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Texas graduation exam upheld

SAN ANTONIO - In a ruling that could affect exams across the country, a federal judge has upheld Texas' high school graduation test and rejected claims that it discriminates against blacks and Hispanics. US District Judge Edward Prado said that while more minorities fail the test, there is no proof that flaws in it are responsible. Texas is one of 19 states that require high school students to pass an exit test before graduation. The exam, which measures reading, writing, and math proficiency, is first given to high school students in 10th grade. If they do not pass, they have at least seven more chances to take it before graduation, and may continue to attempt it after completing all their class work. Last spring, 60 percent of black sophomores, 64 percent of Hispanic sophomores, and 86 percent of white sophomores passed. The test was challenged by two Hispanic-rights groups and several minority students, who claimed it discriminates because most schools attended by minorities don't offer an equal opportunity to learn.

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No rise in tuition for Williams

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. - Williams College announced it will charge $31,520 in tuition and fees for the 2000-1 academic year - the same as it did in 1999-2000. This lack of an increase, made possible by an endowment that recently reached the $1 billion mark, is a first in 46 years at the school. The announcement may put pressure on other schools to hold fees in line, education experts say.

Good news for schools

WASHINGTON - Compared with the 1980s, America's public schools are doing a better job of educating the nation's children, argues a new study. The report by the Center on Education Policy and the American Youth Policy Forum found that fewer students are dropping out, students are taking more challenging courses, and more students with disabilities are finding their way into mainstream classrooms. Among the study's other findings: A greater percentage of students are going to college - 14 percent more in 1997 than in 1983. And the school crime rate dropped from 155 to 102 incidents per 1,000 children between 1993 and 1997.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society