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The House Education and Labor Committee, acting to avoid further disruptions in federal education funding, voted last week to change the effective date of the new education reauthorization law.

The corrective legislation, HR 4638, would simply change the effective date of the reauthorization act, P.L. 100-297, from July 1 to Oct. 1, except for sections of the bill that include separate effective dates. The measure approved by the panel was introduced May 19 by Representative William F. Goodling, Republican of Pennsylvania.

Because the Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act now takes effect July 1, Education Department officials have said payments due to be made after that date must be made under new rules set by the law. That would change the amount of funding states and districts are eligible for, and would delay some payments. (See Education Week, May 18, 1988.)

Impact-aid allocations are the only payments that have been delayed by the problem thus far.

Education Department officials had sent a proposed bill to Capitol Hill that would have changed the effective date only for those for programs identified by department lawyers as potential trouble spots.

They included Chapter 1 state programs, mathematics and science grants, projects funded under the Secretary's discretionary fund, adult-education grants, and impact aid.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a Virginia newspaper's appeal of a $100,000 libel award to a Richmond schoolteacher.

The case, Richmond Newspapers Inc. v. Lipscomb (Case No. 87-1636), stemmed from a 1981 article in the Richmond Times Dispatch that alleged that the teacher, Vernelle Lipscomb, was "disorganized, erratic, forgetful, and unfair.'' A state trial court ruled that the story libeled Ms. Lipscomb and awarded her a total of more than $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The state supreme court upheld the decision, but reduced the amount of the award to $100,000.

In its appeal to the High Court, the newspaper contended that the state courts had erred when they held that the teacher was a private citizen and not a public figure. Under libel law, it is easier for a private citizen to prove that he has been defamed than it is for a public official or a celebrity.

President Reagan last week vetoed HR 3, a massive trade bill containing more than $500 million in education programs. The House quickly responded by voting 308 to 113 to override the veto.

The Senate has scheduled a vote on the issue for this week, but is expected to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Mr. Reagan's decision.

The President's veto message was conciliatory, and encouraged the Congress to draft a new version of the bill.

The measure would authorize more than $1 billion in job-training programs as well as literacy and vocational-education initiatives.

Although women have made "tremendous gains'' over the past two decades in attaining educational equity, they still lag behind men in several significant areas, the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs concludes in its final report.

The council, established in 1974 to advise federal policymakers on women's educational issues, was abolished by the Congress this year.

In a document accompanying its final annual report, the council notes, for example, that boys still outperform girls in science and mathematics.

Among other recommendations, the panel urges that teacher-training programs take into account boys' and girls' different learning styles in those subjects.

Vol. 07, Issue 36

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