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E.D., Pentagon Set 'Career Academies'

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WASHINGTON--The Education and Defense departments announced last week that they will jointly create 13 "career academies'' in eight urban school districts to provide at-risk high school students with leadership, vocational, and academic training.

The schools-within-schools are to open by next fall, the agencies said. The Defense Department's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps will provide about $5 million to pay for equipment and instructors, and the Education Department will provide $1 million in first-year grants from its vocational-education cooperative demonstration program.

"These academies will help certain students who are having a difficult time in the ordinary system,'' including those referred by a counselor for discipline problems, said Bruno Manno, the Education Department's assistant secretary for policy and planning.

The Philadelphia school district will receive about $281,000 to open two sites, while the Los Angeles school district will get about $206,000 for four sites, Mr. Manno said.

The Jefferson County, Ky., public schools will get $154,000 for one site and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolinia will get $119,000 for two sites.

Four other districts--Buffalo, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Washington--will each get a grant to open a smaller site.

The districts, which competed for the grants, will have to contribute varying amounts to the program, said Mr. Manno.

The academies will enroll 150 to 250 students each. They will be patterned on the career-academy model used extensively in Philadelphia, combined with the type of discipline and leadership training available in traditional J.R.O.T.C. programs, Mr. Manno said.

Students, who will participate voluntarily, will not be committed to a military career. They will be considered enrolled in J.R.O.T.C., receive instruction from retired military personnel, and could wear military-type uniforms during that part of the school day in which they are performing J.R.O.T.C. drills, Mr. Manno said.

The programs are designed to develop confidence, discipline, and responsibility, and to provide students with the support they need to succeed in school and in jobs, according to the Education Department.

Funding for the academies stems from the "defense adjustment assistance initiative'' announced by President Bush in May, which calls for the increased use of Defense Department resources for education, job training, and other objectives.

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