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Among the losers in last week's primary elections was Representative Ronald M. Mottl, Democrat of Ohio, a persistent opponent of busing for school desegregation.

For several years, Mr. Mottl, of suburban Cleveland, has pressed for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw desegregation busing. The so-called "Mottl amendment" was narrowly defeated in a House vote two years ago; a revived version is in committee, and Mr. Mottl has been attempting to force it to a floor vote via a discharge petition.

Mr. Mottl, whose district boundaries were redrawn this year, was defeated by Edward Feighan, a liberal Democratic leader. Busing, however, was said by political observers to be less of an issue than Mr. Mottl's support of the Reagan Administration's economic pro-gram--an unpopular program in northeastern Ohio, where unemployment is high.

Another Representative who is influential in educational matters had a happier primary-election day.

Millicent H. Fenwick, the flamboyant New Jersey Republican, won her party's nomination for the Senate. Ms. Fenwick is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor.


Most Americans favor a constitutional amendment to permit organized prayer in public schools, according to a Gallup Poll released last week.

Seventy-nine percent of those who knew about President Reagan's proposal for such an amendment favored the idea, according to the results of the poll, while 16 percent were opposed. About three-quarters of those interviewed were aware of the proposal.

However, most respondents apparently do not expect the schools to provide a significant part of their children's religious training. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said that the home was the most important factor in children's spiritual growth; only 2 percent cited schools as an important factor.

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