George Bush is not the only one trying to give "liberalism" a bad name these days. An updated version of Who's Ruining Our Schools? The Case Against the nea Teacher Union, accuses the National Education Association of "pushing liberal dogma in the classroom" and of "brazenly" forcing its "leftist views" of politics and morality on children.
Published by the Save Our Schools Research and Education Foundation, a conservative nonprofit think tank, the book characterizes the nea as "a militant trade union" fighting to perpetuate educational "mediocrity."
The book's 1986 version was written by Dan C. Alexander Jr., founder of Save Our Schools.
Howard Carroll, a spokesman for the union, last week characterized Mr. Alexander's claims as "ridiculous."
He also noted that Mr. Alexander is serving a 12-year federal sentence on charges of extortion and racketeering, based on kickbacks he received while president of the Mobile County, Ala., school board.
"If it's a matter of credibility, I'll take the credibility of our members," said Mr. Carroll.
Paul H. Keast, executive vice president of Save Our Schools, last week said Mr. Alexander "is not associated with Save Our Schools any longer."
"The update is ours and the facts are ours," he said. Mr. Alexander remains the copyrighted author.
For those who want to view successful examples of school reform first-hand, Vincent Rogers, a University of Connecticut professor, has created a series of three-day seminars.
During the workshops, up to 75 educators will travel to one of five locations to see exemplary programs in operation. They include the Foxfire project in Rabun Gap, Ga., and the school-restructuring program in Rochester, N.Y.
"We want people to get a feel for the schools, and we can't do that without going there and spending time with the people who make them work," said Mr. Rogers, who developed the seminars for the Professional Development Institute of Phi Delta Kappa. The selected sites, he said, have clearly articulated goals, "reasonable" test scores, minimal absentee rates, and a low incidence of vandalism.
For more information, write Phil Harris, Phi Delta Kappa, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, Ind. 47402; or call (812) 339-1156.
Eight Missouri universities are developing a structured interview to test the attitudes of students who want to enroll in teacher-education programs.
The 54-question exam focuses on the personal and professional values that help make a good teacher. Selection Research Inc. of Lincoln, Neb., helped develop the screening device and holds the copyright on its format.--lo