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Teachers in private secondary schools have more positive opinions about their principal, school administration, fellow teachers, and students than teachers in public schools do, a study by the U.S. Education Department has found.

Secondary School Teachers' Opinions: Public and Private Schools combines data from two previous federal studies: the 1983-84 "Administrator and Teacher Survey," part of the department's High School and Beyond study, and the 1985-86 Private School Survey.

According to the new report, prepared by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of the private-school teachers studied expressed satisfaction with their school administration and professional colleagues. By comparison, it says, only about 60 to 70 percent of public-school teachers did.

The private-school teachers were also more pleased with their students, according to the report. More than half of the public-school teachers said that students' poor attitutes, tardiness, and class-cutting had an adverse effect on the classroom. And 38 percent said misconduct or substance abuse was a problem.

Only about a third of the private-school teachers said student attitudes interfered with teaching, however. And about one in six expressed concerns over absenteeism, discipline, or substance-abuse problems.

Both groups ranked the development of literacy skills as the most important goal for students. But teachers in religious private schools gave equal emphasis to moral and religious training. And teachers in all types of private schools gave more weight to the achievement of personal growth than teachers in public schools.

Boston's Roman Catholic schools need more financial backing from the church and more support from parents, delegates to the synod of the archdiocese said last week.

In a statement, the synod urged more parents to send their children to Catholic schools and asked that the archdiocese spend more to keep the schools open.

The group of some 200 clergy, nuns, and lay people also called for increased giving by Catholics for education.

"Where possible, Catholic parents must choose a Catholic faith-centered education for their children and become active in the educational process," the mission paper says.

The statement acknowledges that such a policy requires parents to make financial sacrifices "and may continue to do so" through future tuition increases.

It asks the archdiocese to make capital improvements on older school buildings, provide aid for parents who cannot afford tuition, and find ways to maintain schools that individual parishes are unable to support.

The archdiocese, which provides about $2.5 million for inner-city schools and parishes and $600,000 for scholarships, is studying ways to create an endowment for the schools.

The University of California and three other colleges have joined forces to help one of the oldest U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools upgrade its curriculum to become the first college-preparatory school for American Indians.

The university's Riverside and Irvine campuses have agreed to provide student recruitment, curriculum planning, and tutoring assistance for the Sherman Intertribal Academy, created out of the Sherman Indian High School in Riverside.

Loma Linda University, California Baptist College, and Riverside City College are also providing assistance to the school.

The academy enrolled its first freshman class this year. It will provide courses needed for admission to the university as part of a larger goal of increasing the access of American Indians to higher education.

Currently, only 4 percent to 5 percent of the school's graduates enroll in four-year colleges.

After protests by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a Temple Terrace, Fla., church school has canceled its annual "slave auction" fundraiser, in which students dressed as clowns work one day for the student who buys them.

The 750-student Temple Heights Christian School has held such auctions for more than 15 years, raising between $1,000 and $1,500 annually. The school is owned by the First Baptist Church of Temple Heights.

The naacp got involved when a black student at the school complained about the auction. School officials said the event was not intended to demean blacks, but agreed to permanently cancel the auction to avoid offending the black community.

Two liability-insurance firms created by independent schools and colleges have agreed to assume separate roles in their field, in hopes of making their operations more efficient.

Under a recent agreement, United Educators Risk Retention Group Inc., a Vermont-based firm owned by its policyholders, will write policies for participating institutions. The other company, School College and University Underwriters Ltd. (scuul), which has offered identical coverage, will sell its policies to United and provide reinsurance for United's policies.

The two companies were created 15 months ago, at a time when the liability-insurance crunch left many schools facing sharp premium increases and restricted coverage. They now hold policies for 380 independent schools and colleges.--kg & rr

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