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Stanford University Plans Three-Year Study of Schools

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Washington--In an effort to rekindle interest in elementary and secondary school policy among diverse elements of the higher-education community, Stanford University has announced plans to conduct a three-year study of the nation's schools that will focus on policy decisions, curriculum alternatives, and teacher preparation.

In announcing the project at a seminar on "Higher Learning and the Nation's Future" sponsored here recently by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Stanford's president, Donald Kennedy, said a primary objective of the study will be to help the university redesign its School of Education. "Only if the best institutions care about schools and their own schools of education," Mr. Kennedy said, ''will the public think they are worth caring about." He urged "that the great research universities return education to the list of primary outlets for applied social sciences."

He emphasized that Stanford faculty from the social sciences, sciences, and humanities will work closely with the education faculty on the project, especially in the area of curriculum reform.

Mr. Kennedy added that the researchers will seek the contributions of local school districts and will address such issues as the viability of the "comprehensive school" and the role of schools of education in teacher preparation.

"There can be no more important entry in the public policy agenda of the United States than the quality of our primary and secondary educational systems," Mr. Kennedy told the seminar audience. "Yet it is perplexingly difficult to persuade social scientists outside the schools of education to take an interest in such problems.

"That will require some institution-building, and a special effort to engage and re-engage some of the distinguished social scientists who are now doing other things," he added. Mr. Kennedy pointed out that, in addition to using the results of the study in a re-evaluation and reorganization of its own graduate school of education, the researchers will make recommendations to California education agencies on curriculum and other school-policy issues.

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