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Secondary-school principals questioned in a recent survey by the National Association of Secondary School Principals cite the lack of money as the "biggest problem" facing their schools.

Of the 230 principals responding to the nassp's first membership poll, 53 percent agreed that their major concern was money, 19 percent said it was truancy, and 16 percent cited discipline.

Nearly all the respondents, 93 percent, said the quality of educa-tion in their schools had improved during the past five years, and 90 percent said the teachers in their schools were "of high quality."

Only 38 percent of the responding principals reported "a growing teacher shortage" in their school districts, while 44 percent said their districts had enough teachers.

Independent-school enrollments have grown by an average of 13 percent per school during the past decade, by 1984 reaching the highest per-school enrollment average on record, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.

During the 1974-75 school year, the group reports, its 774 member schools enrolled 275,352 students. Last year, its 845 member schools reported enrolling 341,110 students. In the same period, the average number of students per school rose from 356 to 404.

John C. Esty Jr., president of the nais, said in a statement accompanying the survey results that outreach efforts by independent schools have contributed to the higher enrollments. "More families now know about and value the high standards, concern for the individual, and access to teachers that characterize independent schools," he said.

The cost of going to college continues to outpace the rate of inflation, with student charges and expenses projected to rise by 7 percent this year, according to a College Board survey.

The 7 percent increase follows a 6 percent rise last year and double-digit increases in several previous years. And for out-of-state students attending four-year public colleges, the survey found, this year's tuition and fees are up an average of 16 percent.

Of the 1,820 schools surveyed, Bennington College in Vermont3commands the highest one-year cost--$17,210--followed closely by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Barnard College in New York, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. All cost $16,500 or more to attend this year.

Scott Miller, a senior research associate with the American Council on Education, attributed the increased costs to colleges' attempts to ''catch up" after enrollment declines and cuts in state subsidies in the 1970's.

Many institutions are improving their physical plant and raising salaries to attract new faculty, he said.

Costs cited in the study include tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation.

Attempts to censor school curricula and counseling programs have grown more numerous, more organized, and more successful over the last two years, according to a report by the civil-liberties advocacy group People for the American Way.

Between 1982-83 and 1984-85, the group says in its third annual censorship report, the number of challenges to public-school courses increased by 66 percent. More than 42 percent of the incidents resulted in the removal or restriction of instructional materials in schools.

The report, "Attacks on the Freedom to Learn 1984-85," cites school censorship cases in 46 states and says such efforts have gained momentum during the two-year period, principally through the efforts of what it calls "right-wing organizations."

"This year, we are seeing a concerted effort to rid the schools of everything but the three R's," said Barbara Parker, education-policy director for the group.

More than 25 percent of the incidents, according to the report, have involved textbooks or course content said to contain elements of "secular humanism" or to violate the federal Hatch Amendment.

The amendment prohibits schools from requiring students to submit without parental consent to "psychiatric or psychological" testing programs paid for with federal funds.

The report, which sells for $3, can be purchased by writing People for the American Way, 1424 16th Street, N.W., Suite 601, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Calling racial, ethnic, and gender differences "very important segments of the fairness-in-testing question," an advisory panel has recommended that the Educational Testing Service expand its role in research efforts aimed at determining how such differences affect test performance.

The ets advisory group, chaired by Robben W. Fleming, past president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the University of Michigan, included 16 leaders from national education groups. According to the panel's analysis, the testing service could make greater use of both qualitative and quantitative methods devised by ets researchers and outside investigators.

In emphasizing the equity issues involved in testing, the report pointed specifically to the "special impact" that racial, ethnic, and gender differences in test performance may have on educational admissions processes and occupational advancement.

Gregory R. Anrig, chairman of the ets, said the testing service would continue to expand its data-collection role in the area of group differences.

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