National News Roundup
Technology is not a threat to the book and may even help revitalize reading in America, Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin has concluded in a study of the changing role of books in society.
In "Books in Our Future," Mr. Boorstin calls "with cautious enthusiasm" for the enlistment of new technologies to strengthen the national commitment to books and reading. The study, conducted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, was commissioned by the Congress and completed last month by two advisory committees.
Noting that the nation has failed to do everything it should to defeat the "twin menaces" of illiteracy and "aliteracy" (the word coined for the failure to read of those who can read), the commissioned report calls on the federal government and pri-vate organizations to join in setting a national goal of abolishing illiteracy in the United States by 1989, the bicentennial of the Constitution. In such an endeavor, Mr. Boorstin maintains, "new technologies are new allies" that can encourage new readers and provide useful information services.
"We must use all of our technologies to make the most of our inheritance, to move toward an American Renaissance of the Culture of the Book," the report contends.
To order a copy of the report, which is available for $2.50, write to the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
In an effort to bring parents closer to their children and their schools, the National Education Association this month will launch a "Teacher-Parent Partnership Project" in 12 school districts across the country.
Developed in conjunction with the Home and School Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based group that seeks to promote positive home-school relationships, the project will aim to stimulate parents' involvement by sending them information about learning activities they can help their children complete at home.
Every Friday, teachers in the 12 school districts will send parents sheets that describe these activities. Helping children organize a "study corner," decide what to watch on television, and prepare a calendar with important family dates are examples of such activities.
"These activities don't duplicate schoolwork; they supplement it by helping children develop learning skills and a sense of responsibility," said Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of nea, at a press conference last month. The initial phase of the project will run for 12 weeks and involve 5,000 parents of 3rd-grade students, said Lyle Hamilton, an nea spokesman.
The Rockefeller Foundation has established a three-year $1.5-million fellowship program for highel5lschool foreign-language teachers.
The program will provide travel and study grants to enable language teachers to enhance their knowledge of the country and culture they teach about.
In the program's first year, a total of $500,000 will be awarded to 100 Rockefeller Fellows, chosen by a national panel of scholars and educators for their teaching ability and commitment to international education.
The fellowships will be administered by Academic Alliances, a na-tionwide project currently composed of 85 regional groups of school and college faculty members who teach foreign languages and literatures. The collaborative groups, which are patterned after local legal and medical associations, according to a spokesman for the project, will each nominate up to four candidates for the fellowships. This is the first time the Rockefeller Foundation has awarded fellowships for teaching at the high-school level.
For more information on Academic Alliances or the fellowship program, write Claire Gaudiani, CGS, 210 Logan Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.
The Burger King Corporation, the operator of a chain of fast-food restaurants, will sponsor five "drive-in" conferences for secondary-school teachers and principals during January and February.
The one-day conferences, to be held in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Miami, will focus on the use of microcomputers in schools and the supervision of teachers. The corporation plans to allocate $100,000 for the project.
The sessions will be free for one principal and one teacher from each school within driving distance of the five sites. They will be conducted by J.R. Pennington, director of the educational-technology task force in the Georgia Department of Education, and John Garofalo, a management training and development consultant from Vancouver, Wash.
Last month, Burger King, in cooperation with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, also sponsored a five-day meeting--"In Honor Of Excellence"--in Captiva, Fla., for 102 teachers of the year and principals cited by the U.S. Education Department.