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The National Education Association's field organizers went on strike last week to protest what they said were "bad faith'' bargaining tactics by the management of the nation's largest teachers' union.

Barry Abel, a spokesman for the Association of Field Service Employees of the N.E.A., the organization that represents the union's 63 organizers, said N.E.A. negotiators entered the contract discussions with a fixed set of goals and "are not willing to make any movement.''

"This is bad-faith bargaining,'' he said. "The N.E.A. pays us to fight like hell to keep [local school-district] management from doing this to its members.''

Members of the Association of Field Service Employees, which is affiliated with the National Staff Organization, walked off the job on June 1 after a three-year contract with the union's management expired. Representatives for both parties have been negotiating a new three-year contract since April.

The dispute centers on several issues, according to Mr. Abel, including retirement benefits, salary provisions, and a proposal by the N.E.A. to eliminate compensatory time.

He said the N.E.A. had proposed giving the organizers a flat bonus, rather than a salary-scale increase, during one year of the contract--a proposal he described as "an insult.''

Robert Harmon, a spokesman for the N.E.A., last week declined to discuss the proposals under negotiation. He said only that the unresolved issues were "economic.''

"This is an important group of people,'' he said. "We are trying to get this resolved.''

The organizers are the first group of N.E.A. employees to walk off the job since 1973.


The number of Asian-American students in the nation's independent schools has narrowly surpassed the number of blacks, and is increasing at a faster rate than enrollment for any other minority, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.

A survey this spring by the N.A.I.S. of 815 of its member schools found that Asian-Americans constituted 4.7 percent of the schools' total enrollment for the current school year, up from less than 1 percent in 1971-72. The schools surveyed enrolled 15,193 Asian-Americans in 1986-87, compared with 15,096 blacks.

The largest increase in Asian enrollment has occurred in the Midwest, the association found.

The combined enrollment for all minority students in member schools has tripled in the past 15 years, the study notes, with such students now constituting 11.2 percent of total enrollment. That represents an increase of 0.6 percent over the 1985-86 school year.

The number of Hispanic students in independent schools has increased at a rate much slower than that of Asians, the association reports. In 1971-72, Hispanics represented 0.6 percent of total enrollment in N.A.I.S. schools, rising to 1.8 percent this year.

The proportion of American Indian students has remained steady at 0.1 percent over the past 15 years, according to the report. In 1971-72, 159 American Indians were enrolled in N.A.I.S. schools; last year, 347 were enrolled.

In addition, the association found, members of minorities constituted 3.5 percent of the teachers and 1.9 percent of the administrators in the schools surveyed.

The "Spring Statistical Report'' is available for $50 from the National Association of Independent Schools, Publications Office, 18 Tremont St., Boston, Mass. 02108.

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