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The federal district judge in Washington State who last month indicated he would award both back pay and substantial pay increases to more than 14,000 women employees of the state in a major wage-discrimination case, has ruled that the state will have to bring the salaries for female-dominated jobs up to the equivalent for male-dominated jobs.

In his written opinion, released last week, U.S. District Judge Jack E. Tanner also said that back pay must be awarded according to the same formula. "My best estimate is that the entire ruling will cost the state nearly a billion dollars," said Janet McMann, assistant director of public affairs for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The case was brought by the Washington Federation of State Employees and afscme Council 28 of afl-cio on behalf of many of the state's female employees and some male employees who work in jobs dominated by women. (See Education Week, Sept. 28, 1983.)

In his ruling, Judge Tanner also appointed Edward Lane, a Tacoma lawyer, as "special master" to decide which employees qualify for back pay and for what periods of time. "I am to determine how much should be awarded for damages for the back four years in the pay of the women concerned," Mr. Lane said.

Judge Tanner indicated Mr. Lane should start his work immediately, according to Ms. McMann. "The gist of Tanner's decision is that he wants this done immediately. He says it is time right now for a remedy and he underscores 'right now."'

A superintendent whose forays into country-music recording gained national attention has come under heavy attack from minority leaders because of the low test scores of and numerous disciplinary actions taken against his district's minority students. (See Education Week, Aug. 17, 1983.)

A coalition of black educators, parents, and clergy members earlier this month gave a vote of "no confidence" to Donald J. Steele, superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools. Mr. Steele has said he will continue in the position for the remaining two and one-half years of his contract.

A spokesman for the coalition said Mr. Steele's discipline policy "is aimed at blacks." But Mr. Steele said last week that he would meet with leaders of the coalition to discuss their differences. "These troubles can be worked out," he said.

Mr. Steele, whose performance will be informally evaluated by the board of education next month and formally evaluated at the end of the school year, recorded a song earlier this year with Tammy Wynette, the country-western music star. Proceeds from the record cut in Nashville went toward a district scholarship fund.

But Mr. Steele has encountered some resistance at home to his extracurricular activity. Last month, the board of education ordered him to spend less time out of town and to repair relations with minorities in the city.

As a means of encouraging states to raise their drinking age to 21, the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving recommended last week that federal highway funds be witheld from states with lower drinking-age limits.

Noting "a direct correlation between the minimum drinking age and alcohol-related crashes among the age groups affected," the commission said in its final report to President Reagan that a uniform drinking age of 21 would cause a decrease in traffic fatalities.

Shortly after receiving the report, the President signed a proclamation designating the week of Dec. 12 "National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week," but he will not support the commission's recommendation to withhold highway funds, a White House spokesman said.

The U.S. Supreme Court this month refused to hear a challenge to a Marshfield, Mass., ban on video games, ending a one-and-one-half-year legal battle. But constitutional experts question whether the Court's move will provide any guidance to other cities considering video-game restrictions or bans. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1982.)

After community leaders warned that organized crime and drug abuse would thrive in the arcades if the games were allowed to continue, the town of 20,000 people voted in 1981 to prohibit merchants to set up games such as "Pac Man," "Donkey Kong," and "Space Invaders."

Merchants who put the games in their stores and restaurants reported that use of the games waned as the legal challenge proceeded through the state-court system and eventually was appealed to the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm has rejected an appeal by the Peoria, Ill., school district, asking him to overturn the verdict that gave a Peoria teacher $514,333 in damages. (See Education Week, July 27, 1983.)

The teacher, Terry Knapp, was awarded the sum after a jury found that his First Amendment rights had been violated.

Mr. Knapp charged that district officials had fired him from a coaching job, given him negative evaluations, and transferred him to another school after he spoke with school-board members on several occasions.

The school "adopted" by President Reagan as part of the Administration's effort to boost public involvement in education will change change its name next month to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

The Washington Board of Education voted to change the name of Congress Heights Elementary School on King's birthday Jan. 15. A Federal Register notice has asked for public comment on the change.

Vol. 03, Issue 15

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