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Education Department programs apparently will not be the target of spending-cut proposals to be offered by the White House over the next several weeks.

A spokesman for Leon E. Panetta, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said last week that, although the National Performance Review recommended that 41 unspecified education programs be eliminated, those cuts would likely not be proposed until the President unveils his fiscal 1995 budget.

The Clinton Administration last week announced a $12 billion rescission bill that was based on recommendations in Vice President Gore's N.P.R. report, but it did not include any cuts in education programs.

"We're safe until '95,'' an aide to Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said.

Administration officials have not revealed which education programs are to be targeted for elimination.

Also last week, a bipartisan Congressional task force called for $103 billion in savings over the next five years, including $170 million in education programs.


The Senate last week approved the proposed "religious freedom restoration act,'' which would make it harder for state and local governments to adopt laws that restrict religious practices.

The bill would alter the legal standard set by a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said state laws may limit religious freedom as long as they serve a valid purpose and do not target one religion.

Religious educators have said that the ruling could lead to greater regulation of religious schools.

The House passed a similar bill in May that must be reconciled with the Senate's version.


Race-based scholarships are vital for eliminating vestiges of discrimination on college campuses and are thus constitutional, the Clinton Administration argued in a Maryland lawsuit that was heard last month.

The brief was filed in a case where the University of Maryland denied a Hispanic student access to a scholarship program created for blacks.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley mailed a memo to college officials in May that was supportive of race-exclusive scholarships, but the Administration has yet to issue a definitive policy.

In its brief, the Administration notes that a plan for Maryland colleges approved by the department's office for civil rights in 1985, in response to a court order, called for scholarships for black students.

Daniel Podberesky challenged the program in 1990. A federal district judge dismissed his case in 1991, but an appeals court remanded the case, saying the court should consider whether present effects of past discrimination exist.


The American College Testing program will provide recommendations for setting achievement levels on the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress, under a $2.1 million contract awarded by the National Assessment Governing Board.

The achievement levels for history and geography will outline what students in grades 4, 8, and 12 should know and be able to do on NAEP tests, and set the scores needed to meet those standards. A.C.T. will also develop performance levels for the new NAEP science examination that will be given in 1995 or 1996.


Some art-supply manufacturers may be in violation of a federal law that regulates the labeling of potentially toxic artists' materials, a consumer and environmental-protection group has charged.

A report released last month by U.S. PIRG lists 18 art products that it says are potentially harmful, especially to young users, but do not bear complete warning labels.

Under the Hazardous Art Materials Act of 1988, manufacturers must put warning labels on materials found to pose a "chronic hazard.''

None of the labels studied detailed all of the health risks posed by the materials, and more than half did not carry the telephone numbers that are required under federal law to allow consumers to get more information.

The study calls for a ban on toxic supplies in elementary schools.

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