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The Alabama board of education has agreed that a newly adopted K-12 science curriculum will not give preferential treatment to the theory of evolution over other explanations of the origin of life.

The board's action this month was designed to appease advocates of creationism, who argued that many science textbooks teach evolution as fact. As well as assuring critics that the science curriculum will teach evolution as a theory, the board also assented to a revision of the curriculum to make it say that no "social theory" will be promoted in science teaching.

Mississippi Desegregation Ruling

A federal judge has rejected part of Mississippi's plan to desegregate its higher-education system, ruling that the state cannot close a historically black university and a predominantly white women's university.

Under a state plan announced three years ago, historically black Mississippi Valley State University would have been closed and merged with Delta State University, a predominantly white institution.

Mississippi University for Women would have been merged with Mississippi State University, another largely white institution.

Judge Neal B. Biggers's remedial decree earlier this month also ordered the state to set up more graduate programs at two historically black institutions--Jackson State University and Alcorn State University--to attract additional white students. He also ordered the state to establish special endowments at both universities, and to use income from them to promote racial diversity.

Spending Realignment Proposed

A panel named by the Maine legislature to study education has recommended that the state raise school spending by 5 percent, equalize per-pupil expenditures between school districts, and revise how local spending levels are set.

And it would be more realistic than under the current system if residents' income were considered in addition to property value in determining how much communities should pay for schools, the five-member committee said.

The committee also recommended streamlining school administrations, strengthening language in the state constitution on education, and creating a permanent education-research center.

The panel produced the 100-page document, "Keeping Promises: Honoring Our Commitment to Educational Equity," after more than 40 meetings that began last September.

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