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Federal News Roundup

Women and members of minority groups who are laid off or denied promotions because of seniority policies must prove discriminatory intent if such seniority systems are included in collective-bargaining agreements, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling is expected to make it more difficult for women and minorities to challenge seniority systems that result in their being promoted in disproportionately low numbers or laid off in high proportions. The 5-4 ruling the company, says in effect that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law barring employment discrimination, exempts all negotiated seniority systems from "strict scrutiny," regardless of when they were established. The chairman of the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children has been fired by President Reagan, three months before the council was scheduled to go out of existence.

Late last month, the chairman, Hayes Mizell, received a letter from the White House immediately terminating his Presidential appointment to the council, which was created by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to advise the government on policies affecting disadvantaged school children. The council was abolished by the Educational Consolidation and Improvement Act, which replaces Title I and takes effect July 1.

In a letter responding to the President's action, Mr. Mizell, a vocal opponent of the Administration's policies, asked: "Have my efforts really been so effective that you find it necessary to remove me as chairman and member?" Mr. Mizell, director of the Southeastern Public Education Program in Columbia, S.C., also charged President Reagan with "negative actions related to the edu-cational interests of disadvantaged children."

"It is a badge of honor to be fired by your Administration," he wrote.

In another action affecting a Presidentially appointed educational advisory group, President Reagan recently announced the names of his nominees for 16 of the 17 openings on the National Advisory Council for Women's Educational Programs. The terms of all the members of the council, who were appointed under the Carter Administration, will have expired by this spring.

Four teachers, a member of a local board of education, and a former teacher are among the nominees to the council, which advises the Administration on policies affecting educational equity for women and girls.

In the past, the membership of the council, established by the Women's Educational Equity Act, has generally been weighted toward higher education.

President Reagan's choices, who must be confirmed by the Senate, are:

Mary Jo Arndt, president, Illinois Federation of Republican Women; Marge Bodwell, teacher, Alamogordo, N.M.; Betty Ann Gault Cordoba, teacher, Woodland Hills, Calif.; Lilli K. Dollinger, director of communications, student government association, Texas A&M University; Gilda Bojorquez Gjurich, secretary-treasurer of the Robert Parada Construction Company, Alhambra, Calif.; Marcilyn D. Leier, Republican Party worker, Roseville, Minn.; Judith D. Moss, lawyer, Columbus, Ohio; Marie S. Muhler, minority whip, New Jersey State Assembly; Susan E. Phillips, director of research and publications, the Conservative Caucus, Vienna, Va.

Also, Irene Renee Robinson, community and Republican worker, Washington, D.C.; Judy F. Rolfe, vice president, Rolfe and Wood, Inc., Bozeman, Mont.; Eleanor Knee Rooks, former teacher, Brownsville, Tex.; Maria P. Shuhi, teacher, Del Ray Beach, Fla.; Eunice S. Thomas, teacher, Columbus, Ohio; Virginia G. Tinsley, member, board of education, Tempe, Ariz.; Helen J. Valerio, executive vice president, Papa Gino's of America, Inc., Needham Heights, Mass.

Two law students filed a class action last week claiming that the government's plan to cut Guaranteed Student Loans is an illegal breach of contract.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, seeks to enjoin the Department of Education and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation from applying a new policy that would deny the loans to students whose families have incomes higher than $30,000 per year unless they can prove inability to pay their own way.

The suit--which grew out of a class discussion on constitutional torts at Hofstra University's law school--was filed on behalf of students who now receive the loans and stand to lose them because of the policy change.

The plaintiffs, Barbara Greenberg and Valita Kreiss, are second-year law students at Hofstra. Because both are married to men who earn more than $30,000, the two women will lose their automatic eligibility for the federal loans.

Harry M. Singleton, a Reagan Administration appointee to the Commerce Department, is expected to be named assistant secretary for civil rights of the Education Department (ed), Administration sources said.

Mr. Singleton, who currently is deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Congressional relations, will replace Clarence Thomas. Mr. Thomas has been nominated by the President to be chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The two were classmates at the Yale University law school.

Another Education Department official, Kent Lloyd, the undersecretary for management, has resigned to run for California state treasurer. Mr. Lloyd is expected to be replaced by Charles L. Heatherly.

Mr. Heatherly, the author of Mandate for Leadership, the well-known conservative policy-management manual published by the Heritage Foundation, formerly was director of the Education Department's executive secretariat. He is currently acting deputy undersecretary for management.

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