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Tracing Lost Children

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has registered strong reservations about a pair of bills awaiting action on both the House and Senate floors that would help parents locate their missing children by means of a federal computerized information network.

The bills, H6976 and S1701, would authorize federal criminal investigators to add information to their master criminal-justice computer file to assist state and local police to track down these children. Approximately 1.5 million children, most of them runaways or the victims of foul play, disappear from their homes every year, according to proponents of the legislation.

But the Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Paula Hawkins, Republican of Florida, would also permit parents or guardians of missing children to have that information placed directly in the federal computer list without contacting local police agencies first.

Lane Bonner, a spokesman for the fbi, said that the bureau opposes that provision because "the local level is the appropriate level of initial contact" between parents with missing children and law-enforcement officials.

Shifts in Chapt. I, II Rules?

The Education Department said last week that it "is considering amendments" to final regulations for Chapters I and II of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act in light of last month's veto of those rules by both houses of Congress.

The department's announcement could signal the beginning of the end of a long-running disagreement between the Congress and Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell over the applicability of a broad law known as the General Education Provisions Act to the new federal education block-grant and the former Title I programs.

Among other things, gepa guarantees the Congress's right to review and veto federal education regulations. In publishing the new ecia regulations, however, ed said that the Congressional veto section of gepa did not apply to Chapters I and II.

On Aug. 10 the House and the Senate overwhelmingly disapproved those regulations despite the department's warnings that they lacked the legal authority to do so. The legal status of the ecia regulations has remained in question since that time.

Farm (to School) to Table

The Agriculture Department is working with state education, agriculture, and business leaders to develop a national information-sharing network that will help teachers and school administrators incorporate agriculture-related topics into their schools' curricula.

To date, the department has sponsored workshops for education officials and businessmen in Lincoln, Neb., and Harrisburg, Pa., and has scheduled a third in Portland, Ore., for Sept. 29, according to Shirley Traxler, an assistant to Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block. Two similar workshops may be held later this year in the southeast and southwest regions of the country, Ms. Traxlor added.

"At one time the persons making agriculture policy decisions used to live on farms or had parents or relatives who farmed at one time or another," Ms. Traxler said. "Today, that's not usually the case. It has become less and less likely that students, who will be the policymakers in the future, are fully aware how agriculture affects their lives. They no longer know just what is involved in getting food from the farm to the dinner table."

What Army Doesn't Need

The Army has decided to accept fewer female enlistees into its ranks during the next five years than it previously had planned and also will bar them from certain kinds of jobs.

The new Army enlistment policy will limit the the number of female G.I.'s to a total of 70,000 by 1987--an increase of 5,000 women. The Carter Administration had planned to expand the number of women in the Army to 100,000 over the same period, according to the Department of Defense.

At the same time, a new physical-strength test that will be administered to all recruits is expected to bar most women from almost three-quarters of all Army job categories. Army officials also plan to add 23 job categories to its list of combat-related activities closed off to women, bringing to 61 the number of fields barred to them.--Tom Mirga

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