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Alabama's attorney general has asked a federal judge to reconsider a court-approved settlement requiring the state to modify its teacher-testing program to prevent racial bias. (See Education Week, Aug. 21, 1985.)

Plaintiffs in the case, Margaret T. Allen v. The Alabama State Board of Education, had charged that the testing program discriminated against blacks hoping to enter the teaching profession, violating their constitutional and statutory rights under the 14th Amendment and federal civil-rights laws.

Both parties agreed to the settlement, but the board of education reversed its position after the attorney general, Charles A. Graddick, publicly attacked the agreement. The plaintiffs then asked Judge Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama to formally enforce the initial settlement, which he did last month.

If Mr. Graddick's motion for a rehearing on the settlement issue is denied, he will appeal the decision "all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary," said Assistant Attorney General Patrick L. Robinson.

The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a state order revoking the teaching certificate of Karta Kaur Khalsa, a Sikh public-school teacher in Eugene who wore a white turban and robes to class.

Ms. Khalsa was suspended by the school board and had her teaching certificate revoked by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Verne A. Duncan last year in accordance with a state regulation that prohibits teachers from wearing religious garments in the classroom. (See Education Week, April 4, 1984.)

Her license was reinstated in November 1984 by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission on the condition that she not teach, wearing religious garb, in an Oregon public school until the courts had ruled in the case. She currently teaches at a private school in New Mexico.

The appeals court ruled that revoking Ms. Khalsa's certificate was a punishment too harsh for theel10lcrime. But the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the law barring religious dress.

The state department of education, which has 30 days to appeal the ruling, has not determined whether it will do so.

The Massachusetts office for children has agreed to allow seven group homes that use a type of punishment as therapy to remain open until an administrative hearing is held.

However, the office has barred the use of "aversives"--such as pinching and cold showers--while the homes for severely handicapped children remain open.

The agency had decided in September to close the homes, run by the Behavior Research Institute, a Providence, R.I., organization, after the death of a student in one of the homes. The official cause of the student's death has not been determined. (See Education Week, Oct. 23, 1985.)

But agency officials decided last month, following the recommendation of a magistrate, to allow the schools to stay open until a hearing is held, a spokesman for the office said. The hearing is expected before the end of the year.

Local school officials in Kentucky have until next year to comply with a legislative mandate to provide classroom teachers with duty-free lunch periods and reduce class sizes in elementary schools, according to an opinion issued last month by David L. Armstrong, the state's attorney general.

The changes are included in the education-improvement package passed, but not funded, during a special legislative session last July. (See Education Week, Aug. 21, 1985.)

The measures did not include an implementation date because of a "legislative oversight," said Glenn Osborne, a spokesman for the state's legislative reseach commission. Laws that do not specify an effective date become binding 90 days after they are signed into law. That would have made the measures effective last month.

But because most districts lacked the money to implement them this year, Mr. Osborne said, a state senator sought an opinion on the implementation date from the attorney general.

All but 32 of New York City's 284 community-school-board members have now filed financial-disclosure forms, as required by a state law that had previously gone unenforced. Last month, nearly 150 community school-board members were in danger of losing their seats for failing to file the forms. (See Education Week, Oct. 23, 1985.)

The city board of education had notified 50 of the board members who had not filed that they would be removed from office. The board has no power to halt the proceedings for those among the 50 who have since filed, according to Joseph Mancini, a spokesman for the board, because the final decision on removal rests with Gordon M. Ambach, the state education commissioner.

Gov. George Deukmejian of California has signed into law a measure appropriating $13.5 million to air-condition year-round schools in the state, including those in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Unified School District currently has 32 schools on a year-round schedule that do not have air-conditioning, according to a district spokesman. The need for air-conditioned schools has been cited by the United Teachers of Los Angeles as a major obstacle to implementing Superintendent of Schools Harry Handler's plan to put the entire district on a year-round schedule within five years to relieve overcrowding. (See Education Week, Oct. 16, 1985.)

Los Angeles expects to receive $9.8 million under the new measure if the federal offshore oil-leasing program, from which the funds are earmarked, stands up to court challenges, a district spokesman said.

District officials predict the 32 schools will be air-conditioned by July 1988.

Beginning in January, the pension firm that manages some $39-billion in retirement investments for employees of the nation's independent schools and most colleges and universities will adjust annuity dividends on a sex-neutral basis for participants who began their annuity incomes between March 24, 1972, and May 1, 1980. (See Education Week, June 6, 1984.)

Pension benefits for those who retired after the 1980 date have already been adjusted to a sex-neutral basis under the terms of court rulings in a long-running suit against the firm, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/College Retirement Equities Fund.

The suit was brought against the firm by women employees of colleges and universities who argued that retirement benefits should not be calculated on the basis of sex-based mortality tables.

Vol. 05, Issue 11

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