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To the Editor:

The Chicago Alumni Association was cited in a recent issue as the first such public-school group in the U.S. ("Chicago Alumni Form Association, Education Week, Aug. 24, 1983). The Redford Union High School Alumni Association has been in existence for three years and has been active in fund raising, reunions, public relations, and the general dissemination of information about Redford Union graduates, including members of the first graduating class, 1933. Our newsletter, Panther Network, now reaches almost 60 percent of the school's alumni.

Milo Karhu Alumni Moderator Redford Union High School Redford, Mich.

Editor's note: There are many active alumni groups associated with high schools across the country. Chicago's, however, appears to be the first districtwide alumni association.

To the Editor:

As the artist who illustrated the cover of your Calendar of Events, 1983-1984 (Education Week, Sept. 7, 1983), I feel I must respond to the Oct. 5 letter from John Caruso regarding the lack of racial sensitivity he perceived.

I must condemn Mr. Caruso's lack of artistic sensitivity. If he will look again, he will surely notice that there are three blacks depicted among the 30 people in the group, a proportionate number. I am extremely conscious of racial issues and pride myself on accurately representing the American populace in my work. I try to balance men and women, black and white, old and young. Since I rarely use gray tones, I depict races by their hair styles and facial features, being careful to avoid exaggeration or stereotyping.

Those who are blinded by their own preconceptions may need further explanation: The blacks are those with curly dark hair; people of Northern European extraction are represented by the blondes; and Mediterranean, Mexican, and Oriental people are those with black hair. Those wearing dresses are women, and the men are the individuals wearing trousers.

Since an artist's work reflects his or her personality, I cannot help feeling sickened by being aligned with such deplorable groups as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Caruso should certainly check his facts before making such accusations. I would never deliberately offend any minority group. In this case, the offense was in the eye of the beholder, and I hope that other readers saw the drawing as I meant it.

Racial bigotry and insensitivity are very real problems in our country. Directing venomous abuse at publications and individuals who are innocent of such wrongdoing only trivializes these problems. Perhaps Mr. Caruso could better further the cause he claims to espouse by directing his energies toward helping the underprivileged and attacking the genuine bigots, of whom there are plenty.

Loel Barr Illustrator Silver Spring, Md.

To the Editor:

In a recent Publishing column (Education Week, Sept. 14, 1983), I was credited with describing the new teen-age romance novels as "training bras for Harlequins." While I find this description to be an apt--and clever--characterization of these books, I cannot take the credit for originating this phrase. I discovered it in an essay by Alleen Pace Nilsen entitled "Why the Success of the Teen Romances Depresses Me.''

Maia Pank Mertz Associate Professor, English Education Ohio State University College of Education Columbus, Ohio

To the Editor:

In his letter to the editor, Merrill A. Grant, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District, wrote that he would like to "participate in any coalition that includes large, urban school districts, or to contribute to any planning involving public schools," and said that he was "certain my colleagues would be, too." (Education Week, Sept. 28, 1983)

Since 1981, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (nasulgc), with support from the Ford Foundation, has supported specific university-school collaborative projects in Birmingham, Ala., Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Oakland, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. Each of the projects has been based on the direct involvement of the president of the major public university and the superintendent of the major central-city schools. Each has addressed questions of student achievement, youth unemployment, local economic development, and related issues with which all educational institutions must be involved in the 1980's.

nasulgc's involvement began in a low-key manner, emphasizing locally based project priorities and the importance of making long-term commitments to collaboration by the university and the school district. In addition, emphasis has been placed on involvement of the local business, government, and foundation leadership in building new constituencies for public elementary and secondary education.

One example of nasulgc-assisted urban university-urban school collaboration is in Detroit, where there has been a pressing need to build a new foundation for the city's social and economic survival in light of the virtual destruction of its industrial-based economy. Our collaborative work has focused on ways in which public education can contribute to building the new economic base in conjunction with labor, business, and other public and private partners in the city.

Efforts undertaken by Wayne State University and the Detroit Public Schools since 1981 include the development of educational programs that can directly and indirectly generate a new labor market for technology-based industries, particularly in the areas of allied-health professions, computer sciences, and engineering. Programs have also been developed to address the needs of gifted and talented students in the Detroit Public Schools. And collaboration in Detroit has led to serious analysis of the roles that public education can play in the development of new, small, "high-technology" businesses on which the city hopes to build a basis for economic revitalization.

nasulgc expects to continue its collaborative projects in 1984 and welcomes an indication of interest in participation from Mr. Grant and Henry Koffler, president of the University of Arizona, as well as from other educators from urban areas throughout the nation.

Nevin C. Brown Assistant Director Office of Special Programs/Urban Affairs National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges Washington, D.C.

Vol. 03, Issue 07

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