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Column One: Teachers

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The National Education Association-Wichita in Kansas has turned down a merger proposal offered by its rival, the Wichita Federation of Teachers.

The two unions have been fierce competitors over the past decade, creating a tense atmosphere that the federation believes could best be smoothed by creating a union to represent all of the city's 3,300 teachers.

Despite the recent no vote by its leadership, the association "did not take a carte-blanche position against merger," said Rodney VanZandt, associate executive director of the Kansas-n.e.a.

But, he added, "a great many of us feel that it is not right."

The association has asked its faculty representatives to vote on whether they want to see the n.e.a.-Wichita explore other unification proposals, Mr. VanZandt said.


The Cleveland Teachers Union fears that a new requirement that all newly hired teachers live within the Cleveland city limits will make it harder for the district to recruit teachers, particularly those who are members of minority groups.

The residency rule, passed last month by the board of education, does not apply to teachers currently employed by the district.

But Richard DeColibus, president of the c.t.u., said he is worried that the restriction will make Cleveland appear a less attractive place to teach.

"It's a terrible idea," Mr. DeColibus said of the rule, approved on a 4-to-3 vote by board members. "The perception of living in Cleveland is not that good."

All of the district's classified employees already are required to live in the city. The board expanded that requirement to teachers with little debate.


The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund has given a $1-million grant to Recruiting New Teachers Inc., which sponsors a public-service campaign encouraging people to consider teaching as a career.

The money will be used to sponsor national conferences in the spring of 1991 and 1992 focusing on minority teacher recruitment and attracting mid-career professionals to teaching.

It also will enable the organization to establish an operator-assisted hot line and to expand its teacher-referral network.

Since the public-service messages began airing in 1988, Recruiting New Teachers reports that it has received more than 375,000 calls; nearly 111,000 callers have taken advantage of the free referral service that links candidates with schools, colleges and universities, and state education departments nationwide.--ab

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