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Connections: New Challenges, New Beginings

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In the first issue of Teacher Magazine in September 1989, the headline for this column was "Symbols, Turning Points, And Bold Beginnings.'' The symbol was the ubiquitous yellow school bus on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The turning points alluded to were America's commitment to universal public education, desegregation, and, more recently, high-quality education for every child.

And the bold beginning cited was the creation of Teacher Magazine--founded on the conviction that teachers are "thoughtful, caring professionals who value information and understand the power of ideas.''

Our beginning was indeed bold, but it was also brilliantly mistimed from an economic standpoint. Our first issue appeared just as the magazine business entered the worst recession in decades. Our first anniversary coincided with the invasion of Kuwait and a downturn of the national economy. And our second anniversary was greeted by a full-blown recession and the worst magazine downturn in 50 years.

By this fall, Teacher's continued operating deficits presented us with a difficult challenge: How to keep giving you--at a much lower cost--the information you need to keep up with the most dynamic period in the history of American education.

The only alternative to finding a less expensive format was to close the magazine--a step we found nearly unthinkable. The magazine has attracted a loyal readership of professional teachers who are making a real difference in their schools and the profession. Your need for information and ideas is even greater today than it was three years ago. And the role teachers play in the years ahead will become ever more crucial.

Fortunately, foundations--original supporters and newcomers--also believe in Teacher Magazine and its mission. They have provided additional funding to allow us to continue publishing with the same editorial objectives, albeit in a new format.

We sincerely hope that you, too, value Teacher and will stay with us through this difficult period. You, after all, are the reason Teacher Magazine was founded, the reason why a dozen foundations have invested some $4 million in it.

Teacher will still read and be organized like a magazine. Only the medium is changing, not the message. And it is the message, not the medium, that really matters.

The new format requires a much shorter production cycle, so your copy will reach you just days after it has been edited. Consequently, the articles will be more timely, and you will know about issues and developments sooner.

We know that many of you have also felt the pinch of the recession. And we want to make it as easy as possible for you to continue to receive Teacher Magazine. The efficiencies of our new format will allow us to reduce the cost of extending your present subscription from $18 to $12 for the next year.

Regardless of the status of your subscription--whether it has just been renewed or is about to expire--you can extend it for another year for $12, just by returning the order card on page 22.

We view this as a new beginning for Teacher Magazine--as bold in some ways as the original launch two and a half years ago. Thanks to you and to a handful of farsighted foundations, we have survived the worst period for magazines in recent history. With your continued support, a turnaround in the national economy, and a little luck, Teacher Magazine may yet become a kind of symbol for a new national commitment to teaching and learning. That was the hope and goal expressed in this column in September 1989, and it remains our hope and our goal.

Our special thanks to the following foundations that have made it all possible: Carnegie Corp. of New York, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Exxon Education Foundation, George Gund Foundation, Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Lilly Endowment, William Penn Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which also helped to underwrite the cost of the special report on technology in education that begins on page 17 of this issue.

Their belief in teachers and Teacher Magazine has made it possible for us to continue publishing and to reduce the cost of extending your subscription for another full year. ---Ronald A. Wolk

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