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"Perhaps the greatest single challenge facing us at the Endowment is to make a difference in developing, over time, a citizenry that has a degree of understanding, appreciation, and literacy in the arts," Frank Hodsoll, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, recently told experts in arts education.

Mr. Hodsoll spoke at the first in a series of five regional meetings sponsored by the endowment and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to identify and disseminate techniques and strategies for improving arts education nationwide.

Both the endowment and the National Assembly, Mr. Hodsoll asserted, consider the development of strong arts curricula in elementary and secondary schools to be a high priority as the country strives to improve its educational system.

John Gavin, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, has said he believes bilingual education is detrimental to Hispanics because it causes them to become and remain "second-class citizens," according to wire reports.

In a speech earlier this summer to the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Gavin, a former actor who is fluent in Spanish, said, "I am deeply opposed to the bilingual or polylingual kinds of situations that we have had in certain states, including our own."

"I believe that it will inevitably tend to create second-class citizens," he added, "and I think that's a great danger."

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has named Julius Chambers as its new director-counsel, the organization's top staff position. Mr. Chambers, a prominent civil-rights lawyer, is perhaps best known for arguing the landmark 1971 case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenberg Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld court-ordered busing as an appropriate means of desegregation.

Mr. Chambers had been president of the fund since 1974.

In a highly unusual move, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens earlier this month publicly criticized some of his colleagues on the bench for engaging in unwarranted judicial activism in three major cases this past year.

Justice Stevens, in a speech during the American Bar Association's annual convention in Chicago this month, rebuked "my present colleagues' enthusiastic attempts to codify the law instead of merely performing the judicial task of deciding the cases that come before them," according to The New York Times.

Although he did not name them, the Justice appeared to direct his attack against Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justices William H. Rhenquist, Byron R. White, and Sandra Day O'Connor, all of whom joined in part or whole in the opinions he cited.

Among the opinions cited by Justice Stevens was the one handed down in February in Grove City College v. Bell, in which the Court held that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 applies only to those programs or activities within an educational institution that receive federal aid directly. Justice Stevens claimed the case could have been settled on narrower grounds.

Edward A. Knapp, director of the National Science Foundation since late 1982, announced his resignation in early June. Mr. Knapp cited his desire to resume research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as his reason for leaving.

President Reagan has nominated Erich Bloch, vice president for technical personnel development at the International Business Machines Corporation, to replace him.

The House early this month passed a fiscal 1985 spending bill for the Education Department that would provide the agency with $2.5 billion more than it received in the current fiscal year and $2.3 billion more than the Reagan Administration requested.

Total spending for the department under the measure, HR 6028, would be set at approximately $17.2 billion. Chapter 1 aid to disadvantaged students would be set at $3.7 billion under the measure, $200 million more than the amount appropriated for fiscal 1984. The Chapter 2 education block-grants program would be funded at $679 million, $50 million less that the Administration requested, and aid to the handicapped funded at $1.3 billion, $84 million above the amount asked for by the Administration.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill on June 26 that would provide slightly more for the department in the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1 than the House measure. The full chamber is expected to take up the bill shortly after returning from its August recess.

The Education Department has announced the missions of 11 new educational research centers and the geographical boundaries of 10 new regional research laboratories. Together, they will conduct the bulk of federal research in education over the next five years.

The announcement was a preliminary step in the department's effort to hold an open competition among organizations for the right to sponsor a laboratory or center. The Congress mandated in 1981 that such a competition be held. The winners of the competition will receive collectively some $150 million in federal funds over the next five years.

The areas of study chosen for the centers by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell include: learning; teacher education; testing, evaluation, and standards; education and employment; postsecondary-education management and governance; effective elementary schools; effective secondary schools; postsecondary teaching and learning; writing; teacher quality and effectiveness; and state and local policy development and leadership in education.

Each center will focus on one topic; the last six topics are new. According to officials at the National Institute of Education, which oversees the laboratories and centers, each area of research of the current centers will be incorporated to some degree into the work of the new centers.

New England and the Southeastern states will have a research laboratory for the first time under the new configuration of regional laboratories. California is placed in a region with three other Western states; currently there are two ed research laboratories in the state.

The winners of the competitions for the labs and centers are expected to be named by June and September of 1985, respectively.

Manuel Justiz, director of the National Institute of Education, was justified in giving a $7.6 million research grant to Harvard University over recommendations from a review board that the funding go to Bank Street College of Education, the General Accounting Office ruled in June.

Bank Street plans to appeal the ruling.

Despite the recommendations of the program review board and the Bank Street proposal's lower cost, Mr. Justiz awarded the money to Harvard to create a school technology center. The center, one of 17 education laboratories and centers funded by nie, is to perform research in education technology to increase achievement of students in elementary and secondary schools.

