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Copyright 1988 The telephone survey of 308 teachers was commissioned by the Times from Market and Opinion Research International. It asked teachers such simple questions as: How many millimeters are in a meter? What is sodium chloride better known as? And who is Nelson Mandela?

The Oct. 30 Times article concluded that British teachers "have emerged as incapable of giving reliable answers" to children's questions.

Although 74 percent knew that Charles Dickens was the author of Little Dorrit, for instance, the majority could not spell such simple words as "embarrass" or "satellite."

Moreover, almost all of those surveyed made some mistakes in answering the questions on current affairs, geography, spelling, math, science, history, and literature, the Times reported.

The paper's advice? If you want to know who signed the Magna Carta, ''don't ask a teacher, find a librarian instead."

A task force of the Missouri Education Association has recommended that schools adopt a more flexible, year-round schedule.

The committee on quality education presented its recommendations during the mea's annual convention this month.

The change to a more flexible school year was proposed based on research findings that children are likely to lose academic gains over long summer vacations, said Judy Feryn, the union's director of communications. The report noted, however, that Missouri's schools would first have to become air-conditioned.

Delegates voted to postpone final approval of the report until spring.

Other recommendations included giving public schools the major responsibility for early-childhood education and reducing class size in grades K-12.

Forty-three percent of those belonging to the West Virginia Education Association would consider switching to another union, according to a poll by its competitor.

The survey was conducted for the West Virginia Federation of Teachers by its parent organization, the aft It was based on a random survey of 352 teachers statewide, approximately 72 percent of whom belong to the National Education Association affiliate.

But Kayetta Meadows, president of the 17,000-member wvea, questioned the validity of the poll. "We have lost very few members at all to the federation," she said.--lo

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