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In an attempt to clarify West Virginia's new school-prayer amendment, approved in November by 78 percent of the state's voters, Superintendent of Public Instruction Roy Truby has issued a set of guidelines for carrying out the pe-riod of "voluntary contemplation, meditation, or prayer." (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1984.)

The guidelines are also a response to a court challenge to the constitutionality of the law launched last month by the American Civil Liberties Union in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against the West Virginia Department of Education and Mr. Truby.

Mr. Truby's guidelines advise teachers and principals to allot from 20 to 60 seconds a day in which students may "sit, stand, kneel, or engage in other acts symbolic of their faith," according to Brentz H. Thompson, the education department's counsel.

Teachers and principals are advised not to provide directions on how students may use the silent time, to whom they should pray, or what they should think about; they are also advised to answer students' questions on the period of silence only by saying: "We are doing this in compliance with the State Constitution."

Six more children who failed kindergarten in Minneapolis last spring will be promoted to the 1st grade as a result of the school district's remediation program, school officials have announced.

The remedial-kindergarten program has resulted in the promotion of about 30 percent of the students who failed to pass the the nation's first minimum-competency test for kindergartners.

Nearly 11 percent of the school district's 3,000 kindergartners failed the exam the first time it was administered last April. (See Education Week, May 23, 1984.)

"If people don't wake up, pretty soon they are going to find that people on the far right have taken over the government of the country," Don Cameron, executive director of the National Education Association, told members of the Idaho nea affiliate at a conference recently.

The conference was designed to acquaint the iea members with "the activities and agenda of the far right," Don Rollie, executive director of the iea, said last week.

Conservative groups have enjoyed "a rather high profile" in Idaho recently, Mr. Rollie said, referring to the 194,000 pamphlets attacking the nea that were distributed in Idaho last October. (See Education Week, Nov. 7, 1984.)

In addition to sponsoring the conference, the iea also will step up its public-information campaign "so that the general public can better understand where the attacks are coming from and why," Mr. Rollie said.

Vol. 04, Issue 18

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