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University Unveils Proposal To Train Future Leaders in Business, Education

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The popular idea of business-education partnerships would be adapted to programs that train future leaders in the two fields, under an unusual plan being pursued by officials of the University of Virginia.

James M. Cooper, dean of the university's Curry School of Education, and John W. Rosenblum, dean of its Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business, unveiled the proposal last week in New York City at a national forum for education and business leaders.

The plan calls for faculty members from the business school to help teacher educators apply the "case method" approach of using real-life classroom situations to identify common instructional problems. The business professors would also share their knowledge of management techniques and systems with prospective school administrators.

Members of the education faculty, in turn, would incorporate materials and seminars on educational issues into the business curriculum.

Even though professionals in the two fields are increasingly focusing on the need to collaborate, Mr. Cooper said, programs to prepare those entering the fields "basically go on different tracks."

Mr. Cooper said the two deans have been discussing their proposal with faculty members at the 16,000-student public university and are seeking corporate support to help underwrite the costs of the plan.

Schools as Child-Care 'Hub'

The Virginia proposal was disclosed at a one-day forum, called "Shaping America's Future II," organized by the National Educational Service Foundation.

The gathering of some 20 leaders from education and business focused primarily on early-childhood issues. The participants endorsed a proposal to make the nation's schools the "hub" of a comprehensive system of child care and early-childhood education.

They agreed that schools should extend their hours to operate before- and after-school child care, and should offer early-childhood education, health screening, training for child-care providers, and programs to educate parents about prenatal care and child care.

The proposal is based on the "school of the 21st century" model that has been advanced by Edward F. Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology at Yale University and the founder of the Head Start program. (See Education Week, Feb. 3, 1988.)

Mr. Zigler, who attended last week's meeting, said panelists cited the need for a "forward plan" that would "take systems that impact the child, tie them all together, and see that schools impact all those systems."

Another participant, Joseph Shenker, president of the Bank Street College of Education, said those attending acknowledged that it is unrealistic to expect schools to deliver all the needed services. But, he said, the panelists envision schools becoming "the child-coordinating agency in the community for the overall well-being of the youngster."

The group called on corporations to be "strong advocates for this type of change" by lobbying for child-care legislation and by implementingchild-care programs and employee-leave policies that respond to the needs of working parents.

The Sept. 25 forum was a follow-up to a meeting last February that highlighted the need for a long-term investment in early-childhood intervention for disadvantaged children.

The earlier session included some of the same participants and was also sponsored by the National Educational Service Foundation. The organization, based in Bloomington, Ind., works to forge links between business, education, and government in addressing education issues.

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