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Union Carbide Corporation last month launched a partnership with the St. Charles Parish School District in Louisiana, pledging mentors, management support, and $150,000 annually for the next decade to create ''a lighthouse district, not only for Louisiana, but for the whole country."

Although the effort is still in the planning stages, district and company officials pledged a thorough restructuring of the 8,500-student school system, including site-based school management, greater parental involvement, and new tests to measure higher academic expectations for students.

Later this year, Union Carbide--which has a plant in central St. Charles Parish--will select another district in which it has a presence for a similar partnership, said Leo Babin, a spokesman for the company.

Children and families are being shortchanged at the federal, state, and local levels because governments and private organizations have been slow to collaborate on solving the nation's social ills, a study released last month asserts.

The study by the Education and Human Services Consortium, a Washington-based advocacy group, exhorts social-support organizations to:

Reward collaborative strategies--and thus maximize scant resources--when making grants.

Provide groups that are collaborating on projects with technical assistance and staff support.

Ensure that staff members on such projects get adequate pay, training, and support.

The study, "Thinking Collaboratively: Ten Questions and Answers to Help Policy Makers Improve Children's Services," also urges the formation of new groups to provide leadership, technical assistance, and oversight to groups that want to forge alliances to benefit children.

About 700 California business leaders took time off from their normal duties last week to be a "principal for a day" in an effort by business and philanthropic groups to show the realities of the education world to outsiders.

The program, coordinated by the Los Angeles Educational Partnership, began last year in the Los Angeles area when 43 executives participated. This year, 175 Los Angeles executives took part, and scores of business and education groups throughout the state signed on.

The program's objective is to provide business leaders with concrete experience that will persuade them to step up their involvement in public education, said John McDonald, a spokesman for the Los Angeles partnership.--jw

Vol. 10, Issue 33

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