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11 Education Programs Snag Community-Service Grants

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Washington

Education groups emerged as big winners in the first round of competition for grants under AmeriCorps, the Clinton Administration initiative that is to give young people aid for college tuition or job training in exchange for community service.

Competitive grants totaling $46 million were awarded last month to 57 programs, to be run by schools, universities, nonprofit groups, and 15 federal agencies.

The Administration awarded 11 grants to education programs, which will receive a total of $11 million, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that administers the program.

The corporation is planning to announce the second and final round of awards, which will go to states, later this summer.

The young participants in what President Clinton has called a "domestic peace corps'' will work in four areas: education, public safety, "human needs'' programs focusing on health and homelessness, and environmental preservation.

Each AmeriCorps member will receive a $7,500-a-year salary and health insurance. After two years of service, each worker will receive $9,450 to help pay for college or job training or to repay an existing student loan.

Corporation officials estimate that 1,710 of the nearly 7,000 AmeriCorps participants will be engaged in education projects.

A Priority Area

Among the education projects awarded grants:

  • Teach for America, a privately organized teachers corps that places recent college graduates in rural and urban classrooms, won $2 million to place 500 new teachers this fall in areas experiencing teacher shortages.
  • The Council of the Great City Schools received $200,000 to develop service-learning programs and recruit classroom aides and literacy tutors in urban districts.
  • The Public Education Fund Network will get a grant to support projects aiming to integrate technology into the classroom. The amount was still being negotiated as of last week, according to an official of the group.

"Education was one of our priority areas because it is where AmeriCorps members can really make a difference,'' said Shirley Sagawa, the executive vice president of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

"Schools are strapped for resources,'' she said, "and AmeriCorps can provide enrichment activities in early-childhood programs, for example, so that we can support the readiness goal'' included among the eight national education goals.

Several federal agencies will also use their grants to promote the Administration's educational objectives.

The National Institute for Literacy, an independent federal agency, will work with local literacy groups to improve the writing and reading skills of homeless families.

The Justice Department and the Education Department were jointly awarded a grant for a public-safety program, in which volunteers will work with police, educators, and local groups to develop crime and drug-prevention initiatives.

The Labor Department will use its award to bolster school-to-work and dropout-prevention efforts through mentoring and tutoring in low-income communities.

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