An Unusual Band: An unlikely mix of politicians, educators, and entertainers--including members of Congress, the American Federation of Teachers' Albert Shanker, the National Education Association's Keith Geiger, and singer Billy Joel--are working together as members of the National Commission on Music Education to give a higher profile to music and arts instruction. The commission, which held hearings across the country this past fall, was created by educators and music-industry officials worried that school reform is bypassing music and art.
Religious Liberty: The Williamsburg Charter Foundation has announced the creation of a curriculum and an institute to promote teaching about religious liberty in schools. In 1988, the foundation, set up to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, produced the Williamsburg Charter, a document that "rededicated'' the nation to the principles of freedom of religion. Scholars, educators, and religious groups helped develop the new curriculum, titled Living with Our Deepest Differences. There are separate editions for students in upper elementary, junior high, and high school. The week-long curriculum, published by Learning Connections Publishers Inc., addresses the principles and problems of religious liberty in a pluralistic society. The new institute, known as the "First Liberty Institute,'' will be located at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
Peace Corps Correspondence: To help make geography, international politics, and social studies come alive, students in 80 schools in Tulsa, Okla., will exchange letters and souvenirs with Peace Corps volunteers around the world. The effort is part of the Peace Corps' "World Wise'' schools exchange program. Although the program was officially launched in 1989, Tulsa will be the first city to incorporate the program in all of its public schools.
Agricultural Ed: A coalition of groups has unveiled a "strategic plan for agricultural education.'' The blueprint calls for a "revolution'' and sets a number of ambitious goals. For example, the report urges the nation to develop a more science-based school curriculum, to increase agricultural literacy, to attract more women and minorities to the field, and to include agriculture and its teachers in the educational mainstream. The groups collaborating on the plan include the U.S. Education Department, the National Council for Agricultural Education, the American Vocational Association, and the National FFA Organization, formerly the Future Farmers of America. Free copies of the report are available from the National Council for Agricultural Education, P.O. Box 15160, 5632 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309.