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Kentucky Grant Will Expand Elementary-Reform Project

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The Knight Foundation awarded $1 million last week to expand a pilot school-reform effort in Kentucky into all of the state's elementary schools over the next six years.

The grant will go to the Galef Institute-Kentucky Collaborative for Elementary Learning, which joins the Galef Institute with state elementary schools, universities, foundations, businesses, and local education and arts organizations.

The Los Angeles-based institute promotes interdisciplinary teaching and the use of the arts throughout the curriculum in 161 Kentucky elementary schools and in communities in a half-dozen other states.

The institute's approach, known as "Different Ways of Knowing," emphasizes professional development, coaching, and team-building.

The grant will support expansion of the program to 837 schools--the institute's first statewide effort. The grant will also enable the institute to focus on a core group of 24 schools whose entire teaching force will be involved. The Galef Institute's staff and researchers at the University of Kentucky will study the 24 sites to study ways to sustain reforms in the face of staff turnover.

Speaking Out on Schools: Connecticut residents think the state's public schools are headed in the wrong direction, a new report says.

The study by the Public Agenda Foundation, a New York City-based group that emphasizes economic and education issues, found that while residents support the concept of public education, many believe that parents and educators have not done their part to keep schools up to par.

Respondents said the schools have failed to provide a safe environment, increase parent involvement, teach basic literacy and skills, and emphasize discipline.

By about a two-to-one ratio, the survey respondents said schools especially need "greater accountability and more discipline, things that do not cost more money," according to the report.

The authors surveyed 1,200 Connecticut residents and interviewed school officials, policymakers, and community leaders. The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund paid for the research, which was published last month.

Copies of the report are available for the cost of shipping and handling from the Public Agenda Foundation, 6 East 39th St., New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 686-6610.

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