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7 New York Companies To Provide Emergency Child-Care Services

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The yearlong pilot program, which its sponsors say is the most comprehensive of its kind, will supply licensed caregivers from two home health-care agencies to employees whose child-care arrangements fall through.

Its goal is to cut down on employee absenteeism caused by such events as a child's illness, an unexpected business trip, or the closing of a day-care center as a result of inclement weather.

"When a parent has to respond to a child's cold or a caregiver's cancellation, the emergency becomes the employer's problem if that employee is unable to come to work," said Nancy Kolben, deputy director of Child Care Inc., the nonprofit child-care resource and referral agency that is coordinating the program. The Child Care Action Campaign, a national child-care advocacy group, has estimated that such absences cost businesses $3 billion a year.

The Colgate-Palmolive Company, Consolidated Edison Company, Ernst & Young, Home Box Office, National Westminster Bank U.S.A., the law firm of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, and Time Inc. are participating in the experiment. Five of the companies will pay the care's full cost; two will require employees to cover a small portion of the cost.


Students File Suit Against E.T.S.

After Test Scores Are Invalidated


Twenty-seven students from Crescenta Valley High School in Glendale, Calif., have filed suit in federal court to force the Educational Testing Service to reinstate their scores on Advanced Placement examinations.

The Princeton, N.J.-based testing firm had invalidated the scores of 79 Crescenta Valley students who took ap tests in biology, U.S. history, and English language and composition after 7 students admitted cheating on them when they were administered last May. The firm asked the 79 students to retake the tests, and scheduled new examinations this month.

The original administration of the tests "contained so many incidents of failure to adhere to the guidelines that we could not confirm the validity of any scores," according to Tom Ewing, a spokesman for the ets

But the students, claiming that their right to due process of law was violated, sought a temporary restraining order to block the retests. Although U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson denied their request, the students and their parents plan to press their suit to seek damages and to have their original scores reinstated, according to a district spokesman.


Teachers in Los Angeles will vote later this fall on whether nonunion members must pay a fee to United Teachers of Los Angeles for bargaining services.

The board of education voted 5 to 2 on Sept. 11 to grant the union "agency fee" rights, provided a majority of the city's 33,000 teachers agree. Currently, the union's 23,000 members pay $410 in dues a year.

California law permits unions to charge non-members for collective-bargaining services, but a recent state supreme-court ruling prohibits charging them for political activities or membership drives.

Catherine M. Carey, communications director for the Los Angeles union, said non-members in California districts with "fair share" arrangements generally are charged 85 percent of full union dues.

If a similar fee structure is approved for Los Angeles, the union would take in approximately $3.48 million in extra dues.

"What we want the fee for is to provide the services and the resources to service everybody, and that's what we're doing now on member dues," Ms. Carey explained.

The state Public Employment Relations Board, which will set the amount non-union teachers must pay, will schedule school-site elections sometime before Nov. 1.


Some parents at a Bryn Mawr, Pa., Catholic elementary school are angry about a requirement that they sell $100 raffle tickets to avoid a steep tuition increase.

The St. Thomas-Good Counsel School has asked parents with one child in the school to pay $700 in tuition, plus sell three $100 raffle tickets.

Parents who don't participate will be charged $1,100 in tuition, which pays for the raffle tickets plus a $100 penalty. Families with more than one child in the school have been asked to take more raffle tickets. The raffle, the school's major fund raiser, will be held next March.

The Rev. James E. Martinez, pastor of one of the two parishes that run the school, declined comment on reports that many parents were angry and were considering removing their children from the school.

In a letter to parents, quoted by The Philadelphia Inquirer, church officials said the advantage of the raffle plan is that it means participating parents will "have little, if any, increase in tuition." Tuition for one child last year was $625.

Elevated levels of chromium have been found in the urine of more than one-third of children tested at a Jersey City, N.J., school that was closed in May because of concerns about the toxic metal.

The New Jersey Department of Health found that 35 of the 97 students from Whitney Young Junior High School who were tested in June had chromium levels exceeding 0.3 microgram per liter of urine, the lowest detectable level; 11 of the 68 teachers and other school personnel tested also exceeded that level.

Exposure to chromium at very high levels has been linked with kidney disease and with lung cancer. It also causes skin irritations, ulcers, and the destruction of nose cartilage.

State officials have determined that the school, which is located near six vacant lots that contain high amounts of chromium, had high levels of chromium dust in its air-ventilation system. The school, which was cleaned up this summer, is expected to reopen by the end of September.

Jerry Fagliano, a research scientist in the state's environmental-health division, said scientists do not know that levels of chromium in urine indicate a health threat. He also noted that the test only indicates an individual's exposure to chromium during the days immediately preceding the test, and not long-term exposure.

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