MacNeil-Lehrer Productions and WETA, the Public Broadcasting System affiliate in Washington, are co-producing a five-part series on education to be aired in prime time on PBS stations next spring.
"Learning in America,'' underwritten by a $3.9-million grant from the Chrysler Corporation, will be hosted by the veteran political correspondent Roger Mudd, who held positions at both NBC News and CBS News before joining the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour.
Through a blending of documentary reporting, interviews, and discussions among prominent educators and policymakers, the series will explore such topics as elementary and early-childhood education, teacher quality, testing, development of a common curriculum, dropout retraining, functional illiteracy, and the allocation of economic resources.
Its first scheduled broadcast will carry the viewer to Japan for an examination of the differences between U.S. and Japanese high schools.
Planners suggest, in a statement released this month announcing the project, that the broadcasts will provide "the most comprehensive public forum ever on this vitally important national issue.''
A 20-minute video on school-library media programs will be previewed in July at the annual conference of the American Library Association.
The Information Power Video, produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica, was filmed in seven exemplary school-library media centers and features the education-reform leader John I. Goodlad, a professor at the University of Washington.
Karen Whitney, president of the American Association of School Librarians, will include the video in her presentation to the convention. It was produced to incorporate graphically points contained in the association's report, "Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.''
"Viewers of the video will soon see,'' Mr. Goodlad says, "that since the last guidelines were published 13 years ago, libraries have been redefined.''
For further information, contact the Public Information Office, American Library Association, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611; (312) 944-6780.
KIDSNET, a Washington-based nonprofit organization promoting the educational potential of electronic media for children, has received a $150,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to improve its database and conduct a survey of broadcast, print, and audio-visual materials in schools and libraries.
"Radio and television productions can enrich and extend classroom curricula,'' said John E. Corbally, president of the foundation, "but more often than not, these materials are used inefficiently or inappropriately. KIDSNET solves that problem.''
The MacArthur funding will enable the computerized clearinghouse to "enhance the evaluative strengths'' of its database, officials said, by including reviews, critiques, and program-awards information.
A $20,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, also announced this spring, will allow KIDSNET to develop greater coverage of programming targeted for minority children.
Further information is available from KIDSNET, 6856 Eastern Ave., N.W., Suite 208, Washington, D.C. 20012; (202) 291-1400.
CompuServe's Education Forum is offering a regular series of "online events''--the latest, a chance to talk over reform issues with Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers--to educators who subscribe to the network and have personal computers equipped with a modem and telecommunications software.
Mr. Shanker was scheduled to take part last Thursday in a 90-minute interactive computer conference sponsored by the forum.
Chuck Lynd, manager of the forum and online conference moderator, said that "teachers no longer feel isolated when they can communicate with their colleagues and with leaders like Albert Shanker by simply logging on to a computer network.''
He called the network, which is operated by LINC Resources Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, "a new kind of resource that helps empower teachers.'' In addition to the computer conferences, network members exchange information on a wide variety of topics through the forum's message board, read or "download'' files from the forum's libraries, and share public-domain software, he said.
For further details, contact Mr. Lynd at LINC Resources, 3857 North High St., Columbus, Ohio, 43214; (614) 263-5462.
Two projects of interest to educators were among the 18 independent productions chosen this spring to receive funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
"The Road to Brown,'' two 60-minute documentaries giving the personal histories of firsthand participants in the great cases and events of the modern civil-rights movement, will receive production funding from CPB "The Toughest College Entrance Exam,'' a 60-minute production using a series of personal profiles to convey the impact of rising college costs on Americans, particularly the disadvantaged, will receive research and development funds. --MSR