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Nebraska Christian Schools Abound

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Of 18 new Nebraska private schools recently granted approval from the state to open this fall, 12 are Christian, affiliated with either a major denomination or a fundamentalist group, according to the state's department of education.

That pattern mirrors the findings of a new survey of private-school growth completed by the National Center for Education Statistics. (See Education Week, Sept. 7, 1981.) Researchers conducting the study found that in a sample group of 22 counties, Christian academies were the fastest-growing group of schools, and their growth rate exceeded the pace suggested by earlier surveys.

In Nebraska and other states, some Christian schools are opening without state approval.

One such school was recently closed by the court. Everett Sileven, who started a 22-student fundamentalist Baptist school in Louisville, Neb., recently had his school shut down by the court following a long legal procedure.

Stanley C. Carlson, administrator for school management and curriculum in the Nebraska education department, says Mr. Sileven started his school four years ago and was ordered to close it last winter when the state's Supreme Court ruled that he was in violation of state certification laws. Teachers in Mr. Sileven's school were not certified.

The local district court then gave Mr. Sileven until the end of the year to comply or be cited for contempt. He had said he would reopen his school as planned this fall.

Last year a resolution was introduced into the Nebraska legislature to exempt people who operate schools like Mr. Sileven's from state certification requirements. Hearings regarding this resolution will probably be conducted when the legislature meets in the fall.

Mr. Sileven had asked for a stay again based on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court requested a transcript of the proceedings of his case in the Nebraska Supreme Court. The request was denied, and Mr. Sileven was informed that his school was to be closed down.

At a press conference after the ruling, Mr. Sileven announced that he would take his students to a similar school in Iowa.--A.H.

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