In judging the six proposals received, five of the 10 members of the review board ranked Bank Street first, four ranked Harvard first, and one recommended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bank Street's estimated cost was $4,478,855, while Harvard's was $7,681,534.

Mr. Justiz asserted that Harvard's program was more comprehensive, integrated its research with the local schools better, and had a superior relationship with its consortium institutions, the comptroller general's report said.

Bank Street College challenged the June 1983 decision, stating that Mr. Justiz had overstepped his authority by choosing Harvard over the recommendations of the review board. It also said Harvard and mit were favored by being given information on how much their bids were over cost estimates, while the college received no specific financial guidance.

The General Accounting Office, however, ruled that "the director's actions were proper and that his selection decision was consistent with the solicitation's requirements and is reasonably supported by the record."

"The next logical thing to do is appeal the decision," said Robert Granger, a Bank Street vice president and dean. While the choice of Harvard over Bank Street cannot be questioned, the gao report on the merits of the decision can, Mr. Granger said.

Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell last month called together a group of 35 textbook publishers, members of state and local boards of education, chief state school officers, teacher representatives, and others to set an agenda for improving instructional materials.

"It was our perception ... that there had been very little direct communication among these respective constituencies over a period of time," noted Milton Goldberg, executive director of the National Commission on Excellence in Education. "There was general agreement that there is much room for improvement."

The purpose of the meeting, held July 16-17 in Washington, D.C., he explained, was to decide what groups involved in the production, selection, and use of textbooks should be responsible for changing facets of the process.

This month, a transcript of the meeting's proceedings will be mailed to the participants, who will be asked to list the major issues in textbook reform and whose responsibilities they are. The responses, Mr. Goldberg said, will be assembled by the excellence commission and presented to the participants when they gather in Washington for a second meeting on Aug. 27-28.

"We will help these groups identify strategies that they will undertake," said Ramsey Selden, a senior researcher with the commission. "But, ultimately, it is their task" to do the work, he said, explaining that the department would act only as mediator at the conference.

In a related matter, Secretary Bell announced a $44,000 grant to the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the Association of American Publishers, who are working together to assist states in adapting their existing textbook-selection criteria to a series of model guidelines.

Federal workers who failed to pay back their student loans are now facing the prospect of having up to 15 percent of their government paychecks withheld, the Education Department and the Office of Management and Budget announced last June.

To collect the estimated $65 million in federal student loans defaulted on by government workers, the government began making deductions last July from the paychecks of about 27,000 individuals with outstanding loans until the debt--plus interest, penalties, and administrative costs--is repaid. These employees borrowed under either the National Direct Student Loan program or the Federally Insured Student Loan program.

Collection for another 10,583 government defaulters from the Guaranteed Student Loan program, which uses state agencies as the primary insurer and is not as accessible to the federal government, has been more difficult, officials say; they add that the Department has begun gathering the information on these loans from the states.

Duncan Helmrich, a department spokesman, said that it could take two years before the loans are paid off. Out of 46,860 federal employees identified last year as having outstanding loans, approximately 20 percent have paid in full or began repaying voluntarily after being warned of the deductions.

"We regret the necessity of doing it, but we can certainly understand why it is being done," said Mike Oliver, executive vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees at the Education Department.

"It's a legal obligation," Mr. Oliver said. "If [defaulters] do not repay their loans, there will be less to lend."

Citing the likelihood that student athletes may become involved in drug or alcohol abuse, the U.S. Justice Department in June announced a drug-abuse-prevention program that it hopes will reach more than 5 million such athletes.

The program stresses the influential role school coaches can have in educating their students about alcohol and drug abuse. Coaches "have loyalty, commitment, and dedication in athletics which may not be present in other areas of the school," a promotional booklet said.

Through training clinics and literature, the department's Drug Enforcement Administration plans to target 48,000 coaches and 5.5 million student athletes in 20,000 high schools.

The program is expected to run for at least three years at an estimated cost of $5 million, said Ronald Trethric, preventive programs coordinator at the dea

"Our goal is to reach every coach and student athlete in the country," Francis M. Mullen Jr., the dea administrator, said.

Federal officials stress that educating athletes is especially significant since the pressure to succeed and the influence of peers can make drugs and alcohol look more tempting for such students than for others. Printed literature for coaches stresses that they should not ignore evidence of substance abuse, but should instead "open a dialog" with their athletes.

"The bottom line is that the coaches will train their athletes to serve as role models in the area of drug-abuse prevention," said Carey McDonald, a spokesman for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, which cosponsors the program.

Other organizations sponsoring the program are the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Football Leage Players Association and the National Football League.

President Reagan signed legislation on July 17 mandating that all 50 states raise their minimum drinking age to 21 by 1987 or risk losing some federal highway funds. The law, P.L. 98-363, includes other incentives for states to combat drunk driving by teen-agers, a cause that has become a high-profile election-year issue. Currently, 22 states have a minimum drinking age of 21, with Arizona set to become the 23rd on Jan. 1.

