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Columbus's voyage to the New World and the Pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth Rock mark the beginning of American history for most public school students. An unusual new history textbook, however, seeks to extend this time line back several thousand years to when Native Americans migrated from Asia.

Karen D. Harvey and Lisa D. Harjo say they hope to inject more accuracy and sensitivity into the teaching and learning of Native American history with their new book, Indian Country: A History of Native People in America.

They use traditional stories and myths, poems, newspaper articles, charts, and photographic and artistic images to illuminate a complex history that stretches from about 38,000 B.C. to the present day. Lesson plans, discussion questions, and resource lists are included after each chapter.

The 339-page, oversized, cloth-bound book costs $27.95 and is available in bookstores. Further information is available at (800) 992-2908 or by mail from North American Press, 350 Indiana St., Suite 350, Golden, Colo. 80401.

A journal on writing that debuts this month is styling itself as the first publication to provide comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of writing assessment.

Kathleen Blake Yancey of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Brian Huot of the University of Louisville will edit Assessing Writing: A Bi-Annual Journal for Educators, Administrators, Researchers, and Writing Assessment Professionals.

"Up until now, articles about writing assessment have been scattered in various journals, appearing intermittently and acontextually,'' the editors observe.

Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome, they say, and may be submitted, care of Ablex Publishing Corporation, 355 Chestnut St., Norwood, N.J. 07648.

Annual subscriptions cost $29 for individuals and $45 for institutions and organizations. Further information is available at (201) 767-8450.

The Council for Basic Education is offering a new, updated "Standards Primer.''

This giant chart for educators is designed by the C.B.E. to be used as a "launching pad'' for standards discussions at all school levels.

It highlights important aspects of the national standards being developed for eight subject areas and illustrates potential connections between them.

The charts cost $2 each for orders of one to 20 copies. Checks payable to the Council for Basic Education can be sent to 1319 F St., N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20004-1152. For more than 20 copies, call (202) 347-4171.

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