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Immediate Steps Urged To Address Educational Needs of Black Youths

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Black children can make an immediate improvement in their education by doing more homework and watching less television, a national gathering of educators and community leaders has concluded.$

The recommendations were among several adopted by the 400 participants in this month's National Conference on Educating Black Children.3

Claude A. Mayberry, chairman of the conference, said the goals do not mitigate the need for additional school funding and improved educational policies.$

Instead, he said, the purpose of the recommendations is to mobilize parents, communities, and businesses to quickly address the urgent needs of black youths.0

"These are the kinds of things that can take place in the community with just commitment and effort ... within the next two or three years at most," Mr. Mayberry said. "We don't think it makes sense just to talk about initiatives for the year 2000 when we need things to happen right now."3

The goals outlined at the conference, held in Hunt Valley, Md., will be discussed at six regional meet0 ings in an effort to stimulate the de0 velopment of regional and local ini0 tiatives, Mr. Mayberry said.$0&

Among other goals, conference participants recommended that:

The amount of time that African-0 American students watch television be reduced by as much as 50 percent.4 Conference participants also rec0 ommended that parents be provided with guidelines on how to select meaningful television programs and how to encourage useful activities to replace television watching.

The amount of time that children spend on homework be increased by at least half an hour a day.

In addition, teachers should be pro0 vided with guidelines for making homework assignments more mean0 ingful, and parents and community leaders should be given guidance on creating better environments for studying, the conference-goers said.$African-American students be as0 sured equal and early access to cur0 ricula that will enable them to enter higher education or the workforce.

Steps be taken to abolish policies that result in such practices as tracking and the indiscriminate re ferral of students to special-educa tion classes.3

The explicit teaching of values be re-established in the curriculum, the home, and the family.0

Every classroom have an equita ble share of core curricular materi als published by African-Americans.

Mr. Mayberry, a prominent black publisher and a member of the steer ing committee of the National Coun cil on Educating Black Children, said conference participants also recommended that teacher training be revised; that the science curricu lum be improved; that more scholar ships be made available to blacks who want to enter teaching; and that understandable curriculum guides be distributed to parents.0

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