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Responding to charges that education officials censored materials, the California state board of education has asked the state education department to reinstate the works of two authors to the pool of selections for possible use in statewide 10th-grade assessments.

After a public hearing this month, the board also asked the department to review its procedures for choosing materials for the California Learning Assessment System test.

Two short stories by Alice Walker and one by Annie Dillard were excluded from the pool after state education officials expressed concern that the pieces might engender controversy and jeopardize the testing program, which asks students to analyze reading passages. (See Education Week, March 9, 1994.)

An organization that advocates the teaching of Christian values in the schools, for example, has complained that one of Ms. Walker's stories is antireligious.

Health-Textbook Publisher Says No to Texas Schools

A leading publisher has withdrawn a health textbook from the Texas market rather than make the hundreds of revisions required by the state board of education.

Holt, Rinehart, & Winston last week announced that it would stop marketing its health textbook in the state.

Company officials, according to published reports, cited as reasons for their decision the cost of making the revisions and the potential for causing harm to students if the books were stripped of information about the prevention of AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Most of the revisions sought by the state from Holt, Rinehart and four other publishers deal with sex education. (See Education Week, Feb. 23, 1994.)

Health and family-planning advocates said the board's action was sparked by conservatives who are pushing a curriculum that emphasizes sexual abstinence.

Truancy Plan Put on Ice: The acting superintendent of the Philadelphia public schools has put on hold a plan to have city and transit police round up truant students.

During hearings this month on the school district's budget, members of the city council criticized the approach as heavy-handed. Under the plan, police would have taken truant students to one of several centers for counseling and coursework. (See Education Week, Jan. 26, 1994.)

Instead, the acting superintendent, Theresa Lemme, said she will revisit the truancy issue from a broader perspective and develop recommendations.

Vol. 13, Issue 26

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