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Civil-Rights Panel To Study Issue of Racism in Schools

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WASHINGTON--The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that it will embark on a three-year probe of racism in the nation, with a special emphasis on schools and colleges.

Arthur Fletcher, the commission's chairman, said he will bring together civic leaders, government officials, and educators to speak about racism in their communities. He noted that the commission will focus on school spending, standardized testing, and discrimination in schools.

Several states, most notably Texas, Kentucky, and New Jersey, have been ordered by the courts in recent years to revamp their school-finance systems to make them more equitable for poor school districts, which often have large minority enrollments.

Meanwhile, standardized tests that gauge a student's ability and assist college officials in determining a student's college potential have been subject to criticism that they are racially and culturally biased.

A spokesman for Mr. Fletcher said schools and colleges will be one of the key issues studied, because "while schools may be desegregated, there are still reports of racism in the schools."

Hearings Scheduled

Public hearings will be held in several states, including California, Illinois, Colorado, New York, Mississippi, and in the Pacific Northwest. The first hearing will be held in Washington on Jan. 29-31.

A report will be issued after each hearing, and a final report will be issued at the end of the three-year investigation.

In a statement, the commission's members said, "We are deeply concerned about the increasing incidence of racial and ethnic tensions in our country and the lack of focused attention being paid to this issue."

"During the hearings we expect to examine the extent, causes, and possible solutions to racial and ethnic tension and violence ," the statement said.
--M.P.

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