National News Roundup
The federal government should continue to deny tax-exempt status to private schools that maintain racially discriminatory policies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights maintains in a new report.
In a 22-page monograph, "Discriminatory Religious Schools and Tax-Exempt Status," the commission's staff reviews national policy changes that led the Nixon Administration in 1971 to instruct the Internal Revenue Service to deny the tax exemptions that had been available since 1894.
It also discusses the events that occurred during the 11 years leading up to the Reagan Administration's reversal of that policy last February, when it supported Bob Jones University and the Goldsboro Christian Schools in appeals that are currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The eradication of racial discrimination, particularly in the area of education, is a compelling governmental interest of the highest order," the report says.
"To allow tax-exempt status," it continues, "to racially discriminatory private schools, whether religious or nonsectarian, would be contrary to the furtherance of that constitutional objective."
The monograph was approved unanimously by the commission's six members, according to a spokesman.
The number of top-scoring students on the Scholastic Aptitude Test has declined steeply in the past 10 years, according to the College Board.
Between 1972 and 1982, the number of students scoring 650 or higher on the verbal part of the test declined by 45 percent, from 53,794 to 29,236.
On the mathematics part of the test, the number of high-scoring students dropped by 23 percent, from 93,868 to 71,916.
The number of students taking the test declined by only 3 percent during that period.
Teachers may find fewer new students in their classes at mid-year if a trend reported recently continues.
The percentage of Americans who changed their place of residence between 1980 and 1981 declined slightly from percentages found 10 and 20 years before, the Census Bureau reported this month.
Approximately 17 percent of Americans moved between 1980 and 1981, compared with 19 percent between 1970 and 1971, and 21 percent between 1960 and 1961.
The decline, according to the federal agency, is probably due to a steady drop in the average family size, increases in home ownership and two-income families, and the recent difficulties families have had in purchasing homes.
In another recent report, the bureau found that U.S. counties spent $9.2 billion on education in 1981, an increase of 9.4 percent from 1980.
The proportion of county revenue spent on education declined, however. Approximately 15.4 percent of county budgets were devoted to education in 1981, a decrease from the previous year's level of 16.5 percent.
Saying that the task of improving the quality of education can best be accomplished at the "grassroots level," the National Parent-Teacher Association has asked its 25,000 local chapters to evaluate their public schools during 1983.
"We plan to mobilize parents and other concerned citizens to study their local school--to study its operation, to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and to join with administrators, teachers, and students to improve their school in order to better the lives and futures of the children of our nation," said Mary Ann Leveridge, president of the 5.2-million member organization.
To help parents in carrying out this evaluation, the pta has prepared a "workbook" that includes detailed instructions on how to determine the quality of education provided by the school. The publication also suggests practical moves that parents and others might make to improve the schools.
"Experts tell us that one of the factors most responsible for improving the quality of education in our public schools is strong parental and community involvement," Ms. Leveridge said. The association will evaluate the findings of the local chapters.
Contributions to charitable causes were made by nine out of 10 Americans in 1981, according to a new poll by a coalition of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations.
Approximately one-third of donors gave to educational organizations, says the poll sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector and other groups.
The poll found that donors gave an average total of $475, of which $45 was contributed to educational institutions or causes.
The level of educational attainment, income, and profession of the donor all had an effect on the amount contributed to charity, according to the poll. In addition, those who itemized their tax deductions gave two and one-half times as much to charity as those who took the standard deduction.