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The creation of a new system of "professional-development schools" to train teachers will require substantial resources from universities, according to the final draft of a new report by the Holmes Group.

The report, "Tomorrow's Schools: Principles for the Design of Professional Development Schools," outlines a comprehensive set of principles intended to guide the creation of such schools, in which prospective teachers can learn their craft, university faculty can conduct research, and practicing teachers and university instructors can collaborate in the development of strategies for teaching children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The 110-page final report, released Monday during a meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Boston, is a more polished version of a draft report endorsed by the nearly 100 major research universities belonging to the group during their annual meeting. (See Education Week, Feb. 7, 1990.)

In response to concerns expressed by some members, it addresses some of the more practical questions involved in the start-up of professional-development schools. It notes, for example, that, for a professional-development school with 400 students, participating universities must reasonably expect to invest the equivalent of two full-time faculty members in the project.

Copies of the report are available for $10 each, prepaid, by writing The Holmes Group, 501 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. 48824-1034.

George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., has begun recruiting students for a unique teacher-training program designed exclusively for the spouses of foreign-service employees.

Begun at the request of the U.S. State Department, the program is aimed at expanding the pool of teachers for American schools overseas.

Clark Dobson, assistant dean of George Mason's College of Education and Human Services, said the spouses of foreign-service employees who are stationed abroad offer a logical resource for overseas schools.

"This is a highly educated group of people who often want to work where their spouses are posted, but jobs are unavailable," he said.

The program, known as fastrain, will accommodate up to 30 students and will place a heavy emphasis on multicultural and multilingual studies. It is slated to begin in the fall and span two years of study--the typical length of a foreign-service employee's stay in nearby Washington.

Maryland's process for recertifying teachers is the subject of a critical new report by a private Baltimore foundation.

The study is based on an examination of Baltimore public-school teachers undergoing recertification.

A majority of those teachers, the researchers found, did less than 10 percent of their coursework in classes that would help them keep abreast of changes in the subjects they teach. In addition, the study points out that teachers avoided doing their coursework at colleges and universities. They preferred the less-rigorous inservice classes provided by the school system.

Such findings, the authors contend, are indicative of "a seriously flawed system that fails to encourage organized, challenging study, with no real evidence that the process contributes to improved classroom instruction."

Copies of "The Recertification Process: A Case Study in Baltimore," are available at no cost by writing The Abell Foundation, Inc., 210 North Charles St., Baltimore, Md., 21201.

Two teacher educators at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are using technology to increase the amount of time they spend observing student teachers in the classroom.

With the aid of a $62,500 grant from the state education department, Mildred Johnson and Barbara Clawson, both professors of human environmental sciences at the university, have begun using a video system that enables them to increase their supervisory contact with student teachers from three or four visits a semester to twice a week.

Produced by Datapoint Corp., the sytem is known as minx or Multimedia Information Network Exchange. The professors said the technology is commonly used in business, legal, and court systems, and hospitals. Local commercial cable television lines carry the signal from the student teachers' classrooms to the university.

The Terrebonne (La.) Parish School Board has been ordered by a state judge to continue deducting union dues from teachers' paychecks under the same method used before a strike last year.

The board tried to change the method of dues collection after a 41-day strike by the Terrebonne Association of Educators, which unsuccessfully sought the right to bargain collectively.

The association sued to block the new method, which would have required teachers to sign authorization forms provided by the board.

Before the strike, the t.a.e. would gather the names of teachers who wanted to pay dues and present the list to the district.

The union argued that the proposed change was intended to "intimidate" its members.

--dv & ab

Vol. 09, Issue 30

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