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N.S.B.A. Unveils 1988 'Platform'

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Washington--The next President of the United States should push for a tripling of the annual federal expenditure on elementary and secondary education, the National School Boards Association said last week.

The increase would cover a variety of initiatives envisioned in a "platform" released here by nsba officials, who urged that educational improvement be "at the center of the 1988 political debate."

"The next President largely will determine the strength and vision with which the American people enter the 21st century," says the 20-page statement outlining the association's proposals for new federal programs to boost precollegiate education.

The new President must "recognize the link between quality education and our ability to progress as a free people," it states.

Federal leadership has "sometimes squandered its potential to provide quality education for all," it argues, and has recently become "preoccupied with religious and so4cial issues" not relevant to educational improvement.

The government should support the efforts of local school districts to raise academic achievement "for all students," and to provide adequate resources for students with special needs, the statement says.

Such improvement efforts would require a minimum of $25 billion a year in federal spending on elementary and secondary education, triple the current amount, according to the report. Federal funds constitute less than 6 percent of the nation's total expenditure on precollegiate education, it says.

The report urges that the next President select a secretary of education "who is knowledgeable about the operation of public education, an advocate for public education, and who has the respect of policymakers and educators in the field."

It also suggests the appointment of a White House counselor for education to help make the field a higher federal priority.

The association called on the next Administration and the Congress to:

Increase funding for programs for special-needs students, establish literacy programs for "at risk" children and their parents, and develop new programs for dropouts and limited-English-speaking children.

Create incentive programs to attract teachers to schools with severe staffing problems, improve staff development, and increase rewards for the best teachers.

Provide funding for integrating technology into education, software development, and a satellite-based education service.

In rural areas, expand vocational course offerings and fund research to encourage educational improvement and innovative uses of technology.

In urban areas, expand early-childhood education for the economically disadvantaged, provide funding for expanding the use of school buildings by urban families, and promote intergovernmental support of urban schools.

Improve federal research and dissemination efforts, and convene a White House conference on "education in the year 2000."--k.g.

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