Colleges Column

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Although bookstores are already filled with the genre, the Madison Center has announced plans to release a "common sense" guide to colleges that will assess institutions with a "clear point of view," according to the center's president, Chester E. Finn Jr., the former chief of research in the U.S. Education Department.

The center is a conservative think tank established by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and the author Allan Bloom.

The college guide will be co-edited by Mr. Finn; Leslie Lenkowsky, president of the Institute for Educational Affairs; and Stephen Balch, president of the National Association of Scholars.

According to a news release announcing the project, the guide will examine factors overlooked by similar handbooks, such as whether a college requires study of a core curriculum that includes the history of Western civilization, whether it emphasizes good teaching as well as research, and whether it insures that freedom of expression "is not subordinated to political or ideological causes."

The guide, to be published next year, will cover 80 colleges and universities and will include information from editors of conservative campus newspapers belonging to the Collegiate Network, which is sponsored by the iea

The College Board and the National Association of College Admission Counselors have launched an effort to revitalize college guidance in public schools, especially inner-city and rural schools with many disadvantaged students.

With a grant from the Lilly Endowment, 10 school districts will be chosen to participate in the two-and-a-half year project.

The program's goal is to develop strategies to help disadvantaged students gain access to academic programs that will encourage them to seek higher education.

Participating schools will receive resources to revamp their guidance programs.

Results of the project will be disseminated through a national conference and final report.

Community colleges have a poor track record of encouraging weak students to transfer to a four-year institution, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Two researchers, Valerie E. Lee and Kenneth Frank, analyzed a sample of 2,500 community-college students who transferred to four-year institutions.

They found that most of those transferring were advanced students who would have been qualified to go directly to a four-year college after graduating from high school.

The study will appear in the July issue of Sociology of Education.--mw

Vol. 09, Issue 19

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