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Delaware's public schools forged a partnership with state business leaders last week to make it easier for employers to hire recent high school graduates.

Under the HIRE education program, hundreds of employers will have quick access to high school transcripts of prospective employees. Only one other state, Florida, has such a program.

Several corporations have donated fax machines to each of Delaware's 29 school districts. The machines will be used to send school records to potential employers.

Information on attendance, punctuality, grades, and proficiency in certain subject areas will allow employers to better judge the assets of each candidate, said Douglas Hill, the director of the Business Industry Education Alliance, a statewide partnership between businesses and schools that will run the program.

He added that the program will also send the message to students from potential employers that academic performance counts.

Tenn. Grants Announced: As many as 100 Tennessee public schools will share $500,000 as winners of the first incentive grants under the state's education-reform program. The winners will be announced Nov. 22 in Nashville.

The cash awards are part of Tennessee's 21st Century Schools Program, passed by the state legislature three years ago.

To be nominated, schools had to meet statewide goals for achievement, attendance, student promotions, and reduction of dropout rates.

Goals for Tennessee schools include gains on standardized tests, 93 percent attendance in grades 7-12, and a high school dropout rate of 10 percent or less.

"I think there is a great deal of enthusiasm," said Sidney K. Owen, the spokeswoman for the state education department. "Administrators have worked diligently to see if their schools qualify."

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