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Education Department Proposes Research Priorities

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Washington--Parental choice in schooling, character education, literacy, and effective education-reform efforts are among the Education Department's proposed research priorities for fiscal years 1988 and 1989.

A listing of the preferred areas of investigation was published in the Nov. 20 Federal Register, as required by an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1986.

The measure specifies that the department must publish its research priorities every two years and invite public comment.

The priorities list will affect all new individual grant and contract competitions over the next two years but not ongoing research at the department's regional education laboratories and research centers, a department spokesman said.

He estimated that the department spends about $15 million yearly on such individual projects.

Under the proposed priorities, issues related to the teaching and learning of reading, writing, and language skills will be a key focus of department-sponsored research, followed by the assessment of the implementation and impact of state and local reform efforts.

Also high on the agenda is the study of home, family, cultural, and community influences in education.

Other proposed areas of concentration include parental choice in schooling, character education, the education of "at risk" students, foreign-language instruction, the management and organization of schools, early-childhood learning, and education finance.

A full list of the priorities appears in the Federal Register. Comments must be sent before Jan. 19 to Lawrence Bussey, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Education Department, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20202.--rrw

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