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The politically conservative National Council for Better Education is challenging a provision in the charter of the National Education Association that exempts the union from paying real-estate taxes on the property it owns in Washington.

The council argues that because the nea is now a union, it should no longer enjoy the tax-exempt status it was given in 1906, when the Congress chartered it as a politically neutral education group.

"Why should they be property-tax exempt?" asked Ruth E. Prendergast, executive director of the ncbe "We don't think they should be granted privileges that other unions are not."

Ms. Prendergast said her group, which was established in 1983 expressly to attack the powerful teachers' union, is currently seeking a sponsor for legislation that would revoke the organization's Congressional charter.

A spokesman for the nea said the union had no comment on the ncbe's efforts.

A report by the rand Corporation outlining a comprehensive model for teacher licensing is now available.

"Licensing Teachers: Design for a Teaching Profession," was developed by rand for the Minnesota Board of Teaching, but can be adapted to other states, according to researchers.

It recommends that states fully license teachers only after they have completed a supervised internship and passed a rigorous examination that assesses their ability to teach.

A draft of the report had been released previously. (See Education Week, Nov. 26, 1986.)

Copies of the final version are available for $7.50 each from the Publications Department, The rand Corporation, 1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, Calif., 90406-2138.

The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory is offering a guidebook for teachers working as mentors or providing assistance to beginning teachers.

The Mentor Teacher Handbook contains a month-by-month listing of activities, as well as checklists, journal reprints, and a bibliography of resources.

Copies are $13.95, prepaid, from the nrel's Office of Marketing, 101 S.W. Main Street, Suite 500, Portland, Ore., 97204.

Mississippi has formed a new task force to examine all aspects of teaching with an eye toward making it more attractive as a career.

The group of 28 educators and laymen is co-sponsored by the state boards for precollegiate and higher education.

Items on its agenda include teacher-education programs, pay and working conditions, and a predicted teacher shortage.

--lo & br

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