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Goals for Urban Schools Offered by Boards Group

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The Council of Urban Boards of Education last week unveiled six goals for improving urban schools that it says will complement the broader education goals set by President Bush and the nation's governors.

The council, a component of the National School Boards Association, ''enthusiastically supports" the national education goals that grew out of last year's "education summit," said Ulysses A. Spiva, chairman of the council.

"A major shortcoming, however, is that these goals do not directly address the very critical educational needs of urban communities, where nearly half our nation's students are located," Mr. Spiva added.

To fill that gap, the council worked with school-board members and administrators across the country to formulate its own recommendations for improving urban schools.

Without taking such steps, Mr. Spiva contended, the national goals cannot be fulfilled.

The council's goals are:

  • To provide greater and more equitable funding for education, including "achieving a more equal distribution of funding for urban areas in relation to non-urban areas" and funding for the special needs of urban students.
  • To achieve racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic integration in metropolitan areas.
  • To promote excellence in urban districts by a variety of strategies, including achieving a proper balance between local decisionmaking and local accountability for results.
  • To provide students with a multicultural education and to assist urban school districts in developing affirmative-action policies.
  • To strengthen the role of local school boards as the "primary and ultimately accountable governing body of public schools."
  • To create a greater public awareness about, and confidence in, the benefits of an urban education.

Mr. Spiva called on parents, business leaders, social-service and civic organizations, and local, state, and national political leaders to join in working to see that the goals for urban schools are met.

"At the same time," he said, "the governors and President Bush must be held politically accountable for successful implementation of the six national education goals."

"Having laid the basic groundwork and raised the height of the hurdle on the field of play," he added, "the governors and President Bush--and other state and federal leaders--cannot now retreat to the sidelines, content to wait and see how high we can jump."

The council has developed several committees to help local school leaders meet its goals, and has formed a "special action network" of one school-board member from each of the 71 districts represented by the council. Among other activities, the network will develop strategies and lobby for the recommended programs at the state and federal levels.

The Council of the Great City Schools also has developed a set of education goals for the nation's largest cities through the work of its national urban-education task force. The nsba is a member of that task force.

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