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A Tough Measure: Iowa teenagers who smoke or use chewing tobacco may incur more than just bad breath and the disapproval of health officials. Under a new law that went into effect July 1, they may also be fined up to $100 or be forced to do community service.

Literacy: Americans who have earned a General Educational Development diploma are likely to have better literacy skills than high school graduates, according to a study by the American Council on Education. GED certificate earners, the study found, typically score better than high school graduates on tests of social studies, science, and literature and art interpretation, all of which tend to measure reading in context.

Low GPA, No Play: Under a proposal by the President's Commission of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, incoming student athletes would need a 2.5 high school grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) in 13 core subjects to be eligible to play. The current GPA requirement is 2.0 in 11 courses.

Condoms Reconsidered: Six months after adopting the most liberal school-based condom- distribution program in the country, the New York City Board of Education has voted to reexamine this fall its decision not to give parents a chance to exclude their children from the program.

Stop Tracking: A panel of teachers, school administrators, and parents convened by the Boston school district has recommended eliminating tracking in the city's public schools. The group urged the district to increase heterogeneous student grouping, fully integrate such programs as Chapter 1 and bilingual education into regular classrooms, eliminate most grade retention, and expand ungraded programs.

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