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Two fundamentalist Christian schools in Michigan have forged an agreement with the state education department that will bring to an end their eight-year legal fight to withhold information on school staffing and other matters.

The Sheridan Road and Bridgeport Baptist schools agreed to file information required by the state on enrollment, curriculum, and teacher qualifications with a third party--the schools' lawyers or a school association--which will then turn the information over to the department.

The policy would also apply to about 100 other private schools that have not reported to the department. A department spokesman said at least 50 of the schools have indicated they would abide by the policy.

The two schools filed a suit in 1980, charging that the state law requiring the reporting of such information and the certification of teachers violated the schools' religious freedom.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which let stand state-court decisions upholding the regulations.

When the department receives the information on the schools' teachers, it will review it to see whether they are eligible for "emergency'' licenses, which require only a bachelor's degree.

The Michigan Association of Christian Schools, at a meeting last month, decided not to take a position on the agreement, saying the decision on whether to abide by the policy is up to individual schools.

Schools that do not report information and are found to be out of compliance with the certification law will be subject to legal action, the department spokesman said.


The Minnesota State High School League has rejected a proposal that would have barred foreign students from competing in varsity sports events.

The proposal was introduced last fall by parents who felt that foreign-exchange students were displacing local students on high-school teams. The rule also could have applied to students participating on debate teams and in music and drama clubs.

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