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States News Roundup: Early-Childhood Grants; Textbooks

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Mass. Awards $1 Million In Early-Childhood Grants

The Massachusetts Education Department has awarded $1 million in grants to help 10 communities improve and coordinate education, health, and social services for families with young children.

The demonstration program, authorized under a state school-reform law last year, is designed to help families with children from birth to age 3 better equip the youngsters to succeed in school.

The grants, awarded to urban, suburban and rural sites, will be used to set up neighborhood family centers and conduct such activities as home visits, parenting classes, health screening, and conflict-resolution programs.

The state will eventually expand and draw on the programs to create a "model service system" for assisting families with young children.

Textbooks Adopted

The California Board of Education has overruled the state's curriculum-development commission by adopting three mathematics textbooks that the commission had rejected.

The state board, however, agreed with the curriculum panel's recommendations to approve nine other texts that school districts can buy for their K-8 classrooms next fall.

Publishers had submitted 25 programs geared toward California's new math frameworks, which were adopted in 1992 and based on national math standards.

Both an advisory panel made up of educators and mathematicians and the curriculum commission had discarded the texts submitted by Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Houghton Mifflin Company, and Silver Burdett Ginn Inc., saying they were not rigorous enough.

William D. Dawson, the acting superintendent of public instruction, charged that publishers unduly pressured members of the state board.

The board's action, Mr. Dawson said, "represents a significant retreat from high standards."

Publishing companies stand to reap more than $100 million from the textbooks for the state's approximately 3.9 million elementary students.

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