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Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York has once again taken up the theme of values education in the public schools, saying in a speech this month that schools have a responsibility to "at the very least ... work to make young people aware that some standards of virtue and decency do exist.''

Speaking at a forum on education at the State University of New York in Old Westbury, Mr. Cuomo said that while the burden of instilling values lies primarily with families and churches, schools should do more. They must counter a "message of silence,'' he said, and teach students that "in every society,there is a code of behavior, an understanding of what is right and wrong.''

The Governor first addressed the issue last August, when he said he was developing proposals to reinstate the teaching of values in the public schools. Such proposals have not been elaborated, beyond Mr. Cuomo's pledge to use his office to increase public pressure for values education.


Ending a divisive internal struggle, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund late last month decided against naming former Gov. Toney Anaya of New Mexico as its president. By an 18-to-14 vote, the MALDEF board of directors withdrew a previous offer to Mr. Anaya, and then voted overwelmingly to retain Antonia Hernandez as president and general counsel. An attempt to force Ms. Hernandez out had prompted a threat to resign by many of the civil-rights group's lawyers.


Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt of Arizona put forth two proposals for increasing the federal commitment to education and youths last week, in a speech announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Mr. Babbitt, who left office in January, having gained a national reputation for his stands on education issues, called for federal subsidies to help working parents pay for day care. He also suggested that the federal government take up the full burden of paying for Medicaid, provided states apply the resulting savings to educational improvements.

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