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The number of students with disabilities attending regular classes increased by 6.1 percent to nearly 1.6 million--one-third of all disabled students in the nation--between the 1985-86 and 1990-91 school years, according to a report released last week by the Education Department.

"We are working to create one education system that values all students,'' Judith Heumann, the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services, said in a statement lauding the trend toward such "mainstreaming.''

A record 4.99 million disabled people from birth to age 21 were served under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act during 1991-92, a 3.9 percent increase from the previous year's figure of 4.8 million. That percentage change was the largest for the past 15 years, according to the study, which is a report to Congress on the implementation of the IDEA.

Close to half of the disabled students who left school in the 1990-91 school year received diplomas. Another 13.3 percent graduated with some type of certificate or modified diploma; 23 percent of those leaving school dropped out.

A limited number of free copies of the report are available from the Innovation and Development Division, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Room 3532, 330 C St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week vacated the child-pornography conviction of a Pennsylvania man and returned his case to a lower court after the Justice Department reversed its position on the interpretation of a federal child-pornography law.

The Clinton Administration, reversing an earlier position, argued in Knox v. United States (Case No. 92-1183) that the conviction for possessing videotapes of young girls should not stand because it did not meet the requirements of the 1984 law. The children in the videos were clothed and did not engage in sexual acts.

Separately, the High Court refused to hear the state of Colorado's appeal of a state-court ruling that has prevented a state constitutional amendment barring legal protections for gay residents from going into effect pending the outcome of a trial on the measure's legality under the U.S. Constitution.

In Romer v. Evans (No. 93-453), the Boulder Valley school district is among those challenging the 1992 ballot initiative.

The Supreme Court last week decided that the public should have access to tapes of its oral arguments after all.

Last summer, the High Court threatened legal action against a researcher who copied tapes of oral arguments from the National Archives and edited them into a tape-and-book package that is being sold for $75.

The researcher, Peter Irons, admitted that he violated a standard agreement he signed not to reproduce the tapes. (See Education Week, Sept. 15, 1993.)

The publicity-shy Justices retaliated against Mr. Irons by making it more difficult for him to gain access to the tapes. The recordings generally have been available only to federal employees and legal scholars.

But last week, Alfred Wong, the Supreme Court's marshal, wrote to the Archives to say that the Justices had decided that the restrictions on using and copying the tapes "no longer serve the purposes of the Court.'' He said the tapes will be available "to the public on a generally unrestricted basis.''

The Justice Department has awarded $200,000 grants to four cities to help coordinate the efforts of educators, police, social-service agencies, and business leaders to prevent and control gang violence.

The 18-month program, funded under the omnibus crime legislation that was enacted last year, will test strategies to deter young people from becoming involved in gangs, program organizers said. Grantees will each be eligible for a $100,000 evaluation grant in 1995.

The grant recipients--in Boston, Denver, San Diego, and Seven Hills, Ohio--could use the money to designate a school official to serve as a gang-prevention officer, establish a police task force on gangs, expand after-school services, tutor students who are on probation, or invite speakers to schools.

Vol. 13, Issue 10

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