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The National Commission on Excellence in Education should stress the importance of "instructional materials" in providing effective education, according to textbook publishers.

Funding for such materials is insufficient, and as a result "many schools use out-of-date textbooks that reflect the limited opportunities and sexual stereotyping of another era," the publishers contend in a statement submitted to the commission this month by the school division of the Association of American Publishers. Publishers belonging to the school division produce 85 percent of the textbooks and other instructional materials used in the nation's schools.

Citing industry statistics, the pub-lishers say that there has been a 50- percent decline in the past 17 years in the proportion of school budgets used to buy instructional materials. In 1980, the statement says, districts were spending an average of $19 per student on such materials out of an average educational expense of $2,400 per pupil.

Among other recommendations included in the 11-page statement--"The Need for Instructional Materials"--are that the commission endorse the National Education Association's position that schools spend five percent of their total operating costs on instructional and library materials; reaffirm "the student's right to read and access to ideas"; provide guidance for continuing education for teachers and administrators; support "responsible" standardized-testing programs; and assist in the evaluation of new research on educational technology and forthcoming studies of schooling.

The commission, the statement says, can "perform yeoman's service either by establishing guidelines for assessing these developments or by recommending procedures under which independent assessment of these many recommendations will occur."


Yale University is establishing, as part of its minority-recruitment efforts, a special program to attract native Americans.

Behind the program is Maria A. Frank, a native American who is an undergraduate at Yale and works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Currently, Ms. Frank said, Yale has recruitment programs aimed at blacks, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics, but not at American Indians and Alaska natives.

There are now eight native American undergraduates at Yale, she said.

Ms. Frank is seeking information on conferences involving native American students and is attempting to identify areas with large concentrations of these students.

"There aren't a lot of native Americans now because there aren't a lot of applicants," Ms. Frank said.

Dartmouth College, which already has a program similar to the one that Yale is trying to start, has more than 50 native American undergraduates. A spokesman for Dartmouth said the program is "unique as far as eastern schools are concerned.

"I don't know of any schools that make much of an effort to attract native American students," he added.

Harvard, for example, had an active American Indian program paid for with federal funds under the Indian Education Act. But a spokesman there said that program is dependent on those funds, which were lost after fiscal year 1981. She also said that the school, "because of the Harvard image," never did the type of active recruiting Yale is considering.

For more information on Yale's new program, contact: Maria A. Frank, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 1502A Yale Station, New Haven, Conn. 06520.


The National Parent Teachers Association (pta) began celebrating its 85th year last week, launching new projects in the areas of discipline, critical tv-viewing skills for children, and reviews of television programs.

The organization, which now has six million members in 27,500 local units, was founded as the National Congress of Mothers in 1897.

Alice McLellan Birney, a New York advertising woman, and Phoebe Anderson Hearst, mother of the publisher William Randolph Hearst, convened the first meeting of the group on Feb. 17 of that year.

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