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Washington Senate Backs G.O.P. School-Reform Bill

The Washington State Senate has passed an omnibus education bill that offers a very different agenda for reform from a measure adopted by the House and supported by Gov. Booth Gardner.

The Senate bill, put forward by the chamber's Republican majority, creates several new matching-grant programs and continues a "no strings attached" block-grant program that the Democratic Governor had eliminated from his budget.

The House bill, also passed last month, would gradually reduce or eliminate many state education regulations and make major changes in student assessment. (See Education Week, March 13, 1991.)

The two measures are likely to go before a conference committee later this month.

Gov. Ray Mabus of Mississippi is expected to sign two low-cost bills culled from his comprehensive education-reform package, which was passed last year by the legislature but has remained unfunded.

One bill approved by lawmakers opens more positions for noncertified teachers and makes training and a high-school diploma a requirement for school-board members. The other measure allows the state to take over districts that lose their accreditation.

Many of the other low-cost bills broken out of Mr. Mabus's Better Education for Success Tomorrow plan, however, have died during the current session. Among the bills still alive are a plan to increase local flexibility in setting textbook policy and a health-insurance plan for teachers.

Wyoming lawmakers have repealed the state's longstanding open-admissions policy for higher-education institutions.

The new law allows the University of Wyoming to establish admissions standards.

Under a policy in effect since 1905, any graduate of an accredited high school in the state had been eligible for admission to the university or any of the state's community colleges.

Vol. 10, Issue 28

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