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V.M.I. Case to High Court

The Clinton Administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the Virginia Military Institute can maintain its all-male tradition by establishing a separate military-style training program for women at an all-female college.

The Justice Department, which sued the state of Virginia five years ago over V.M.I.'s male-only policy, appealed a January decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appeals court approved the state-supported Lexington, Va., military college's proposal to set up a "leadership institute" for women at Mary Baldwin College, a private liberal-arts institution in Staunton, Va.

In its appeal in U.S. v. Virginia (Case No. 94-1941), the Justice Department argues that the separate program for women lacks some of the elements consider~ed integral to V.M.I.'s military-style program, such as adversity train~ing and barracks accommodations.

The Fourth Circuit court's "remedial decision actually compounds the original constitutional violation by invoking harmful gender stereotypes to justify offering vastly different state-supported leadership programs to women and men," the department's brief argues.

Indian Education Director: Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley last week announced the appointment of Ed Simermeyer as the agency's director of Indian education.

Mr. Simermeyer, a member of North Carolina's Coharie tribe, has been a federal employee since 1980, working in the office of bilingual education and minority-language affairs, the office of Indian education, and as an analyst on the Health and Human Services Department's Indian health services program.

Previously, he served for four years as a teacher and administrator in schools operated by the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Report on Indian Students: Students attending schools run by the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs are more likely to be absent and are taught by less experienced teachers than are students in public schools, according to a report from the Education Department.

The report culls data from the 1990-91 school year--the same data reported regularly by the National Center for Education Statistics in its "schools and staffing" survey. Those surveys cover areas such as teacher shortages, salaries, and educators' attitudes.

In the most recent survey, researchers for the first time included B.I.A. schools and sought to include more public schools where American Indian or Alaska Native students make up 25 percent or more of the enrollment. This report contains the findings.

Such students make up about 1 percent of the nation's schoolchildren, the report says.

Copies of the N.C.E.S. report, "Characteristics of American Indian and Alaska Native Education," are available for $15 each from the Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15250-7954; (202) 512-1800. Ask for report number 065-000-00753-3.

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