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PBS Series To Examine Plight of Inner-City Schools

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Urban schools and the challenges they face--from dropouts to radical reform ideas--will be examined in a documentary series to be aired next month on the Public Broadcasting Service.

Plans were also announced last week for two major new television productions devoted to education, both to be aired in September.

CBS News plans a weeklong examination of the state of education in the United States, while PBS offers a follow-up to its acclaimed "Learning in America" series of last year.

In the meantime, PBS will air "Crisis: Urban Education," on April 10 and April 17 at 10 P.M. Eastern time. Times may vary on local PBS affiliates. The series consists of four half-hour segments that highlight the problems facing urban schools.

The series was produced by WNET-tv, a New York City public-television station, and the national broadcast has been underwritten by the International Business Machines Corporation.

The first segment of the series looks at the troubled Trenton, N.J., school system; later segments examine the dropout problem from the perspective of three New York City students; the successes exhibited at Central Park East High School in East Harlem, New York City; and the broad reform efforts underway in Rochester, N.Y.

A free program guide for the series can be obtained by writing to Crisis: Urban Education, Volunteer Center, WNET/Thirteen, 356 West 58th St., New York, N.Y. 10019.

CBS News will address education the week of Sept. 3-7 with a prime-time documentary, a national conference for business, education, and political leaders, and a late-night TV forum.

The centerpiece of the network's "Project: Education" will be a two-hour documentary on Sept. 6, "America's Toughest Assignment: Solving the Education Crisis." The veteran CBS newsman Charles Kuralt will anchor the special.

The education conference will take place in Washington, with portions to be broadcast during the documentary and during the on-the-air forum, which is scheduled for Sept. 6, after the late local news.

Ernest L. Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, will serve as educational consultant to CBS News for the project.

Also in September, PBS is planning to air "Learning in America: The Early Years," a follow-up to the five-part documentary series on American education that aired last year.

The new series, again to be anchored by the veteran newsman Roger Mudd, will focus on elementary education. It is being produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and WETA-tv, the Washington public station. The project is being funded by a grant from the Chrysler Corporation, which also underwrote the original series.

Exact airdates for the new series have not yet been set.--mw

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