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A commission studying teacher education under a grant from the U.S. Education Department established goals for itself at its first meeting earlier this month in Chicago.

The 16-member panel, chaired by C. Peter Mcgrath, president of the University of Minnesota, outlined a number of topics that it will study in depth: what beginning teachers need to know; increasing the quantity and quality of teacher applicants; partnerships between education schools and schools; and the possible contribution of collective bargaining to improve teachers and teaching.

The panel, formally called the National Commission on Excellence in Teacher Education, was proposed by the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education, an organization that represents a majority of the nation's teacher-training programs.

It is funded by a $105,000 grant from the Education Department, according to an aacte official.

Robert Egbert, staff director of the commission, said the purpose of the task force is to "describe the status of teacher education and make recommendations on ways to improve it."

The panel, he said, plans to hold two more meetings, conduct a series of regional meetings, possibly commission papers on the subject, and submit a final report at the aacte annual meeting next February.

Mr. Egbert is a professor of education at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a past president of aacte

Other members of the 16-person panel include: J. Myron Atkin, dean of Stanford University's graduate school of education; Frank B. Brouillet, president of the Council of Chief State School Officers and superintendent of public instruction in Washington State; Robert Graham, governor of Florida; Mary H. Futrell,president of the National Education Assocation; Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Richard C. Wallace Jr., superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

The Task Force on Education for Economic Growth, which a year ago released the report "Action for Excellence," has launched a public-service campaign intended to help sustain public interest in improving the nation's schools.

The campaign will include radio and print advertisements as well as a series of op-ed pieces and "news features" designed to highlight successful education programs nationwide, focus attention on business-school partnerships, and offer specific suggestions for continued education improvement.

"If we are serious about education renewal, we must move from dialogue to action and from the national to the local level," said Pierre S. du Pont IV, governor of Delaware and chairman of the 46-member task force of representatives of business, government, labor, and education.

The public-service campaign, announced in Washington earlier this month, is being conducted by the Washington public-relations firm of Hager, Sharp, and Abramson, at a cost of approximately $175,000.

The task force is scheduled to meet in August to assess the progress of efforts to improve education at the state and local levels.

The National Conference of Black Mayors has approved a resolution backing the Reagan Administration's proposed subminimum wage for young people.

The resolution, approved by the organization's 254 members during its convention last month, supports a subminimum wage for youths on an "experimental basis," according to Sam Tucker, organization's deputy executive director.

The Administration has proposed a reduced hourly-wage rate for youths between the ages of 16 and 21 who work during the summer and after school.

The current minimum wage is $3.35 an hour. But under the Administration's proposal, employers would be allowed to pay youths $2.50 an hour.

Mr. Tucker said the resolution was approved after considerable debate among the black mayors. But because of the high rate of youth unemployment, especially among minorities, he said the mayors felt there was an "urgent need" for a new policy to help solve the problem. "If it doesn't work," Mr. Tucker added, "we will be the first to ask that they do away with it."

Expressing an opposing view, participants at a "Black Family Summit'' meeting earlier this month said the minimum wage was not a factor in the unemployment rate of black youths and urged opposition to the enactment of a subminimum wage for youths.

The highest salary paid to princi-pals this year by school systems responding to an annual survey by the Educational Research Service is $67,024, reports the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

That salary is earned by secondary-school principals in a district of more than 25,000 students, the survey found. The lowest salary reported for principals in school systems of that size is $24,105, according to the n.a.s.s.p.

Principals in school systems of 10,000 to 24,999 students this year earn from a low of $21,923 to $56,600, the survey found. In systems of from 2,500 to 9,999 students, the range is from $21,853 to $62,442. And in the smallest systems, it runs from $20,950 to $59,427. The median salary for principals in systems of all sizes is $39,714, according to the survey.

The highest salary paid this year to junior-high and middle-school principals is $62,700, reported by a district enrolling between 2,500 and 9,999 students; the lowest reported salary for those leaders is $19,533, reported by a district of the same size.

Elementary-school principals are earning between $13,203 (reported by a 2,500-to-9,999-student district) and $57,275 (reported by a district of the same size). The survey included some 1,217 school systems.

In contrast to one year ago, when they were considering bills to raise some $12 billion in new taxes, state legislatures meeting this season reported that measures totaling only $3.1 billion had been introduced, according to a survey by the Washington-based Tax Foundation.

Some 18 states of the 44 that will hold legislative sessions this year were considering tax increases as of the time of the group's March survey, while another 12 were weighing tax cuts totaling $1.7 billion. The survey did not include the proposal of Gov. Mark White of Texas to raise $1 billion for school reform through new taxes.

Last year's sessions resulted in enactments of revenue bills totaling $8.25 billion, a figure that capped a cumulative total of $16 billion in tax measures passed by state lawmak-ers in the previous three years, the nonprofit research group notes.

But those measures, in conjunction with a brightening economic situation in state economies over the past 15 months, appear to have eased the situation for the states this year, the foundation reports. It adds that while previous tax measures were linked with spending restraint, this year's measures are in many instances tied to increased spending.

The largest single share of the proposed tax increases would be in general sales taxes; other proposals would tax gasoline, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco. Proposed cuts in individual state income and corporate taxes total $1.6 billion, according to the tax foundation.

Most of the 65 principals of public schools honored last year by the U.S. Education Department say they oppose both increased federal funds for education and tuition tax-credit legislation but support merit pay for teachers.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative public-policy research institute in Washington, polled the 152 secondary-school principals to determine their views on five issues. The findings--from the 43 percent who responded--are reported in the March issue of the foundation's Education Update.

By a 4-to-1 margin, the principals said they oppose more federal money for education, citing increased paperwork, regulations, and control as undesirable byproducts.

On the subject of federal regulations, the principals, by a 2-to-1 margin, judged such regulations to be excessive, again citing paperwork as the reason. The survey noted substantial support for the block-grant concept.

Some 72 percent of the principals said they were opposed to tuition tax-credit legislation on the grounds that credits would be damaging to public schools.

Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they favored stiffening teacher-certification standards to place greater emphasis on teachers' academic courses.

The principals favored merit pay by a 3-to-1 margin.

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