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Fernandez To Lead 'Summit' on Urban Education

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Washington--Officials of the Council of the Great City Schools confirmed last week that the organization will host a "summit" on urban education early next year to agree on plans for attaining the goals set for member school districts this year in a process similar to the national goals-setting effort launched by President Bush.

The council comprises the 45 largest school districts in the nation, which collectively educate some 12 percent of all U.S. students.

At a press conference here, officials announced that Joseph A. Fernandez, chancellor of the New York City Schools, will head a newly formed task force on urban education.

The purpose of that 11-member panel, said G. Holmes Braddock, president-elect of the council, will be "to mobilize our urban school districts and to mobilize national leadership in an effort to help urban school systems reach their goals."

The council in March adopted a set of six goals similar to those developed by Mr. Bush and the nation's governors, but geared to the specific characteristics and needs of urban students. (See Education Week, March 28, 1990.)

Along with Mr. Fernandez, five superintendents and five school-board members will serve on the panel.

Mr. Braddock said the task force will develop a "plan of action" by early next year, and that the plan will be amended and ratified at a national urban-education summit in January.

Mr. Fernandez described the document the task force will prepare as ''a major strategic plan" that will encompass "how urban areas are going to implement the goals that have been established."

He stressed the need to involve as many educators as possible in the process, saying, "It's critical that we get all the right players."

Endorsed by Other Groups

The council's goals have been endorsed by 15 different education groups, including the National Education Association and the American Association of School Administrators.

Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said at the press conference that the a.f.t. "is very happy to serve as a resource" to the task force.

The council's executive director, Samuel B. Husk, said the plan would include suggestions for re4form in elementary and secondary schools. He predicted that such ideas as changing the K-3 curriculum, improving the teaching of writing skills, and giving teachers more control over schools would more than likely appear in the final report.

Superintendents serving on the task force are Constance E. Clayton of Philadelphia, Evie Dennis of Denver, Thomas Payzant of San Diego, Robert Peterkin of Milwaukee, and Larry Zenke of Jacksonville, Fla. School-board members on the panel are Sylvia Campoy of Tucson, Ariz.; Margo Fox of St. Paul; Rachel Hedding of Rochester, N.Y.; Isaac Northern of Nashville; and Rita Walters of Los Angeles.

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