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Betty Castor, Florida's school chief, last month announcing start of literacy program for Orlando 5th graders.
Betty Castor, Florida's commissioner of education, has been appointed to a 25-member committee that will prepare the education platform for the Democratic National Convention, to be held in July in Atlanta.

Gov. James J. Blanchard of Michigan was named to head the committee.

Ms. Castor said she was "excited at the opportunity to create the highest possible visibility for education at the federal level."

"I have some very specific areas in which the states and the nation need to be going in the area of early-childhood education and dropout prevention," she said. "This committee gives the opportunity to really showcase Florida and for Florida to shine in the educational arena."

In October, Ms. Castor had met with Paul Kirk, the Democratic party's national chair6man, to express her desire to win a seat on the committee. She was nominated for the job by the state's Democratic Party chairman.


Charges have been dropped against Joe Clark, the tough-talking high-school principal who made the cover of Time magazine last week after a nationally reported war of words over accusations that he had unfairly expelled 66 failing students without due process. But officials in Paterson, N.J., say the controversy is not over yet.

In a meeting last week, the board of education voted unanimously to put the decision of whether to discipline Mr. Clark in the hands of Superintendent Frank Napier.

Mr. Napier, a close friend of Mr. Clark, will investigate the incident and make recommendations at a Feb. 14 board meeting.


In a highly unusual move, James Scamman, superintendent of schools in Denver, has left his post to accept a lesser job in the system.

Mr. Scamman, who was appointed superintendent in 1985, resigned late last month and asked the Denver board of education to reassign him to the job of executive director of curriculum services for the district. He will earn $56,660 in his new position--$22,000 less than his current salary.

Although the school board had been divided over Mr. Scamman's performance, it did not put pressure on him to resign, said Carole McCotter, a board member.


U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, Democrat of Colorado, may be out of the race for President, but she is determined to keep family issues high on the candidates' agenda.

Ms. Schroeder is one of the moving forces behind "The Great American Family Tour," a multi-city road show that she says is designed to "get family issues front and center" in the 1988 campaign.

Other participants in the tour include T. Berry Brazelton, a pediatrician at Harvard University; Gary David Goldberg, producer and creator of the television show "Family Ties"; and Diana Meehan, director of the Institute for the Study of Women and Men at the University of Southern California.

The group will conduct the Southern half of its tour Feb. 21-24, stopping in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Atlanta; Columbia, S.C.; and Little Rock, Ark. Their first stop, last month, was in Portsmouth, N.H.

Among the ideas being promoted at the public forums are family medical leave; affordable, high-quality child care; pay equity; and better housing and health-care services.

An organizing kit distributed during the tour tells families how they can help "speak out" on such issues. Local organizations, such as school groups, the United Way, and day-care centers, are cosponsoring the tour in specific cities.


Five public-school teachers were named "Christa McAuliffe Educators" last week by the National Education Association's foundation for the improvement of education. Their selection was based on their innovative use of technology in the classroom.

The award includes a $5,000 honorarium and will give the winners the chance to design a summer teachers' conference on integrating technology with instruction.

Donna Rhodes, executive director of the foundation, said the teachers were selected for their "creativity, innovation, risk-taking, leadership, and dedication to pioneering uncharted frontiers--qualities exemplified by the teacher-astronaut who lost her life in the Jan. 28, 1986, explosion of the Challenger spacecraft."

The foundation established the program as part of its new Christa McAuliffe Institute, which is designed to help teachers take a leading role in restructuring schools.

The five McAuliffe educators include: Merlyn Chan, a 6th-grade science teacher at Skyline Elementary School in Daly City, Calif; Ronald Fortunato, a science teacher at the Norfolk Technical Vocational School in Norfolk, Va.; Jeff Holte, a 6th-grade science, social-studies, and communications teacher at Central Middle School in Eden Prairie, Minn.; Gail Morse, a science teacher at J.M. Alexander Junior High School in Huntersville, N.C.; and Alan November, a teacher in the information and science department at Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, Mass.

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