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In parting remarks before leaving office, Commissioner of Education Lionel R. (Skip) Meno has told Texas officials that the state's controversial no-pass, no-play law is neither the problem nor the panacea that it is made out to be.

A Houston police official said at a recent legislative hearing that because the law bars a growing number of children from school athletics, gang activity across the state has increased. But just as Mr. Meno criticized that statement, he also added that the law--which bars students who fail a course from participating in extracurricular activities for six weeks--is not a major factor in the rise in student achievement.

High school exit tests and year-round schools deserve credit for higher student scores, Mr. Meno said. And deteriorating neighborhoods and poor school performance are key factors in the increase in juvenile delinquency, he said.

Lawmakers' chief concern should be adequate school funding, said Mr. Meno, who left the New York State education department four years ago to take the Texas job. He was let go after Gov. George W. Bush took office in January.

"We have Cadillac ideas on a moped budget," Mr. Meno said. Lawmakers have confirmed Michael Moses, the former superintendent of the Lubbock school system, as Mr. Meno's successor.

Setting Policy

The Maryland Senate has approved a bill that would give a board controlled by teachers the final say in state-certification policy.

The bill, approved this month by a vote of 27 to 20, would no longer require the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board to get approval from the state school board before it sets licensing requirements for teachers.

Sen. Michael Collins, who sponsored the bill, believes professionals should set their own standards, much like doctors or lawyers, said Larry Kimmel, an assistant to the senator.

The bill is now expected to be debated in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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