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10 University-School Partnerships Win Knight Grants

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The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last week announced that 10 university-school partnerships will share a $2.4 million award in a recently redesigned grants program.

Last fall, the Miami-based philanthropy announced plans to revise its "Excellence in Education'' program--which had focused on improving undergraduate education at liberal-arts colleges--to emphasize collaboration between universities and public schools. (See Education Week, Nov. 11, 1992.)

"Our trustees were eager to see some of our funds going to colleges and universities [be used] to strengthen the whole education continuum, to encourage a perspective on education that says it is an ongoing process and not something that is easily segmented into separable levels,'' said A. Richardson Love Jr., the foundation's education program officer.

Grants will be awarded to the higher-education institutions in the partnerships. The institutions are California State University at Dominguez Hills; Florida State University; the University of North Dakota; Juanita College, Huntington, Pa.; the University of Pennsylvania; and Columbia College, Columbia, S.C.

In addition, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and nearby Central Piedmont Community College will share grants, as will Mount Holyoke College, Amherst, Mass., and Hampshire College, South Hadley, Mass.

Mary Kim Prichard, an associate professor of mathematics at U.N.C.-Charlotte, said the grant had spurred the university to develop a more formal relationship with the local community college in an initiative to improve the math curriculum of area public schools.

"That's the kind of thing you really don't get started unless you get a grant like to this to push you in that direction,'' she said.

In addition to helping the public schools, Mr. Love said, the participating colleges and universities also "have something to learn.''

"Too often in the past, some colleges and universities have approached the schools with 'You have all the problems and we have all the answers,' '' he noted. "Certainly, colleges and universities bear some responsibility for the training of school teachers and administrators.''

About 35 college-school partnerships were invited to apply for the awards, which foundation officials have described as the first formalization of Knight's interest in precollegiate education.

This shift in priorities is also reflected in Knight's recent appointment of two educators from the K-12 realm to its education-advisory committee: John Porter, the former state superintendent in Michigan and a former Detroit superintendent, and Holly Houston, the president of the Center for Learning, Assessment, and School Structure in Geneseo, N.Y.

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