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News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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NEA, AFT Push For School Renovation Aid

The presidents of the two national teachers' unions called last week for a $30 billion, 10-year federal effort to help states and districts modernize schools.

At a joint press conference, the leaders of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers released the results of a new poll showing "strong bipartisan support" for a significant federal role in keeping schools in good shape.

The poll, conducted by Stanley Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Research Inc. in Washington and Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Va., found that three-quarters of those surveyed believed the federal government should provide money to repair, renovate, and modernize schools. Voters supported both direct and indirect federal support, the poll found.

The pollsters are associated with Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively. The telephone poll of 1,001 registered voters was conducted Jan. 5-10 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The "Modern Schools, Better Learning" campaign marks the first joint effort of the unions, which are engaged in merger discussions.

Initiatives Seek Technology Workers

The Clinton administration has announced ongoing initiatives that it says could help meet the country's huge demand for information-technology workers.

The announcement this month was coordinated with the release of a study by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg and the Arlington, Va.-based Information Technology Association of America documenting that 346,000 jobs in information technology--10 percent of jobs for programmers, systems analysts, and computer engineers--are unfilled.

The initiatives, valued at $34 million, include $6 million in grants available under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 for industries and trade associations to participate in school-to-work programs. The deadline for applications is Feb. 23. More information is available on the World Wide Web at www.stw.ed.gov.

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