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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 last week that federal regulations prohibiting federally funded family-planning clinics from providing abortion referrals and counseling do not violate the Constitution.

The case, Rust v. Sullivan (Case No. 89-1392), challenged rules promulgated in 1988 that barred clinics that receive Title X aid from giving out abortion information to clients, many of whom are adolescents.

Lower courts had issued conflicting rulings on the constitutionality of the ban. (See Education Week, Nov. 7, 1990.)

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist held that the "regulations are a permissible construction of Title X" and do not violate the free-speech clause of the First Amendment or the due-process clause of the Fifth Amend4ment.

He noted that clinics that object to the prohibition are free to reject funding.

The Senate last week approved by voice vote the nomination of David T. Kearns to be deputy secretary of education.

Mr. Kearns, who is resigning from the chairmanship of the Xerox Corporation to take the federal post, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department.

During his confirmation hearings, he said he would bring to the department the management skills he used to make Xerox one of the country's most successful businesses.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee will have $59.3 billion to divide among the programs under its jurisdiction, under a spending accord reached by members of the full Appropriations Committee.

That amount is $1.2 billion less than the panel would have received if the committee had followed the recommendations of the House as outlined in its budget resolution.

House appropriators are expected to begin allocating funds to specific programs in a matter of weeks.

Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to set spending levels for each of its subcommittees next week. The committee had been waiting for the House and Senate to pass the conference agreement on the budget resolution.

The House last week passed the resolution, H Con Res 121, by a vote of 239 to 181. The Senate passed it by a vote of 57 to 41.

The 1990 Digest of Education Statistics is now available.

The Education Department's compendium of statistics is published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics. It contains information on all levels of education through the 1989-90 academic year.

Copies are available for $24 each by writing to the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Governmentel15lPrinting Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, or by calling (202) 783-3238. The document number is 065-000-00-442-9.

Federal lawmakers were urged last week to expand a little-known program that funds crisis-care nurseries and respite-care programs for the families of handicapped children.

The Children With Disabilities Temporary Care Reauthorization Act of 1989 now provides $11.1 million to 45 states and territories for programs that give families a break from the stress of caring for disabled children.

A major aim of the act is to help families keep their children at home, rather than place them in costly institutions.

At a May 22 hearing before the House Subcommittee on Select Education, witnesses said the program should be authorized permanently and redesigned to help states set up their own comprehensive support systems for the families of disabled children.

"The jury is in," said Allen I. Bergman, a lobbyist for United Cerebral Palsy Associations Inc. "The supports provided are neither a luxury nor a frill."

A bill to extend the program is expected to be filed this summer.

The armed forces should scale back their Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, the General Accounting Office recommends in a new report.

Since 1987, the Army and Air Force rotc programs have produced 9,000 more graduates than those services have needed at a cost of at least $36 million, according to the report. Many of the graduates did not receive commissions.

The Navy did not have an oversupply of potential junior officers because it reduced enrollment in its Officer Candidate School.

More than 92,000 college students participate in r.o.t.c. Some receive a full scholarship and a monthly stipend in exchange for military service. Non-scholarship students receive a monthly stipend only.

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