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Conference on Instructional Excellence Announced

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Citing the need for a conference to address instructional issues raised by the "excellence" movement, the College Board and the Far West Laboratory in San Francisco have announced that they will convene a three-day conference in mid-March aimed at presenting the "best" information and ideas on improving education.

The theme of the conference is "Excellence in Our Schools: Making it Happen." To be held in San Francisco, the event will bring together many of the authors and researchers whose work has helped engender the recent interest in better education.

Co-sponsors of the conference include the California School Boards Association and the Association of California School Administrators.

Among those scheduled to speak at the conference are Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, John Goodlad, former dean of the ucla Graduate School of Education and author of A Place Called School, and Seymour Sarason of Yale University. Noted researchers in the area of reading comprehension, including Richard C. Anderson and Dolores Durkin of the Center for the Study of Reading in Illinois, will also speak, as will representatives from many school districts around the country.

"It was felt that many of the conferences had been important in that they'd gotten at policy and hammered out some initiatives, but we felt they were not addressing the issue of improving instruction, which we think is critical," said Eric J. Cooper, associate director for program development at the College Board. "We felt it was necessary to have what we would consider a school-based conference, where we would act together as a unit to create some forum for change to occur."

A number of school districts are cooperating in planning the conference, including Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles County, New York City, Boston, and San Francisco, Mr. Cooper said.

'Talk Show'

The Public Broadcasting System will video-tape a one-hour "talk show" on March 16 that will be broadcast on public-television stations around the country. The talk show will be followed by a one-hour teleconference that will, planners hope, include dialogue between con-ference participants and members of Congress. Planners hope to have a "nationally known moderator."

The entire conference will be taped by a private company, with the goal of preparing video presentations for use in inservice programs. The planners also will publish proceedings and conference papers.

The conference will be limited to 1,000 participants, plus the speakers. A registration fee of $150 will be charged to help defray the costs, Mr. Cooper said. Foundations and corporations, as well as the sponsoring organizations, will also contribute funding and services.

The participants will look at a variety of "critical issues" that have gained prominence in recent months. The format will include general sessions, which will be followed by small-group discussions of various issues, including models of school change and reform, curriculum design and classroom instruction, text development, technologies and resources, and standards and evaluation.

Registration information for the conference may be obtained from the Far West Laboratory, 1855 Folsom St., San Francisco, Calif. 94103, (415) 565-3229 or 565-3147.--sw

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