Federal News Roundup
On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling in Grove City College v. Bell, which limited the scope of federal laws barring sex discrimination in education, a group of civil-rights organizations gathered to lobby for legislation that would nullify that decision.
The groups--including the National Organization for Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund--last week urged passage of the bipartisan "civil rights restoration act of 1985."(See Education Week, Feb 16, 1985.)
Leslie R. Wolfe, chairman of the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, said that since the Court's ruling, at least 63 sex-discrimination cases filed with the Education Department have been closed, limited, or suspended. The majority of the cases, she said, were filed under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1982, but some were brought under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Now the potential for federally funded discrimination is virtually limitless," Ms. Wolfe said.
Before the Court's ruling, institutions that received federal aid had to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws. However, in Grove City, the court ruled that only a specific program that receives federal aid, rather than the entire institution, must comply with such laws.
Members of the House and Senate have sponsored a joint resolution to designate May 12-18 "National Science Week."
Scientific organizations, private industries, museums, and the media are planning an array of activities for the week to increase the public's awareness of the role of science and technology in American life. The New York Academy of Sciences, for example, plans to have 2,000 of its scientists nationwide lecture in schools and communities that week.
The Association of Science and Technology Centers is encouraging its 1,600 member museums to hold special exhibits, live science demonstrations, and other special events for students.
Corporate sponsorship for the week is being provided by the Du Pont Company, Eastman-Kodak, General Electric, and the International Business Machines Corporation.
More than 150 students, teachers, members of Congress, and representatives of the National Science Foundation gathered in Washington, D.C., Feb. 21 to celebrate the introduction of the joint resolution in the Congress. Senator Jake Garn, Republican of Utah, gave a videotaped message to the students.
A student with the Young Astronaut Program presented Senator Garn with a paper airplane to take with him on his upcoming flight on the space shuttle. Senator Garn will test the flight of the plane in the weightless environment of the shuttle as part of a "Toys in Space" experiment to be conducted by the astronauts to teach children how simple mechanical systems work without the tug of gravity.
Several members of Congress have expressed displeasure over the National Science Foundation's plan to put off spending $31.5 million for science education until fiscal 1986.
During hearings on the nsf budget held late last month by the House Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology, which is responsible for overseeing the agency's activities, committee members said they were unhappy with the agency's plan to delay spending the $31.5 million for the second year in a row, according to Grace Ostenso, a staff member for the committee.
Last year, the Congress allowed the agency to put off spending the funds because it was in the process of re-establishing its science-education program. But the Congress directed the agency not to carry over the money again.
Erich Bloch, director of the nsf, said at the hearings that despite the agency's "initial optimism" and "best efforts," the nsf would not be able to spend all the money this year.
At least one member of the committee, Representative Timothy E. Wirth, Democrat of Colorado, said he thought Mr. Bloch's statement was "outrageous," given the need to increase training for precollegiate science teachers.