National News Roundup

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A national advertising campaign designed to reveal "gross distortions" in the television spots sponsored by the National Education Association began in Washington this month.

The campaign, developed and funded by a conservative Washington group called the National Council for Better Education, satirizes the nea's new national television advertisements, said Linda Clark, a spokesman for the group.

A self-described "anti-nea" organization that says it has 30,000 members, it was established last year to provide "a balance" to the nea's "radical" policies and union activities, according to its executive director, Sally Reed.

The ncbe's advertising message, carried on network television in Washington Oct. 9-11, will also be aired nationally during this school year, Ms. Clark said.

In addition to the $25,000 advertising campaign, Ms. Clark said, the organization will organize a "Professional Educators Guild" this year. The guild will provide health and consumer benefits to teachers but will not engage in collective bargaining or strike activities, she said.

The national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America has passed a resolution that reaffirms the right of members to define God in their own terms, clearing the way for the promotion of a 15-year-old West Virginian to the rank of Life Scout.

The boy, Paul Trout, received national attention last spring when his promotion within the Boy Scouts was denied after he told his local review board that he did not believe in God as a supreme being.

The resolution approved by the national board this month reads, in part: "While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God."

The change will remove the wording "Supreme Being" from scout literature, which had been wrongly interpreted to be a definition of God, according to Raul Chavez, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts. The organization has always permitted individuals to interpret the meaning of God themselves, he said.

The Trout youth was never officially removed from the national roll of Boy Scouts, Mr. Chavez said, and his promotion was granted when he said he could subscribe to the new Scout Oath in good conscience.

The Ford Foundation plans to give $2.25 million over the next three years to state and local government agencies that have devised innovative programs to meet educational or human-services needs.

The grants, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, will be distributed to 10 state or local agencies each year for the next three years. The aim of the grants, according to Franklin A. Thomas, president of the Ford Foundation, is to try to compensate such agencies for cutbacks in federal financing.

"Our new program is meant to acknowledge [the agencies'] achievements, to give them national recognition and financial support, and to encourage replication of successful programs," he said.

The deadline for applications for the first group of awards is Jan. 15. The winners will be announced next September.

Vol. 05, Issue 08

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