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The Minnesota Supreme Court has upheld the right of lay teachers at a Roman Catholic high school to bargain collectively with their employer.

Administrators at Hill-Murray High School, near St. Paul, had maintained that they did not have to bargain with a newly certified affiliate of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers because the school's religious affiliation exempted it from state labor-relations law.

Last year, an appeals court ruled that certifying the union against the wishes of the school's officials violated freedom-of-religion guarantees in both the state and federal constitutions. (See Education Week, June 19, 1991.)

The July 24 supreme court ruling reversed that decision, finding that neither constitution bars application of the Minnesota Employment Labor Relations Act to religious schools.

The ruling serves as a "clarification of [the teachers'] rights to meaningfully bargain a contract'' on such issues as salary, benefits, work hours, and grievance procedures, said Roger A. Peterson, a lawyer who represented the teachers.

Commissioner of Education John Ellis of New Jersey has ruled that Whittle Communications' "Channel One'' classroom news show does not violate state law and that schools may continue to use it.

In a lengthy written opinion issued Aug. 6, the commissioner overruled an administrative-law judge who had found that the Trenton school district's use of Channel One violated state law because each show includes two minutes of commercials. (See Education Week, Aug. 5, 1992.)

Mr. Ellis found that Channel One consists of "informative current events and news'' and that it supplements the district's regular educational program. He said his decision was influenced by the fact that the district shows Channel One during a homeroom period and, thus, does not detract from any instructional periods.

The commissioner warned, however, that he might rule differently if the program were shown during an instructional period or if the commercial time went beyond two minutes a day.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, which led the challenge to the Whittle program, said no decision had been made on whether to appeal Mr. Ellis's decision to the state board of education.

The Educational Testing Service will appeal a ruling by a New York judge ordering the firm to release to colleges a student's Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, which the testing company had thrown out as invalid.

"Of course we are disappointed that this particular judge has ruled differently than 21 other judges who have upheld our procedures,'' said Gregory R. Anrig, the president of the ETS

The case involves Brian Dalton, a senior at Holy Cross High School in New York City, who sued the testing firm--which administers the college-admission test--after the ETS invalidated his scores.

Officials at the ETS had charged that Mr. Dalton's combined score, which was 410 points higher than the first time he took the test, was inconsistent with his high school grades and other test scores.

Citing a handwriting analysis, the officials concluded that "someone else may have completed'' Mr. Dalton's answer sheet. (See Education Week, April 15, 1992.)

But Judge William D. Friedmann of the Supreme Court of Queens County, N.Y., ruled on Aug. 7 that the ETS had "breached its ... contract'' with Mr. Dalton by failing to consider evidence he had provided--such as statements from the test proctor and an fellow test-taker--that he said proved he had taken the test. As a result, Judge Friedmann ruled, the firm must release Mr. Dalton's scores "without comment or qualification.''

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has issued a legal opinion that frees school districts from the need to repeatedly reverify the employment-eligibility status of substitute teachers.

School administrators sought a clarification from the agency last winter when it appeared that revisions in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act might require districts to fill out a new immigration form every time they sent a substitute out to teach. (See Education Week, Feb. 12, 1992.)

The INS concluded that substitute teachers have "a reasonable expectation of continued employment,'' so they and their employers only need to complete a form verifying their identity and eligibility to work in the United States when they are first hired by a school system.

Vol. 12, Issue 1

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