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Education Groups Agree on Plan To Improve Instructional Materials

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Officials of two national education associations and the Association of American Publishers, meeting in New York City earlier this month, agreed on a three-step plan to upgrade the quality of instructional materials.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the publishers' association agreed to examine current state and local selection criteria, develop model guidelines for the selection process, and assist states in adapting their existing guidelines to the proposed models, according to Phyllis Blaunstein, executive director of nasbe

The three groups' strategy session was one outcome of a meeting convened by Florida political leaders last month at which representatives from 22 states and several national education groups decided to focus their attention on improving selection and adoption procedures. During that gathering, officials from the three organizations proposed the follow-up meeting to determine what form such a proposal would take. (See Education Week, March 28, 1984.)

"We met to look over our plans for approaching the textbook problem," said Ms. Blaunstein, who noted that both the state chiefs' and school boards' groups have been discussing textbook-improvement initiatives for the last six months.

"Because this is very much a transition period in education and many states are passing policies raising high-school graduation requirements," Ms. Blaunstein said, "we felt this would be an opportunity to raise the content and levels of textbooks so there wouldn't be a discrepancy between standards and instructional materials."

"We see this as a very positive move to work collaboratively to upgrade standards throughout the nation," she said.

Funding Proposal

The groups are in the process of submitting a proposal to the U.S. Education Department to support their initiative. Secre-tary of Education Terrel H. Bell told a joint ccsso-nasbe legislative meeting last month that the department would be interested in the possibility of providing funds for a textbook-improvement project, according to Ms. Blaunstein.

A general invitation to participate in the project will be issued to chief state school officers, state school-board members, educational organizations, and publishers, Ms. Blaunstein said. A date for the first meet-ing has not yet been determined.

Don Eklund, vice president of the school division of the publishers' association, said last week that his organization viewed the planning of such joint activities as a logical step toward improving instructional materials. "We all felt the meeting went very well and this was the logical way to go."

Mr. Eklund said the publishers' group will function in an advisory capacity to provide the council and the state-boards association with information on textbook production.

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