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The percentage of school districts that plan to spend more on computer hardware and software in the coming school year is the highest in five years, according to an independent market analysis.

District buying patterns also indicate that, in many cases, teachers themselves are deciding which technology purchases to make.

Preliminary information released last month by Quality Education Data, a Denver-based subsidiary of Peterson's Guides Inc. that tracks school-technology buying, indicates that 54 percent of the 2,000 public school districts surveyed plan to buy more hardware in the coming year.

In addition, 62 percent of the respondents plan to make software purchases in the coming year, a 12 percentage point increase over last year and the largest such increase in the survey's seven-year history.

The survey also seems to indicate that school-based-management practices may be influencing some purchasing patterns.

While district-level technology coordinators have the final say on purchases in 57 percent of the districts, teachers make such decisions in 23 percent of districts surveyed.

Scholarship Bias Found: Male students received 75 percent of the scholarships awarded this fall under a new federal program to encourage students to study mathematics, science, and engineering, according to a new study by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

The analysis shows that males were awarded 352 scholarships worth more than $4,000 each through the National Academy for Science, Space, and Technology program. Females won 84 of the scholarships; the gender of 35 winners could not be determined.

Cinthia Schuman, the director of the center, said males are getting a disproportionate share of the scholarships because the awards are made solely on the basis of a test that she described as biased. Winners are selected according to scores on the mathematics portion of the American College Testing assessment.

Harassment Guidelines: Every district should have a policy against sexual harassment, the National Association of State Boards of Education says in a new report.

Policies should include complaint procedures, the report suggests, as well as steps that schools can take to insure that students, staff, and parents understand the policy.

The recommendations are part of a 28-page policy guide, "Sexual Harassment in Schools: What it Is, What to Do'' released at NASBE's annual conference last month.

The guide, which offers a case study of a Minnesota district recently found in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, also advises state boards and departments of education on steps they can take to prevent sexual harassment.

Copies of the guide are available for $7.50 each from NASBE, 1012 Cameron St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; (800) 220-5183.

'Kids and Guns': Each day, more than 100,000 students take a gun to school and 13 children are shot to death, says a report by the Educational Fund to End Handgun Violence.

The study, titled "Kids and Guns,'' shows that the number of teenagers killed by firearms doubled between 1985 and 1990. The cost of treating victims has increased, and hospitals need to play a leading role in combating the problem, the report says.

Copies of the report are available free from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, 100 Maryland Ave, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002; (202) 544-7190.

Graduate Recruits: The percentage of new military recruits who have graduated from high school declined slightly in fiscal 1993, after reaching an all-time high in 1992, a U.S. Defense Department report indicates.

Ninety-five percent of new recruits in 1993 have earned a high school diploma, compared with 99 percent in the previous year. The drop was greatest in the Army, which went from a 100 percent graduation rate in 1992 to 95 percent this year.

In the Navy, 94 percent of 1993 recruits have graduated, while 99 percent of those joining the Air Force have earned diplomas.

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