U.S. Education Dept. Releases Honig Audit

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The U.S. Department of Education has formally released an audit asserting that Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig of California violated conflict-of-interest prohibitions and has not offered an adequate explanation for his actions.

The audit, issued by the department's regional inspector general this month, charges that Mr. Honig "engaged in a pattern of activity that materially benefited the financial condition of the Quality Education Project,'' a nonprofit corporation operated by his wife.

Draft copies of the audit were leaked to the press in December, but the department did not release a final version of the document until it had given Mr. Honig and the state board of education time to respond. (See Education Week, Jan. 8, 1992.)

The final version said Mr. Honig disputed all allegations of misconduct contained in the audit but did not provide evidence that persuaded the auditors to substantially change their findings.

The state board of education voted 5 to 3 to accept the audit's findings. Because 6 votes were required to pass the motion, however, it did not provide the federal government with any official response.

Mr. Honig was indicted by a Sacramento County grand jury last month for violations of state conflict-of-interest laws. (See Education Week, April 1, 1992.)

Gov. Zell Miller of Georgia has vetoed a bill placing new restrictions on the teaching of sex education in state public schools.

The bill, approved by the legislature last month, would require school boards to oversee material taught in sex-education classes and bar instruction that might encourage violations of state law, which prohibits nonmarital sex.

While agreeing with the need for oversight of sex-education curricula, Mr. Miller argued that the bill's requirement that local boards allow only "appropriate'' materials was confusing and could lead to lawsuits.

Moreover, the Governor noted, the mandate that instruction conform with state law would allow only the teaching of sexual abstinence outside of marriage.

The Pennsylvania House last week passed a resolution urging the state board of education to delay regulations that would require students to master learning outcomes in order to graduate.

The rules, adopted by the board last month, have been approved by the education committees in the House and Senate and are scheduled to be considered this week by the state's Independent Regulatory Review Commission. (See Education Week, March 11, 1992.)

But the non-binding resolution, approved by a 150-to-47 vote, is aimed at sending a message to the commission that House members have serious concerns about the rules, according to William Sloane, an aide to Representative Ronald Gamble, the resolution's sponsor.

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