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Iowa Legislature Clears Home-School Compromise

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Breaking a decades-old stalemate between Christian fundamentalists and public-school advocates, the Iowa legislature has approved a bill allowing parents to educate their children at home.

The compromise legislation would enable parents to teach their children at home as long as the children pass annual progress tests or submit valid examples of their home-school work to public officials.

A similar bill was narrowly defeated last year by fundamentalist forces, which argued that the state monitoring provisions infringed on religious freedoms. Many home-schoolers still oppose this year's legislation, in part because it allows the state to compel a student making inadequate academic progress to enroll in a state-approved school. (See Education Week, April 18, 1990.)

Michigan schools would no longer be required to tell students how they can have an abortion without the knowledge or consent of their parents, under a bill adopted by the Senate.

Under a law that went into effect in March, teenagers must obtain the consent of at least one parent before they are allowed to receive a legal abortion. If a minor can convince a judge that she is mature enough to make this decision on her own, how8ever, the requirement can be waived.

A controversial section of the law requires schools to give all female students in grades 6-12 a notice at the beginning of each school year that explains the court option and gives the address and telephone number of the local probate judge. (See Education Week, March 20, 1991.)

A bill to drop the school-notification requirement from the law passed the Senate this month.

Oregon districts that offer only lower grades would be required to merge with their counterparts providing upper grades, under legislation approved by the Senate.

If enacted, the bill would cut the number of districts in the state to 201, from the current total of 300.

Gov. J. Fife Symington of Arizona has repudiated a call by the chairman of the state Republican Party for the resignation of Superintendent of Public Instruction C. Diane Bishop.

Jerry Davis, the gop official, this month publicly urged Ms. Bishop to resign because, he said, her highly publicized personal problems made her an unsuitable "role model for Arizona youth."

The controversial schools chief, a Democrat, filed for divorce last month after an allegedly violent domestic dispute with her husband.

In a public statement, the Republican Governor this month disassociated himself from Mr. Davis's demand and, while acknowledging Ms. Bishop's personal problems, defended her performance.

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