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Federal File: Entry denied; Lunch dropouts; Muted impact; Nominee

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The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected the appeal of a Bethlehem, Pa., boy who had unsuccessfully sued to play on his high school's girls' field-hockey team.

The High Court declined, without comment, on Jan. 10 to review the case of Williams v. School District of Bethlehem, Pa. (Case No. 93-686). John Williams, currently a senior at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, wanted to play on the girls' field-hockey team because the school had no boys' team.

Since Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 allows for separate boys' and girls' athletic teams, Mr. Williams based his suit on the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the boy last year.

Also last week, the Court declined to revive a lawsuit by a black 5th-grade teacher in Albuquerque, N.M., who claimed her firing was racially motivated. The case was Mitchell v. Albuquerque Board of Education (No. 93-752).

The Court also refused to consider a challenge to an Ohio law that requires teenage girls to notify a parent or to get a judge's permission to have an abortion. The High Court upheld the law in 1990. The current case is Cleveland Surgi-Center v. Jones (No. 93-787).

Entry Denied: Chief Justice of the United States William H. Rehnquist last week temporarily blocked a female student from attending classes at the all-male Citadel in Charleston, S.C.

The Citadel has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court lower federal court rulings ordering the public military institution to enroll 18-year-old Shannon Faulkner as its first woman student.

The Chief Justice granted the Citadel's request for a stay on Jan. 12 as Ms. Faulkner registered for classes.

Lunch Dropouts: A majority of the 302 schools that left the National School Lunch Program between July 1989 and February 1993 continued to provide similar lunch options for students after leaving the program, a new General Accounting Office report has found.

Most schools still provided free and reduced-price lunches for low-income students, followed meal-pattern guidelines similar to federal standards, served modified meals for children with special needs, and refrained from publicly identifying students who were receiving reduced-price or free meals.

The leading reasons school officials gave for leaving the federal program were that their lunch programs were losing money, their labor costs were high, and their students wanted to be able to buy foods not allowed under federal rules, such as soda and candy.

Muted Impact: A federal demonstration program designed to aid poor, young dropouts from school substantially improved their education but had little impact on their employment, a report released last month concludes.

JOBSTART, which operated in 13 communities between 1985 and 1988, tested the effectiveness of using the Job Training Partnership Act to provide relatively intensive basic-skills education, job training, placement assistance, and support services to low-skilled dropouts.

The four-year evaluation found that JOBSTART youths participated more heavily in education and training programs than did a randomly selected control group. Forty-two percent of the JOBSTART youths attained a general-equivalency diploma within the follow-up period, compared with 29 percent of those in the control group. In general, however, the study found no real payoff in earnings for JOBSTART participants.

Copies of the report, "JOBSTART: Final Report on a Program for School Dropouts,'' are available from the Publications Department, M.D.R.C., 3 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 532-3200.

Nomination: President Clinton has nominated Rodney A. McCowan as the Education Department's assistant secretary for the office of human resources and administration.

Mr. McCowan will be responsible for managing the department's personnel functions, information systems, labor relations, and the agency's contribution to the Clinton Administration's "reinventing government'' campaign. He currently is Deputy Secretary Madeleine M. Kunin's chief of staff.

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