District News Roundup

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An atheist's group in Colorado has succeeded in getting some books used in the Jefferson County public schools labeled as "biased toward Christianity."

The books, a world history text and a guide to marriage and family living, won't be banned. Instead, teachers in the district will be notified in writing of the pro-religious portions of the books.

The action, taken by a 10-member committee of teachers, parents and administrators, came in response to complaints about religious bias in 15 books that had been filed by the Colorado Chapter of American Atheists. The committee found no bias or took no action on 13 of the books cited.

A spokesman for the 80,000-pupil district, the state's largest, said that, in addition to notifying teachers, the committee's action will also lead to "a more careful briefing of our textbook review committee."

In a proposal similar to one made recently by the president of the Ford Foundation, New York City Mayor Edward Koch has suggested that young Americans be required to spend one year in civilian or military national service.

Mr. Koch's proposal would have young men and women, upon reaching their 18th birthday, choose between civilian or military service. Those who opted for civilian service might work in areas such as environmental protection, health care, and education, the Mayor said.

The Mayor estimated that the program would cost between $25 billion and $30 billion each year. He said that the cost would be offset in part by the value of the work.

Franklin A. Thomas, the president of the Ford Foundation, said earlier last week that such a program would be a "major reform." The foundation has approved a $259,000 grant for a study of ways of putting the plan into effect.

Twelve high-school students from Montgomery County, Md., public schools have been appointed to the Junior Board of Directors for Fairchild Industries Inc., a Fortune 500 company with its headquarters in Germantown, Md. School and corporate officials say that Fairchild is probably the first corporation to have a junior board.

The board is the outgrowth of an earlier program, America Awareness. Both were developed at the behest of Edward G. Uhl, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of the company. Mr. Uhl is interested in acquainting students with the world of business and also the world of high technology, according to William Fulwider, a spokesman for Fairchild.

The 11th- and 12th-grade students will work with the company's board of directors and its top corporate management officers. They will also attend the annual meeting.

New York City schools last fall experienced the smallest enrollment drop since 1977 as well as an increase in enrollment in the lower grades, according to statistics released last week.

The total enrollment for the system last fall was 919,633, a decrease of about 6,000 students. School-board officials said annual enrollment drops had ranged between 20,000 and 40,000 since 1977.

Acting Schools Chancellor Richard F. Halverson said the statistics showed that the city's long enrollment decline was about to end. "We will not be asking support anymore for an institution that is down and out," he told New York City's Congressional delegation at a meeting in Washington last week. "We are now a growth industry."

Schools for three groups of students experienced enrollment increases in the last year. Elementary enrollment increased from 429,698 to 432,458; enrollment in middle schools jumped from 192,373 to 195,027, and the number of pupils enrolled in special schools moved from 14,703 to 15,154.

Total high-school enrollment dropped from 234,085 to 223,846.

Vol. 02, Issue 25

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