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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling by Idaho's highest court requiring the Boise school district to provide a "one-on-one" aide to a severely mentally handicapped student enrolled in a private school.

In papers filed with the Justices, the school district contended that the state supreme court erred in holding that the preference for "mainstreaming" implicit in the federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act required it to provide a personal aide to a student who has no hope of earning passing marks or being promoted to the next grade. According to court records, the 3rd-grade student has an I.Q. of 37.

The district also maintained that federal law does not require it to develop and propose an individualized education plan for children within its jurisdiction who do not intend to enroll in public school.

The student's mother filed suit in state district court after hearing officers and review boards upheld the district's refusal to provide the special aide. The district court reversed the administrative rulings, and the state supreme court affirmed the lower court's decision.

The case was Boise Independent School District #1 v. Thornock (Case No. 88-1578).

Also last week, the Court declined to bar a Florida teenager from having an abortion.

The Justices turned down a request for an injunction after the state supreme court ruled the girl could undergo the procedure while it considers the constitutionality of a new state law that requires minors to receive permission from their parents or a state judge before having abortions.

The High Court has been asked to review the constitutionality of similar laws in Minnesota and Ohio.


A coalition of education groups vowed last week to oppose legislation in the Congress that would allow copyright holders to sue school districts and state universities for damages.

Testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks, August W. Steinhilber of the Educators' Ad Hoc Committee on Copyright Law said the measure was unnecessary because "there has been no evidence of substantial harm."

The bills pending in the Congress would remove from such institutions the 11th Amendment immunity from damages they enjoy as entities of state government.

Mr. Steinhilber said the committee includes such major education groups as the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the Na4tional School Boards Association, for which he serves as general counsel.

Education groups already emphasize to schools and universities that they must obey the copyright law, Mr. Steinhilber said. Copyright holders can seek injunctive relief to prevent abuses, but should not be able to collect money damages from taxpayers, he argued.

But representatives of the book and software industries said the law was needed to prevent a legal atmosphere that encourages copyright abuses.

"My industry cannot be expected to flourish if every public school district, every state university, every public library, and every state agency is told that is is acceptable to ignore copyrights," said David Eskra, representing the Software Publishers Association.


The Congress last week completed action on a 1990 budget plan calling for $41.5 billion for the spending category that includes education.

The $1.17-trillion measure cleared both the House and the Senate by substantial margins, despite criticism from many members that it failed to take adequate steps to reduce the federal budget deficit.

The fiscal plan, which does not re8quire the President's signature, is based on an overall budget agreement worked out by White House officials and leaders of the Congress.

The budget measure allotted $30.2 billion in discretionary spending for education and related programs--a $3.7-billion increase from 1989 and $2.6 billion above the amount needed to maintain this year's level of services.


President Bush should appoint a Cabinet-level task force to develop a national policy on science, mathematics, and technology education, according to a coalition of educators, business leaders, and scientists.

In a policy paper released this month, the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education also recommends providing an additional $304 million for programs in this area run by the Education Department and the National Science Foundation.

The group proposes that the nsf use the funds for teacher training and to stimulate the development of new curricula, particularly tailored for rural and urban schools. Ed, it suggests, should support model elementary-school programs in each state and provide $50 million for equipment for elementary classrooms.

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