States that do not raise their drinking age to 21 would lose 5 percent of their federal highway funds in the 1987 fiscal year and 10 percent in fiscal 1988 (not including highway-safety funds)--a total of more than $750 million for the 27 states now threatened, according to Senator Frank J. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey and the measure's main Senate sponsor. These funds would be restored if a state subsequently raised its drinking age. On June 26, by a vote of 81-16, the Senate passed the Lautenberg amendment to HR 4616, which authorized several highway-safety programs.

Two days later, in the early morning hours, a handful of House members unanimously approved the bill with the Lautenberg amendment. The House had passed HR 4616 April 30, and got the chance to reconsider it after Representative James J. Howard, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, and growing anti-drunk-driving sentiment pushed it to the floor.

Opponents argued that the bill infringes on states' rights and constitutes age discrimination. President Reagan put aside his traditional support of states' rights and his initial opposition to the bill. "In a case like this, where the problem is so clear cut and the benefits so clear cut, then I have no misgivings about a judicious use of federal inducements to encourage the states to get moving, raise the drinking age, and save precious lives," he said.

The law also: provides incentives of up to 5 percent of current highway-safety funds for states that enact stiffer drunk-driving sentencing; requires states to spend at least 8 percent of their highway-safety funds to promote the use of child-safety restraints in cars; authorizes $23.5 million in the fiscal years 1985 and 1986 to help states computerize traffic records; and adds state-sponsored programs to combat driving under the influence of drugs as a criterion for receiving anti-drunk-driving funds.

A Presidential panel has criticized society's expectations of schools as too broad and has urged parents and local governments to modify their view of the role of schools.

"Principals and teachers are not parents, clergymen, policemen, or psychosomatic healers. Schools are not substitutes for government, nor magical healing centers for the latest social woes," concluded an 11-page June 29 report by Intergovernmental Advisory Council to the President, Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, and the Congress.

In its report, "The Intergovernmental Balance in Education," the 20-member panel said the "confusion of purposes ... trivializes the central purpose of schools, renders the teachers' actions ridiculous, and confuses the students."

After five public hearings in San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, Boston, and Cincinnati, the group called for further study of the Chapter 2 block-grants program, the effect on teacher education of changes in assistance formulas, and the Minnesota tuition tax-deduction plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on July 30 tighter regulations in the use of leaded gasoline, citing concern for the health of children.

About 97,000 children require medical treatment because of high lead content in their bloodstream, according to the e.p.a., which claims the new regulations would reduce the number of such children by more than 50,000.

The agency proposed to cut the lead levels in gasoline by more than 90 percent by Jan. 1, 1986, and William Ruckelshaus, the agency's administrator, said his goal is to eliminate leaded gasoline altogether by the mid-1990's.

"Leaded gasoline is responsible for about 80 percent of all lead emissions into the air, and we know that there is a direct relationship between lead in gasoline and the amount of lead in human blood," said Mr. Ruckelshaus.

"The capacity of lead to impair the physical and mental health of our children, particularly those who live in the inner city, has been well documented," Mr. Ruckelshaus said.

He also dismissed warnings by oil and lead company officials that the new regulations would cause sharp increases in the price of gasoline. "The social and economic benefits ... will be substantial and the costs will be minimal."

The pace and success of voluntary partnerships between local schools and business groups across the country "just boggles the mind," Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell told a White House-sponsored symposium on partnerships in education in June. He cited an Education Department survey of school districts indicating that there are 35,000 such partnerships--an "astounding" number, Mr. Bell said.

President Reagan last fall called for an increase in voluntary efforts by businesses and local governments to become partners with each of the nation's private and public schools and community colleges.

"It far exceeds what I thought would be accomplished," Secretary Bell said at the symposium held at Georgetown University. "If we tried to pay for the service that is being rendered, it would take millions of dollars."

Secretary Bell said that businesses can reap benefits from the partnerships. They will reduce the amount of training adult workers require, improve work habits and productivity, and increase the "overall level of intelligence and civility" in American society, he said.

The Ute Indian Tribe this summer lost a legal fight that would have prevented the Bureau of Indian Affairs from closing a Brigham City, Utah, boarding school. (See Education Week, April 11, 1984.)

The tribe's motion seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the June closing of Intermountain Tribal School was denied by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Utah, according to Martin Seneca, general counsel for the tribe.

The bia has requested that the court dismiss the case, Mr. Seneca said.

"Our last-minute efforts to try to hold off the closure were unsuccessful," he said. The school is now officially closed.

In September, the school's 300 Native American students, many of whom were dropouts from other public schools, are expected to attend Phoenix Indian School in Arizona and Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, Calif., two Indian boarding schools that remain open.

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