National News Roundup
An eighth-grade girl who wanted to try out for her school's boys' basketball team this season has received a final refusal from the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the Court's decision does not constitute approval of sex-segregated sports, according to one specialist in women's rights.
A lawsuit to permit Karen O'Connor of Prospect Heights, Ill., to join the team is pending in federal court in that state. In the meantime, the girl's parents had asked for a preliminary injunction ordering the school system to allow Karen to try for a place on the boys' team this year.
They contended that, by not granting the girl a chance on the boys' team, the school system was violating the girl's constititutional right to equal protection, as well as Title IX, the law forbidding sex bias in school sports.
Although a lower court granted the injunction, an appeals court ruled against the try-out last spring, and the Supreme Court refused to intervene.
The school board had asked for that ruling, contending that, until the lawsuit comes to trial, there is no "fully developed factual record upon which" the Court could base a decision.
The Supreme Court has never ruled on the Title IX provision, and federal regulations generally do not consider sex-segregated sports programs to be out of compliance with the law.
An advocate for women's rights in athletics says she does not interpret the Court's action as a ruling in favor of sex-segregated sports.
"It has virtually no significance," said Anne E. Simon of the National Organization for Women's Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "The Court may decide to rule on the case when it finally comes to trial.''
Black educators must encourage their students to pursue careers in mathematics and science, the director of the National Science Foundation told educators meeting in Baltimore late last month.
Speaking at the ninth annual conference of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, John B. Slaughter said science and mathematics are becoming increasingly powerful forces in the shaping of American society, industry, and productivity, but that participation by blacks in those fields remains limited.
And, although more black students than ever are entering college, the dropout rate for black students in science and mathematics is much higher than that of any other group, he said.
Only 405 of the 42,000 chemists who graduated from colleges and universities in 1978 were black, he added.
The foundation's science-education programs probably cannot be expected to improve the situation, however.
The Reagan Administration's budget for fiscal 1982 recommended eliminating federally sponsored science-education programs. Although the programs survived with large cuts, the Administration will push for elimination again next year, the Presidential science adviser said last week.
George Keyworth said he has advised cutting the foundation's programs because they are "ineffective."
The Arkansas law requiring "balanced treatment" of "scientific creationism" was to go on trial today in what is expected to be only the first in a long series of legal battles on the issue.
The American Civil Liberties Union, with the help of one of New York's largest law firms, brought the suit against the state of Arkansas.
The central issue in the case is the aclu's charge that creationism is a religion, not a science. Therefore, the civil-liberties group argues, the teaching of creationism in state-operated public schools violates the First Amendment's provision for the separation of church and state.
The trial, in the U.S. District Court in Little Rock, will be the first to test the validity of creationism as a scientific theory. In an earlier trial in California, Kelly Seagraves, director of the Creation Science Research Center in San Diego, did not argue scientific issues, but claimed that the state was violating his 13-year-old son's fundamentalist beliefs by forcing him to learn the theory of evolution.
The aclu is preparing a suit against a similar law in Lousiana.