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To the Editor:

The now well-known proposal by New York Commissioner of Education Gordon M. Ambach received a most interesting discussion by Theodore R. Sizer and F. Champion Ward in "Should Schooling Begin and End Earlier?'' (Education Week, March 16, 1983).

Minnesota has worked for several years to develop another alternative called Early Childhood and Family Education. Created by the Minnesota legislature in 1974, this program provides weekly classes for parents and children up to age 5. Its purpose is to strengthen the family and to maximize development and growth in these crucial years.

Programs are operated by school districts in 34 locations and receive grants through the state-funded Council on Quality Education (cqe), which also provides support for a broader array of cost-effective innovations in education.

As educators and citizens across the country continue to grasp the tremendous impact of the early years on learning, and of parents' role in development, cqe would be most happy to provide information about this program.

Eugene Kairies Coordinator Council on Quality Education Minnesota Department of Education St. Paul, Minn.


To the Editor:

Preston Hannibal's Commentary, "More Minority Faculty Would Benefit All in Independent-School Communities," (Education Week, March 23, 1983) did a great disservice to the majority of independent schools in this country. By using the term "independent schools" in an article specifically referring to his experience with "... a number of Northeastern boarding schools ...," he is perpetuating the myth that these schools are typical of the independent schools in the country. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

According to figures released by the National Center for Education' Statistics and the Council for American Private Education, the "typical" independent school is a small, inner-city, minority-serving, religiously affiliated school struggling financially to keep its doors open. From my many years of association with these schools, I can assure Mr. Hannibal that they have made consistent, positive efforts to hire black and Hispanic faculty members. These schools have the commitment and the courage, and they have inaugurated "... new and sweeping changes in the traditional methods of recruiting ..." All they lack is the money. The effective and dedicated black and Hispanic faculty members they are able to hire are quickly recruited at twice the salary by the business community.

Brother Donnan Berry, S.C. Development Director Catholic High School Development Office Baton Rouge, La.

Editor's note: Mr. Hannibal responds that, in his Commentary, he was referring only to independent schools in the "traditional" sense: the private, nonsectarian schools that in general are members of the National Association of Independent Schools.

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