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Events Set To Mark 10th Anniversary Of the Publication of A Nation at Risk

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The 10th anniversary next month of the release of A Nation at Risk, the federal report credited with quickening the ongoing school-reform movement, is being marked by a modest number of events nationwide.

The federal government, however, appears to have no firm plans to commemorate the release of the report.

A spokesman for the U.S. Education Department said last week that the agency has made no announcements regarding recognition of the anniversary by Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

Mr. Riley has been invited to attend at least one commemorative event, in California, but its organizers say they have not heard whether the Secretary or another department official will attend.

Former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, who appointed the National Commission on Excellence in Education in 1981, will be a speaker at the April 8 conference at the University of California at Berkeley.

In an interview last week, Mr. Bell said he submitted a proposal last year to the Education Department to reconvene the national commission for a status report on education reform.

The proposal for the event, which Mr. Bell said would have cost less than $50,000, was submitted near the end of President Bush's term in office to Diane Ravitch, the assistant secretary for educational research and improvement.

"I think that sort of fell between the two administrations,'' Mr. Bell said, noting that he never received a response from the department.

Ms. Ravitch, who joined the Brookings Institution in Washington after leaving the government, said the proposal never crossed her desk.

"I'm sure it went through channels,'' she said. "I certainly made no decision not to fund it. I just never saw that.''

Successes and Deficiencies

David P. Gardner, the president of the Hewlett Foundation and the chairman of the panel that produced "A Nation at Risk,'' is also participating in the seminar at Berkeley.

"It's hardly possible it has been 10 years,'' he said in a recent interview. "I think it is useful to take note of these anniversaries, mostly to consider what successes and what deficiencies we have experienced.''

Other conference participants include Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, and James Kelly, the president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The conference will also mark the inauguration of the university's new Consortium for the Study of Society and Education, an education-policy institute.

Two Other Meetings

At least two other meetings to examine the state of education reform are planned for next month:

  • The Education Writers Association has selected "10 Years After: A Nation (Still) at Reform'' as the theme for for its annual conference in Boston April 15-18.

Among the scheduled speakers are Ernest L. Boyer, the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Keith B. Geiger, the president of the National Education Association; and Marc S. Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy.

  • George Washington University in Washington will host a colloquium on education reform on April 15 featuring Mr. Shanker of the A.F.T.

Television Specials

The Public Broadcasting Service next month will broadcast two education documentaries tied to the anniversary.

On April 16 at 9 P.M. Eastern time, PBS airs "Liberating America's Schools,'' a look at the school-choice movement.

The one-hour documentary, hosted by the Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, examines public school choice programs in East Harlem in New York City, Minnesota, and Milwaukee's pioneering private school choice plan.

"America's Education Revolution: A Report from the Front'' airs on PBS on April 23 at 9 P.M. Eastern time.

Narrated by Tom Kean, the president of Drew University and the former governor of New Jersey, the one-hour special will examine reform efforts in East Harlem; Gainesville, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; and the state of Kentucky.

Viewers should check their local television listings for the exact dates and times of the shows.

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