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The city's "commitment to academic excellence" was a major factor in the decision of a consortium of 12 high-technology and research firms to choose Austin, Tex., as a home. The firms will soon bring at least 200 new "high-tech" families into the Austin Independent School District.

"We're really thrilled," said a district spokesman, adding that the new consortium will raise the district's tax base and bring students of "high motivation" into the schools.

Retired Admiral Bobby Inman, chairman of the new consortium, Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp., said the families employed by the company will be looking for high-quality education in the Austin schools, and he urged increased state support for the public-school system.

Mr. Inman is a graduate of the University of Texas. The university, the local chamber of commerce, Texas A&M University, and city officials cooperated to attract the research consortium to Austin. San Diego, Atlanta, and Research Triangle Park, N.C. were also seeking to attract the firm.

The majority leader of Maine's House of Representatives, taking her cue from the federal government, recently announced that she would introduce legislation seeking the creation of a blue-ribbon panel to investigate the condition of education in the state.

"Our once-revered system of education is not producing the tools or the motivation necessary to help our young people realize their full potential," said Representative Elizabeth H. Mitchell, majority leader of the state House of Representatives, in announcing her proposal for a Maine Commission on Excellence in Education.

The proposed 21-member commission would be given until Jan. 31, 1984, to compile a list of recommendations for Gov. Joseph E. Brennan and the state legislature, she said.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, speaking recently at a church in Lincoln, Neb., suggested one way to resolve the continuing controversy over state regulation of private schools that has resulted in several lengthy legal disputes in the state.

Mr. Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority, said children in private schools should be tested and the results reported to the state. "If the tests show these children are not being educated," he said, "then [the state] should come down on these schools."

This method, he said, would satisfy the state interest that children in these schools are receiving a high-quality education.

New York State's commissioner of education, Gordon M. Ambach, has upheld a Long Island public-school system's ban on the distribution of religious literature in its schools.

Stephen P. Rathjen, a resident of the Brentwood Union Free School District, was told by district officials last fall that he would not be permitted to hand out religious literature to high-school students.

Mr. Ambach said that Mr. Rathjen's appeal of the school board's decision was too late, since it was made more than 30 days after the district's ruling. The commissioner added that "schools are not public places in the sense that their use may be demanded as a matter of right by an individual."

Mr. Rathjen, who distributed materials outside Brentwood schools before he was turned down by officials, argued that he had a right to distribute material in any public place, including a school.

Vol. 02, Issue 36

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