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Teacher strikes in six states delayed the opening of the 1988-89 school year for an estimated 103,000 students last week, according to union officials.

Spokesmen for both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers said that, as of Friday, teachers from 28 school districts in Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were out on strike.

Of the local unions on strike, 24 are nea affiliates, and four are aft affiliates.

Carolyn Wallace, an nea spokesman, said the level of strike activity is well be6low that of last year at this time. On Sept. 30, 1987, she said, a total of 50 strikes continued, causing serious delays in school openings.

Negotiations this year, according to Ms. Wallace, seem focused on the bread-and-butter issues of salary and benefits. Last year, she said, contract talks were apt to include reform-oriented demands, such as increased teacher professionalism and school-accountability measures.

The National pta is planning the biggest single-issue program in its 92-year history--a corporate-backed campaign to enlist the parents of young adolescents in the battle against drug abuse.

The new program will be funded by and developed jointly with gte Corporation, the Stamford, Conn.-based telecommunications company. Its officials have made an initial grant of $100,000 to get the effort under way and propose to commit an additional $1 million to it over the next few years.

The focus of the program will be on students ages 9 to 14. It is during those years, the pta sponsors argue, that young people make crucial personal decisions about the use of drugs and alcohol.

Another impetus for the effort, according to the pta, is its view that "a school-based [anti-drug] curriculum is not enough." To make drug-education programs effective, officials say, parents and local communities must be involved.

The details of the new campaign have yet to be worked out. Sponsors hope to design and test a multi-faceted program by 1990.

Vol. 08, Issue 03

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