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News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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N.M. Joins 'Ed-Flex' Club

New Mexico has become the latest state granted the ability to waive federal education regulations.

It joins eight other states known as "Ed-Flex" states.

The designation allows New Mexico officials to waive certain federal rules for the state's school districts.

Among the programs eligible for waivers are Title I compensatory education and the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program.

S.C. Skips School-to-Work

South Carolina education officials missed the deadline to apply for a school-to-work grant that could have brought the state as much as $25 million in federal funds over the next five years.

The Aug. 30 deadline for filing the applications with the Department of Labor's school-to-work office passed without an application from the state.

Barbara Nielsen, the South Carolina schools chief, told a newspaper she was concerned about possible labor union involvement with the program if the state received the grant.

In 1994, then-Gov. Carroll A. Campbell Jr. signed a school-to-work transition act passed by state lawmakers to help better prepare students in South Carolina for the business world.

Ms. Nielsen said that because some of the school-to-work groups in the state had not spent all of their state money, there was no rush to win federal funds.

Organization To Fight Hunger

Members of Congress joined the international hunger and disaster-relief organization Feed the Children on Capitol Hill last month to support a public-awareness campaign on hunger among America's children. Feed All America's Children Today was created in response to the new welfare-reform law, which critics contend will leave more children hungry.

The group says it will put out the word about hunger and will work to increase donations to locally run charitable organizations including food pantries and churches.

The campaign's goal is to distribute 500 truckloads of food and other necessities to children in several cities across the country.

Regs Update: Waiver Police

The Department of Education announced that states and school districts seeking waivers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act must submit requests by Nov. 1 if the waivers are to have any chance of being in place for the spring semester. Waiver requests received between November and May 1, 1997, will be considered for the 1997-98 school year.

The department reminds potential applicants that waivers are granted to foster school-improvement efforts and improve teaching and learning. More information on regulatory flexibility is available on the Education Department's site on the World Wide Web: ... In other news from the regulatory world, in the Sept. 24 Federal Register, the Department of Justice outlined the structure of the Police Corps, a new $10 million program offering scholarships to college students who agree to work on a state or local police force for four years after they finish college. Up to $7,500 per academic year is available under the program. States must apply to participate. ... Officials at Justice are also considering rules for the Young American Medals for Bravery and Service, up to four awards annually that will go to teenagers and children who exhibit "exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind, and unusual swiftness of action" in a crisis situation. Under the plan, up to four medalstwo for bravery and two for servicewould be handed out each year. The awards were described in the Sept. 19 Federal Register. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 18.

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