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Having lost its challenge to Iowa's open-enrollment law, the Des Moines school district has allowed several white students to transfer to other districts.

The decision was in response to the state board of education's decision last year that the district had violated the open-enrollment law by denying the transfer requests of all 122 white applicants.

District officials argued that the departure of the students would undermine desegregation efforts. (See Education Week, Dec. 16, 1992.)

The Des Moines board subsequently changed its policy to allow outgoing transfers that reflect the racial composition of the district, which is about 80 percent white.

Accordingly, it gave permission last month to 33 white and nine minority students to transfer next year.

Creationism Policy: A California district's recently adopted policy that permits the discussion of scientific challenges to existing theories and encourages the discussion of "divine creation'' in history, social science, and English does not in itself violate constitutional principles or state curriculum frameworks, according to lawyers for a liberal lobbying group.

The analysis of the policies of the Vista school district was conducted by People for the American Way at the request of local parents. While the new policy "clearly raises constitutional questions,'' it concludes, "it could and should be interpreted to be consistent with the First Amendment.''

At the urging of a self-described "biblical literalist'' majority of the school board that has espoused creationist tenets, the district adopted for the first time this summer a policy on science teaching that many observers warned was the first step to teaching creationism alongside evolution in the science classroom. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

Vol. 13, Issue 13

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