07, Pages 6, 11

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