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Column One: Research

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The National Endowment for the Arts last week announced a two-year research project to demonstrate how design can be used as an educational tool.

Under the project, Organization and Management Group Inc., a Philadelphia-based research firm, will analyze schools and classrooms that use design in their instruction in all subject areas. The study will examine, in particular, school support for the programs, teacher training, and the role of design professionals and community organizations.

In the fall of 1994, the endowment plans to hold a national conference to review the findings and to recommend ways to incorporate design into the curriculum and teacher-education programs.

To nominate teachers for the study, call (800) 883-3744 between 1 and 5 P.M., or write O.M.G. Inc., 117 South 17th St., #2100, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.

Concluding that schools appear to have an effect on high school graduates' performance in the labor market, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have begun a study to determine the school characteristics that benefit students' job prospects.

Speaking last week at a seminar sponsored by the U.S. Education Department, researchers from the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce said that a review of existing studies suggests that some factors are associated with higher wages and fewer spells of unemployment. These factors include the quantity and type of vocational programs available to students, their work experience, and their educational attainment, the researchers found.

In the next phase of the study, the researchers said they plan to examine the High School and Beyond data base--which provides information on the high school records and work experience of the high school class of 1982--to analyze students who went directly into the workforce.

"Schools indeed have an effect on labor-market performance,'' said Anita Summers, a professor emeritus of public policy at Penn's Wharton School and a co-author of the study.

The summer 1993 issue of the Harvard Educational Review contains an article from an author with an unusual institutional affiliation: The Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y.

Kathy Boudin, who is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at the maximum-security women's prison, writes of her experience teaching literacy to her fellow inmates by asking them to write and perform a play about AIDS.--R.R.

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