Schools going co-ed:Girls can begin applying to three...

Newswatch ...on education

August 26, 1991

Schools going co-ed:

Girls can begin applying to three all-male public schools in Detroit this week and start classes Sept. 9 under a deal reached by education and civil rights leaders.

The agreement reached during the weekend came in response to a federal judge's ruling that excluding girls from the schools would have been unconstitutional. The academies, designed to better educate inner-city black males, will open as planned hTC tomorrow but will enroll an unspecified number of girls, Detroit schools' Superintendent Deborah McGriff said Saturday. Girls will begin classes one week later under the agreement between the Detroit School District Board of Education and the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, joined by the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"These will be special schools with a special curriculum. They will be better schools," said Howard Simon, executive director of Michigan's ACLU. "They'll have some individual attention and Saturday classes and a specially trained teacher core and a new Afro-centric emphasis."

The ACLU chapter and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund challenged the novel schools in federal court, suing on behalf of a Detroit mother with three girls in public schools. They charged the all-male academies violated federal civil rights laws against sexual discrimination. The schools were open to boys of any race in the district, which is more than 90 percent black.

U.S. District Judge George Woods on Aug. 15 ruled the schools unconstitutional and ordered the board and civil rights groups to negotiate a compromise.

From House to classroom:

Former House Speaker Jim Wright, who resigned two years ago following charges of ethics violations, will draw on his 34 years in Congress to teach a political science course.

For the next 15 weeks, the former Texas Democrat will deliver weekly lectures for a Texas Christian University political science course titled "Congress and the Presidents." Wright, 68, served 17 terms in the House. He become speaker in 1987 when Rep. Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, D-Mass., resigned. Wright said he mostly will use anecdotes to teach his course and will concentrate on his own experiences shared with eight presidents.

Wright resigned in June 1989 after the House Ethics Committee charged him with 69 ethics violations. He was accused of using bulk sales of his book, "Reflections of a Public Man," to evade limits on outside income. The panel also accused him of improperly taking gifts from a developer friend who had a direct interest in legislation.

Sexual harassment study:

More than one-half of the senior students surveyed at 10 U.S. medical schools reported experiences with sexual harassment, according to a study published by the California Medical Association.

The study, part of a larger survey of students' views of how they are treated during medical training, concluded that mistreatment may affect the way future doctors treat their patients.

Some 97 percent of the students said they were mistreated or harassed at some point in medical school, with nearly one in five saying they were hit or pushed. Fifty-five percent reported some form of sexual harassment, including one-fourth of the male students. The study, conducted by three Chicago researchers, was published in the August edition of the Western Journal of Medicine.

The study was initiated in 1988, three years before sexual harassment in medical schools received national attention due to the resignation of a prominent brain surgeon from the Stanford University Medical School. Dr. Frances Conley, one of the nation's first women neurosurgeons, quit her Stanford job in May after complaining that she and female students had been subjected to years of sexual harassment.

Operation Back to School:

Like school principals around the world, Abdul Karim al-Ustad of Kuwait City is frazzled with preparations for the start of the school year.

But unlike his peers, he had to start by clearing more than 20 truckloads of war debris from his school, dismantling a motor pool in his gymnasium, reinstalling light fixtures and buying new desks and chairs. "You can't believe what the Iraqis did to us," al-Ustad said. "They even took our student records and used them as fuel for cooking."

Kuwait's public schools, which open Saturday, were the barracks for thousands of Iraqi troops during their seven-month occupation of Kuwait. Most were looted, and many were covered with "Victory to Saddam" graffiti and piled with trash, including .. unexploded grenades and mortar shells.

More than 120 schools are too badly damaged to reopen. The 503 that will receive students were filled this week with workmen, teachers and Kuwaiti volunteers trying to get classrooms ready.

New designs:

As it proceeds with one of the biggest school construction programs in the nation, New York City is experimenting with new designs for the basic building blocks of education.

Two years into the program, the city, through its contracted architects, has devised several innovations that may serve as models for schools nationwide. They include a new basic classroom shape, corridor "streets" and school buildings that can be transformed into separate sub-schools.

Over the next five years, the city plans to design and start construction on 50 schools using blueprints drawn by its own architects and some of the most successful architectural firms in New York City. The trademark of the new schools is a penny-wise reliance on standardized components that does not sacrifice originality in design.

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