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The Reagan Administration last week moved a step closer to taking action on the school-discipline issue when Gary L. Bauer, deputy undersecretary of education, presented a 35-page report on the subject to President Reagan and his Cabinet Council on Human Resources. (See Education Week, Dec. 21, 1983.)

The report is the work of an inter-agency "working group" on school discipline, established by Presidential Counselor Edwin Meese 3d several months ago and chaired by Mr. Bauer. It documents what its authors suggest is the seriousness of the discipline problem in the schools and outlines possible ways for the Administration to deal with it.

In the report, the working group calls on the Justice Department to establish a school-safety program similar to one the Administration discontinued when it came into office in 1981.

In June 1979, the department created the National School Resource Network, a project intended to help schools reduce violence and vandalism. It was created in response to the National Institute of Education's "Violent Schools, Safe Schools" study of 1977. The proposed center is seen as performing similar "clearinghouse" functions.

Asked why the Administration discontinued the network, Mr. Bauer said it "was found not to accomplish very much." That characterization, however, contrasts sharply with those offered by school officials and discipline consultants, who praised the quality of the network's materials and technical assistance.

Mr. Bauer said that President Reagan last week received the working group's report "very enthusiastically" and added, "I think we will be hearing from the President on the issue."

Tax Credits II

The public can also expect to hear more from the President on the topic of tuition tax credits, say private-school officials who met with him at the White House last month.

During the Dec. 7 meeting, Mr. Reagan exhorted the officials not to be disheartened by the Senate's defeat of tax-credit legislation in late November. He also promised "to continue to push for such legislation," said one private-school official whose organization was represented at the meeting.

PUSHing Back?

The Education Department plans to take final action in March on audits challenging the way the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson's Operation push-excel spent more than $1.7 million in federal grants and contracts over a four-year period.

According to department spokesmen, the Democratic Presidential candidate's organization has promised to provide the government with data this month justifying the expenditures. Last August, department auditors determined that Mr. Jackson's group spent $736,972 in violation of federal regulations. The audits also indicated that the group could not provide adequate documentation to prove that an additional $1.1 million was spent properly.

--tm & tt

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