Associations Column

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Several higher-education groups are talking with the National Science Teachers Association and others about forming a new Coalition on Precollege Education in the Sciences, to be headquartered in the Washington offices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The group plans to lobby government and educators to improve science education at all levels. According to a spokesman for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which is participating in the project, the various interested parties disagree for the moment on whether renewed federal programs in science education--which have been sharply curtailed in the last two years--should reside in the Education Department or in the National Science Foundation, where they are now situated.

Maryland affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association met at the same time in Baltimore last month. But when the aft group happened to gather in a nonunionized hotel, the local nea affiliate picketed the hotel. One placard read: "The aft looks for the non-union label."

"It [the Belvedere Hotel] was not on the hotelworkers' anti-union list," said an aft spokesman. "We were trying to stay away from the Hyatt, where the nea had put its people up, and which is on the list."

Why did the nea picket? "We were just trying to do our part to support employees in other unions," said a spokesman for the nea affiliate. "Apparently, our support for organized labor is stronger than theirs."

When Wesley Apker, a Colorado administrator, suggested in the September issue of the American Association of School Administrators' magazine that superintendents must abandon "management by consensus" and learn such political skills as controlling board agendas and mobilizing citizens' groups on behalf of "preferred options," the executive director of the National School Boards Association reacted.

Mr. Apker's advice on how superintendents should deal with their school boards, Thomas A. Shannon wrote in a letter to the aasa journal, "is a prescription for disaster" in school board-superintendent relations. Moreover, he chided, the writer's prescription could "undo a half-decade's cooperative work" by the national school-boards' and administrators' organizations on the roles and relationships of school chiefs and their boards.

And, Mr. Shannon suggested, such an adversarial concept might harm several joint publishing and other ventures now scheduled between the two major groups.

The back page of the issue carrying Mr. Apker's essay, for example, carries an advertisement for an aasa "School Board Services" membership, which offers school-board members publications, participation in special conferences, and group aasa insurance rates, among other benefits.

With the aid of President Reagan, who designated October as National pta Membership Month, and the promise of public-service radio, tv, and magazine advertisements across the country, the National pta has begun a long-term effort to attract the support of citizens at large--who may or may not be parents--as "sustaining members" of "the country's largest child-advocacy association." "Alabama," a country-music group whose members are parents of schoolchildren, is helping to promote the drive.--mm & tt

Vol. 02, Issue 12

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