National News Roundup

October 17, 1984 2 min read

American families are changing as fast as, if not faster than, society at large, argues a new report, and families of the future will be radically different from those of today.

The report--"The State of Families 1984-85"--was prepared by Family Service America, the headquarters of a national nonprofit voluntary movement to help families. The study assesses the economic, political, social, and technological trends that affect family life, including crime, housing, and voting patterns, inflation, child care, and family violence.

“There is no obvious path lying ahead for the family,” writes R. Morton Darrow, who wrote the report based on his 16 years’ experience as a strategic researcher for the Prudential Insurance Company of America. “What is certain is that the family will be facing numerous problems and opportunities that defy easy formulation of plans and programs.” Among those problems, the report lists:

Decreasing self-confidence of parents regarding child rearing and values orientation.

Increased sharing by families of facilities for child care, physical fitness, meal preparation, and transportation.

Technological advances leading to decreases in the number of abortions, the average family size, and the number of involuntarily childless families.

Increasing suburban family problems, particularly for the young.

Increasing violence within the family, as well as increasing intervention by social-service institutions.

Increasing values indoctrination within schools that will involve family groups in heightened controversy and litigation.

A revision of school curricula to reflect the multitude of family structures.

Copies of the report are available for $11.25 from Family Service America, 44 East 23rd St., N.Y., N.Y. 10010.

A former teacher next month will launch a nationwide network of private computer-training centers for elementary- and secondary-school teachers that will involve 90 schools in 49 states.

In its first year of operation, the National Computer Training Insti-tute, an independent for-profit company, expects to train between 24,000 and 32,000 teachers, or about 1 percent of its primary market of 2.4 million kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, according to Bruce Fredrickson, a former teacher and the founder of ncti

By the end of 1985, the company, which is headquartered in Fremont, Calif., plans to have 200 training centers in place, Mr. Fredrickson said.

Each center will be staffed by two professional teachers and equipped with 15 personal computers and software lent by the International Business Machines Corporation. The centers will be electronically linked through the telecommunication services of The Source, a subsidiary of Reader’s Digest Association Inc.

The Source, a computer timesharing, networking, and information utility, will be used to update course material, provide communication between the training centers, and instruct teachers about telecommunications.

The initial 45-hour course provided by ncti will cost $195 per person, according to ncti officials.

According to Mr. Frederickson, 180 teachers nationwide were recruited to serve as instructors in the program. The training centers, he added, are established at the schools in which they teach and will be used as computer laboratories during school hours.

A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 1984 edition of Education Week as National News Roundup