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Calling education reform an essential part of any economic-development strategy, the National Governors' Association and the U.S. Agency for International Development last week met to discuss aspects of American reform experiences that might be exported to Asian and Near Eastern nations.

"We have no magic talismans to hand out to the rest of the world," Chester E. Finn Jr., a professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University, said. "But there are some commonalities" of successful reforms.

For example, he and others suggested, effective restructuring efforts in the United States have focused on student performance, and have involved parents and business leaders, as well as educators.

David W. Hornbeck, a former state superintendent of education in Maryland, noted that school restructuring in Asia and the Near East likely will require new resources. But, he said, schools must first ask themselves what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it before seeking new funds.

In addition, noted Thomas Nicastro, chief of the human-resources division of the aid's bureau for Asia, the Near East, and Europe, countries can make major changes by redistributing existing resources and by seeking funds from nongovernmental sources.

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