$1.4 million federal grant to aid Md. schools' improvement efforts

October 17, 1994|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland schools have received $1.4 million to help them reach the voluntary goals stipulated in the federal "Goals 2000" legislation enacted in March.

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, can be used for many school improvement efforts, including teacher training, raising academic standards and promoting parent involvement. But to receive the money, local districts must agree to enforce anti-gun measures and to suspend for at least a year any student violator.

Maryland officials said the state's own school reform plan has standards that in some instances are tougher than the voluntary standards in the federal legislation.

Sixty percent of the first-year grant must go to local districts. In future years, 90 percent must be spent by the state's 24 districts, which must apply for grants, according to a state Education Department spokesman.

The national goals were established at a 1989 summit attended by then-President Bush and the nation's governors, and codified in the federal legislation. About $400 million was earmarked the first year for state and local aid under the Goals 2000 act.

A report issued last month by the National Education Goals Panel said schools are making progress in increasing mathematics achievement in elementary and middle schools and reducing drinking among students. But the panel reported little progress on several other goals, among them increasing high school graduation rates and increasing mathematics achievement in grade 12.

The gun measure was added by Congress when it beat back attempts to include in the act an amendment permitting prayer in public schools.

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