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Deans' Coalition Aims To Improve Big-City Schools

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Deans of education schools in large cities have formed a national coalition to improve urban schools.

The deans announced the creation of the Great City Colleges of Education last month. It is affiliated with the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents 47 of the nation's largest urban school systems.

More than 30 deans have joined the coalition, Philip J. Rusche, the chairman of its steering committee, said in an interview. The group plans to recruit at least one member in each of the cities represented by the council.

Members thus far include the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Temple University in Philadelphia, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and many historically black colleges and universities.

"Our long-range goal is to do everything within our capacity to improve the quality of teaching and learning for the variety of constituencies involved in urban education,'' said Mr. Rusche, the dean of the college of education and allied professions at the University of Toledo.

Improving 'Spotty' Relations

The group will focus on teacher preparation, in-service training, professional development, and recruitment. The deans also plan to share information on effective practices, conduct joint research, and lobby for urban schools at the local, state, and federal levels.

Mr. Rusche said the group probably will address issues such as multicultural education, linguistic diversity, substance abuse, homelessness, and the shortage of teachers trained and willing to work in cities.

The deans plan to hold their meetings along with those of the Council of the Great City Schools in hopes of forming closer bonds between themselves and the urban administrators.

"The relations between the urban colleges of education and the school systems in those cities historically has been rather spotty,'' acknowledged Michael D. Casserly, the council's executive director.

Mr. Rusche said part of the reason is that the education schools have tended to view their missions broadly, giving the teaching of rural or suburban children as much weight as the teaching of children in cities.

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