National News Roundup
Efforts to offer interconnected services to children and families by linking schools and other agencies should offer a wide array of services, take steps to ensure families that need help receive it, focus on the needs of the entire family, and promote "equity among all partners" in the effort, advises a new resource guide from the National School Boards Association.
The guide, released at an N.S.B.A. conference in Washington last week, is designed to help school-board members and other policymakers forge interagency collaborations by offering guidance on how to structure such efforts. It raises policy questions and outlines existing barriers.
The publication includes descriptions of 171 interagency collaborations cross-referenced by category, target population, and school district. It also includes a sample collaboration document, a case study of how one collaboration dealt with the issue of confidentiality, and a description of the role of case managers.
Barriers to collaboration identified in the guide include challenges to conventional decisionmaking approaches, inconsistent funding requirements, collective-bargaining agreements, time constraints, and a perception of added responsibilities and reduced power.
To overcome such obstacles, the guide recommends defining goals clearly; allowing ample time to build collaborative relationships; inviting a wide range of public, private, nonprofit, business, and academic partners to participate; and getting support from key leaders as well as agency personnel.
Information on ordering copies of "LinkUp: A Resource Directory" is available from the National School Boards Association, 1680 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314; telephone (703) 838-6722.
Educators identified as outstanding in their profession surpass the general public in favoring an extended school year, but fall behind the public in support of "public-school report cards," education vouchers, and a national curriculum and examination system, a survey reports. The survey, released last week by the Burger King Corporation, polled nearly 500 current and former teachers and principals of the year on their views of the national education goals and specific education reform proposals. The questionnaire was based on an annual Gallup Poll on education.
According to the report, 65 percent of the teachers and principals favored extending the school year by 30 days, compared with 51 percent of the public polled by Gallup. In contrast, 73 percent of the public--but only 59 percent of educators--favored report cards that would evaluate public-school performance.
Sixty-eight percent of the public favored establishing a national curriculum, a proposal that garnered the approval of only 27 percent of the educators. Support for a voucher system to fund wider parental choice in education received less public support, about 50 percent, with only 22 percent of educators endorsing such a measure.
The Council of Chief State School Officers has announced plans for developing "a national consensus" on the shape and content of new history and geography examinations for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The new exams are scheduled to be administered in 1994 to students in grades 4, 8, and 12.
Gordon M. Ambach, executive director of the c.c.s.s.o., said the organization will hold six public hearings on the project and enlist the advice of a number of national organizations with sometimes competing viewpoints on social-studies issues, such as the National Council for History Education and the National Council for the Social Studies.
In addition to helping determine the content of the tests, he said, the consensus groups will discuss how to apply "state-of the-art concepts of performance, portfolio, and other new forms of assessment to the domains of history and geography."
The first hearing, dealing with the geography tests, was scheduled for Oct. 26 in St. Paul, Minn. .
Vol. 11, Issue 09, Page 2