The Bush Administration last week apparently withdrew a directive that would have eliminated federal policies that give minority and female employees of federal agencies and contractors preferences in hiring and promotion.
The directive, which Administration sources said was circulated among federal agencies last week, would have terminated the 13-year-old Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, a document that guides employers on compliance with federal anti-discrimination law.
The directive also advised government agencies to review their employment rules and eliminate practices that involve quotas or set-asides.
The change would have affected not only the federal government's employment practices, but also those of other employers, particularly government contractors, such as education research laboratories.
Mr. Bush reportedly planned to issue the directive last week in conjunction with his signing of a civil rights bill designed to expand job discrimination protection for women and minorities. The President recently ended a long partisan dispute when he agreed to support a compromise bill he had previously rejected.
News reports on the directive appeared Nov. 21, and White House spokesmen said that afternoon that it would be withdrawn for revisions.
The Education Department has proposed putting a priority on funding research projects that help disabled parents prepare their children for school.
The need for such research, the department said in a Nov. 18 announcement in the Federal Register, has become more important because more disabled adults are having children.
To ensure that those children enter school "ready to learn," the department said, their parents may need extra help in raising them and in communicating with school officials.
Such projects were among a number of priorities the department proposed for grants to be given during the 1992-93 fiscal year by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Projects aimed at providing vocational education for severely disabled individuals and at increasing Braille literacy among the blind were also highlighted.
The deadline for comments on the proposal is Dec. 18.
Federal aid allocated on the basis of population would be only slightly changed if the government adopted adjusted 1990 census data, the General Accounting Office has concluded.
In studying three programs, none of which are education-related, the G.A.O. found that "less than half of a percent of total funding would be redistributed by using the revised population counts."
The G.A.O. noted, however, that by using the adjusted data, some states would notice changes of more than $1 million in their allocations, and that the significance of those changes would be magnified over a decade. Communities would also see their shares change.
Many federal education programs rely on formulas that use census data.
Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher last July announced that the government would not adjust the 1990 census count, although a follow-up survey found about 5.3 million people who were not counted, primarily minorities and the poor in urban areas. (See Education Week, July 31, 1991.)
A federal district judge last week dismissed a lawsuit in which seven white college students and the Washington Legal Foundation sought to force the Education Department to bar public colleges and universities from distributing scholarships based on race.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin noted that the department is reviewing its policy regarding the legality of race-exclusive scholarships and said the court should not short-circuit that process.
"Both precedent and judicial prudence dictate that courts should defer to the executive branch's good-faith attempts to balance the competing factors and make the initial legal policy and enforcement decisions,'' Judge Sporkin wrote.
Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander is expected to announce the department's position on race-exclusive scholarships this week.
Richard Samp, the W.L.F.'s legal counsel, said an appeal is likely.
The retired professional basketball star Earvin (Magic) Johnson has agreed to join the National Commission on AIDS.
President Bush asked the former member of the Los Angeles Lakers to join the 15-member advisory panel after Mr. Johnson announced earlier this month that he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS
He will replace Belinda Mason, who died from the disease this year.
Mr. Johnson, who announced on Nov. 7 that he was retiring from the sport because of his test result, has pledged to serve as a spokesman against the disease. He has said he will encourage young people to practice safe sex.
He has also established the Magic Johnson Foundation, which will distribute funds to groups fighting the disease.
Vol. 11, Issue 13, Page 22