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The Education Department's office for civil rights announced last week that it would continue to rely on a complaint-resolution procedure whose effectiveness has been questioned by both the Justice Department and a House oversight committee.

The procedure, known as early-complaint resolution, allows ocr to act as a mediator in settling discrimination complaints before it launches a formal investigation.

The method was offered in 238 cases in fiscal 1985 and accepted by the parties in 138 of those; it resolved 101 cases, according to ocr, which published the information in its annual operating plan for fiscal 1986, contained in the Nov. 26 Federal Register.

Critics contend that in many cases the settlement procedure may not address the problems of discrimination.

The civil-rights office said that it would also continue to rely on another controversial method, "random-site selection," to determine which institutions are scheduled for compliance reviews. But it said an analysis of the effectiveness of the method will be completed "in the near future."

In fiscal 1985, the plan states, ocr received 2,199 complaints and closed 2,040;

There were 1,009 open complaints at year's end, Sept. 30. It initiated 273 compliance reviews and closed 301; 119 reviews were pending on Sept. 30.

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