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Two television programs airing this month take a look at exemplary teachers and some of the challenges of their profession.

"The Truth About Teachers" is a one-hour special distributed by Orbis Communications and hosted by the entertainer Whoopi Goldberg. The program is being syndicated to local stations, which may air it any time between Sept. 7 and Sept. 24. (Check local listings for days and times.)

The program profiles 10 teachers who are making a difference in their students' lives. Take John Barainca of Salt Lake City, for instance. His high-school science classes fly "missions" to outer space using a classroom simulator.

"The Truth About Teachers" is one of four programs in a series of syndicated specials under the collective title of "Raising Good Kids in Bad Times."

Meanwhile, the cable television Disney Channel begins a salute to teachers with a half-hour special at 8 P.M. on Sept. 13. The program, which will be hosted by First Lady Barbara Bush, will introduce 31 outstanding teachers who will appear in a series of five-minute profiles that will air on Mondays beginning Sept. 18 at 8:50 P.M., with repeats at 8:50 P.M. Thursdays and 3:50 P.M. Saturdays. (All times are Eastern.)

In the half-hour special, such well-known figures as Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, and the actor Tom Selleck will share their experiences with extraordinary teachers.

A one-hour documentary airing on public television on Sept. 19 will examine the controversies surrounding the issue of separation of church and state and the handling of those controversies by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court's Holy Battles," which will be hosted by the veteran newsman Roger Mudd, will air nationally on the Public Broadcasting Service at 9 P.M. (et); viewers should check listings because local public television schedules often vary.

Among the education topics to be examined are the High Court's ruling banning prayer in public schools and the controversy over whether student religious groups should be allowed to meet on school grounds. That issue, called equal-access, will be argued before the Court this term.

The Public Broadcasting Service's Education Clearinghouse has a new quarterly publication called "Learning File."

The publication, in binder format, is expected to be useful to anyone involved in instructional television, including teachers and school media specialists.

Annual subscriptions are $100 from the PBS Education Clearinghouse, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, Va. 22314.


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