National News Roundup
The National Commission on AIDS has called on President Clinton and Congress to "exercise leadership that has been absent in the past'' and make AIDS-prevention programs part of a "comprehensive health curriculum for American schools.''
The commission last week released a report entitled "Preventing H.I.V./AIDS in Adolescents,'' the panel's first report devoted to adolescents and AIDS. The commission was established during the Reagan Administration and charged with advising Congress and the President on AIDS-related matters.
The 15-member panel, composed of doctors, researchers, and three nonvoting Cabinet secretaries, called on Mr. Clinton to develop a "national prevention initiative''--a strategic plan that would facilitate federal AIDS-prevention objectives under an AIDS coordinator, whom President Clinton has said he would name soon.
The Administration's budget proposal for fiscal 1994 calls for a 25 percent increase in AIDS funding, although none of the funds are earmarked for prevention, said Thomas Brandt, the commission's spokesman. The report also calls for simplifying federal funding for adolescent programs, establishing training workshops for teachers, and expanding research on adolescent health.
Citing the rising number of adolescents infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, the report also urges that AIDS-education programs stress abstinence from sexual activity as an important component in reducing the risk of infection.
"We will never break the back of the epidemic without a tough, explicitly, culturally appropriate delivery of facts to our teenagers,'' said Dr. David E. Rogers, the commission's vice chairman. "We must de-politicize the message, get the schools and parents on board, and get [the message] out to our teens.''
The nation's 100 largest school districts make up less than 1 percent of all districts, but educate nearly one-quarter of the nation's public school students, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report focuses on the nation's largest districts in the 1990-91 school year, and contains data on enrollments, demographics, graduation rates, and special-education enrollments.
Copies of the report, "Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary/Secondary School Districts in the United States,'' are available for $3.25 each from New Orders, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15250-7954. The stock number is 065-000-00562-0.