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The Los Angeles school board has voted to allow schools in that district to use a social-studies textbook series that was criticized by a wide range of ethnic and religious groups.

One of only two social-studies series approved by the California state school board last fall, Houghton Mifflin Company's new K-8 social-studies texts have been praised by educators for the engaging style in which they are written and for including discussion of world religions and non-Western cultures. But the school board, departing from its usual practice of automatically whether to buy state-approved texts, decided to review the series in response to complaints from some ethnic and religious groups. Representatives of the city's Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American communities, among others, said the books omitted important information about their groups, contained inaccuracies, or were biased against them. (See Education Week, Feb. 20, 1991.)

The board's March 4 vote in favor of the books was unanimous.

A Philadelphia family-court judge has granted a request by city officials that preschool children whose families belong to churches that oppose medical treatment be forced to undergo measles vaccinations.

Last week's ruling is believed to be the first in the nation mandating preventive ,$ medical treatment, as opposed to emergency life-saving measures, for individuals whose religious beliefs conflict with medical care.0

The decision also sets aside a Pennsylvania law that allows abstention from medical treatment on the basis of religious and philosophical beliefs.0

The churches, Faith Tabernacle Congregation and the related First Century Gospel Church, are expected to file an appeal, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

An appeal could prevent the immunizations, which otherwise were scheduled to have taken place by the end of last week, sources said.

A pastor with Faith Tabernacle declined to comment on the case last week and refused to provide the telephone number of the churches' lawyer. Family-court proceedings are confidential.

The court ruling comes amid a measles epidemic in Philadelphia. At least eight children have died, including five affiliated with the two churches, officials said. (See Education Week, March 6, 1991.)

The Philadelphia school district has reissued a teacher resource guide on Puerto Rico that has been revised to correct factual errors that brought the first edition under fire a year ago.5

The guide, released late last month, was developed with advice from the district's Committee for Puerto Rican Curriculum Development, which consists of administrators, principals, teachers, and representatives of the Puerto Rican community.

The committee was established last year after leaders of the city's Puerto Rican community branded the previous guide as "an sland's customs, dances, foods, and celebrities. (See Education Week, Feb. 28, 1990.)

Emanuel Ortiz, the executive director of Aspira Inc. of Pennsylvania and a panel member, said his organization was "extremely happy" with the new curriculum.

Constance E. Clayton, superintendent of schools, announced that she will keep the curriculum panel in place to ensure that the document is used widely in the training of teachers and to encourage continued involvement in schools by Puerto Ricans, who ccount for most of the district's 10 percent Hispanic population.


The Detroit Board of Education has approved an all-boys academy tailored to black students, joining Milwaukee, New York City, and Minneapolis in a growing movement to address the special needs

(# of minority students.

The board voted 9 to 1 late last month to open the K-8 school this fall, shrugging off opponents who contend that the school will discriminate against girls and violate federal civil-rights laws. The National Organization of Women has threatened to sue if the board goes ahead with its plans. Similar objections have been raised over board decisions last October in Milwaukee and in January in Minneapolis and New York. (See Education Week, Oct. 10, 1990, and Jan. 23, 1991.)

The administration and the teachers at the new school plan to develop a curriculum designed to boost the self-esteem and performance of the male students.

While not explicitly closed to other ethnic and racial groups, the school is expected to have an almost entirely black student body.

More than 90 perecent of the district's 170,000 students are African-American. About 45 percent of its students drop out before finishing high school.

Vol. 10, Issue 25

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