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Mayors List Top Concerns About Schools

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Washington--Adult illiteracy, inadequate funding for schools, and high dropout rates are the most pressing educational problems facing cities, say the nation's mayors.

A survey of their views on school matters was released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors during the group's annual meeting here last week. The majority of the 126 respondents represent cities with populations under 100,000.

Sixty-three percent of the mayors said adult illiteracy is a "serious" or "extremely serious" problem in their cities. Funding for education was cited as a problem by 40 percent, high dropout rates by 38 percent, and student illiteracy and poor basic skills by 18 percent.

In response to the survey, Mayor W. Wilson Goode of Philadelphia said the conference's subcommittee on education, which he chairs, will focus its attention this year on ways to lower the dropout rate.

Nearly 90 percent of the mayors said schools in their cities are administered by an autonomous school board or by county government. Nearly 40 percent said they have "little or no control," and 10 percent said they have "no influence," over local education policy. Twenty-eight percent said they have "some influence" over education decisionmaking.

Copies of the survey, "Education from the Mayors' Perspective," are available from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1620 Eye St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.--k.g.

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