September 20, 1989 4 min read

Soviet and U.S. scholars are considering jointly publishing a supplementary history textbook to fill in gaps in each country’s coverage of the other superpower.

Concluding a 12-year textbook-study project, the scholars met in Moscow in June to discuss improvements in textbooks since they last met in Dallas in 1987. At that time, scholars reported numerous factual errors and biases, and warned that such treatment could help foster the “fear and paranoia” that citizens of each country feel toward those in the other.

While many of the more egregious errors have been corrected, according to Howard Mehlinger, dean of the school of education at Indiana University and leader of the American delegation, Soviet texts still inadequately present the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the U.S. role in World War II. Similarly, he said, Soviet scholars gave low marks to U.S. texts’ coverage of the Russian revolutions of 1917, the Stalinist period, and the Soviet role in World War II.

To correct such treatment, he said, the Soviet officials suggested that a handbook for teachers be developed. “We might take them up on it,” Mr. Mehlinger said.

fs6 The nation’s largest association of music educators has created its own certification program to recognize qualified teachers in the field.

Beginning in November, the Music Educators National Conference will begin accepting applications for certification from teachers with at least eight years’ experience.

The “registered professional music educator” certificate will be valid for three years. It will be awarded to licensed teachers who have completed course work beyond the baccalaureate level, and who who can demonstrate, through recommendations from principals and supervisors and objective measures, “success in teaching music in schools.”

The following year, the association will also issue a five-year “certified master music educator” certificate. To be eligible for the advanced credential, teachers must also submit videotapes of classroom teaching.

The program--which is similar to one that has been conducted since 1987 by the National Science Teachers Association--is aimed at “sending the message that professional growth and the quality of teaching of music are important,” Charles R. Hoffer, the menc’s president, writes in the association’s journal.

“At the present time, the message is that recognition is confined almost entirely to teachers who prepare successful performing groups,” Mr. Hoffer notes.

fs6 The nation’s largest university-based mathematics-education project received a $2-million boost last month from the Amoco Foundation.

The grant to the University of Chicago’s school-mathematics project brings Amoco’s total support for the effort to $8.4 million, and will enable the project to continue implementing its ambitious reform plans.

In April, the scholars unveiled textbooks, published by Scott, Foresman, and Company, for three of its six secondary-school mathematics courses. The firm plans to publish textbooks for the other three courses in the next two years.

In contrast to traditional math courses, the University of Chicago project introduces high-school level material earlier, to provide more time for students to grasp it, and presents problems in a real-world context.

fs6 The National School Boards Association has published its second annual list of 100 innovative curriculum ideas.

The list was culled from more than 1,000 entries, according to the school boards’ association. A panel of administrators and school-board members selected programs that succeed in achieving measurable goals; are able to be transferred to another setting; and are creative, fiscally prudent, and relevant to schools’ curricular needs.

In addition to ideas in traditional subject areas, the list also includes curricula in drug education, law, career planning, motivation, and study skills.

The programs are listed, along with a contact name, in “The Learning Bank,” which is available for $10 each, plus $2.25 for shipping and handling, from the nsba, P.O. Box 17316, Baltimore, Md. 21203.

fs6 In an effort to help enhance children’s language skills, the International Business Machines Corporation and Good Housekeeping magazine are launching a storytelling contest for pupils in grades K-6.

Beginning next month, the sponsors will distribute to schools information about the contest along with a lesson plan to help teachers introduce pupils to folktales. The contest will be officially announced next month at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn.

The “Tell Me a Story” contest will award more than $160,000 in prizes in three grade categories: K-1, 2-3, and 4-6.

Ten students from each category, as well as their teachers and schools, will be awarded ibm Personal System-2 computers; the winning entries will also be published in the June 1990 issue of Good Housekeeping.

Teachers can receive the contest kit free of charge by writing on school stationary to ibm Storytelling Celebration, 5000 Park St. North, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33709.--rr

A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 1989 edition of Education Week as Curriculum