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Teachers: Column One

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Following the lead of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and the Minnesota Education Association, which in September collaborated on a one-year moratorium on bargaining elections, some locals in the outer-ring suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul have decided to join forces.

The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers affiliates in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district late last month voted "overwhelmingly'' in favor of merging, according to Daryl Schmidt, the group's interim president.

The Dakota County United Educators, which is setting up offices and preparing to elect officers next spring, will now include 1,400 to 1,500 members.

The affiliates signed a tentative merger agreement almost two years ago, after the state union organizations completed nine months of merger negotiations without coming to a formal agreement.

The recent decision to set a moratorium on raids gave the state union leaders time to experiment with more collaboration while talks continue, according to union officials.

The Dakota County venture seems to have been a catalyst for other locals in the state to merge. At least 11 other affiliates have contacted Dakota officials to find out more details about the agreement there, said Mr. Schmidt. And affiliates with tentative arrangements in the towns of Foley and Pipestone could be headed toward permanent agreements, he added.

Some 300 returning Peace Corps volunteers are expected to fill teaching vacancies this year, under a $1 million expansion of a program to enlist former volunteers to teach in the public schools.

With a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 20 former volunteers will earn master's degrees in education from the University of Michigan while teaching in the Detroit public schools.

Another 10 will teach in U.S. schools along the Mexican-American border while attending the University of Texas at El Paso, thanks to a grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

In addition to earning degrees in education, volunteers are encouraged to pursue public-health or small-business-development degrees while serving the local community.

For more information about the Peace Corps Fellows/U.S.A. Program, contact: Henry Fernandez, Director, University Programs, Peace Corps, 1990 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20526.--J.R.

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