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Advocates last week urged that the Clinton Administration's proposed "school-to-work opportunities act'' be amended to insure that girls, as well as students with special needs, can participate in high-skill training programs.

In testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Productivity, Donna Milgram of Wider Opportunities for Women contended that girls have been poorly served by most of the high-tech, high-skill programs that are touted by the Administration.

A survey done by WOW this summer of school-to-work sites being overseen by the Labor Department found that participating girls were clustered in nursing and clerical work. There were no young women at all in the three sites offering metalworking and machining, and only one or two girls at three other sites offering training in repair technology, carpentry, and telecommunications.

Also at the hearing, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers recommended that priority for job placements be given to employers who are moving toward creating high-skill workplaces. Where such placements are in short supply, the witness urged, schools should receive aid to develop high-skill, school-based enterprises.

Although public schools receiving federal impact aid generated by the presence of Indian students are required to consult with tribes over how to use the money, many tribes are dissatisfied with the consultations, a new survey indicates.

According to a report by George Washington University's National Indian Policy Center, 27 of 59 tribes surveyed said schools do not do enough to understand the needs of Indian students.

Two-thirds of the tribal leaders polled said they did not have enough input into school district planning, according to the report, "Tribal Perspectives of the Impact-Aid Program.''

However, 56 of the 59 leaders said that some cooperative relationship exists between the districts and their tribes, suggesting "an environment that in most cases only needs to be nurtured to become a very positive partnership for the education of Indian children,'' the report says.

Copies of the report are available from the National Indian Policy Center, George Washington University, 2136 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20052; (202) 676-4401.

Neal F. Lane, a physicist and former provost at Rice University, was scheduled to be sworn in last week as the director of the National Science Foundation.

President Clinton's nomination of Mr. Lane, 55, as the agency's 10th director was confirmed by the Senate this month.

Mr. Lane succeeds Walter E. Massey, who left the N.S.F. to take a job with the University of California system.

It was not immediately evident whether Mr. Lane--who taught physics at Rice for 20 years and served as the director of the N.S.F.'s physics division in 1979 and 1980--will share Mr. Massey's active involvement in precollegiate education reform.

The N.S.F. provides the largest share of the funding distributed by the federal government in support of precollegiate mathematics and science education.

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