Column One: Curriculum

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In an effort to respond to debates over the role of multicultural education in schools, the National Council for the Social Studies has developed a new set of guidelines.

The guidelines attempt to stake out a middle ground between those who favor an emphasis on ethnic studies and those who favor focusing on the teaching of Western democratic principles.

While all students should learn more about the "hopes, dreams, and experiences of the many groups'' that make up the country, the document says, multicultural studies should also reflect the notion of e pluribus unum--out of many, one.

"For a democracy to function in a pluralistic nation-state,'' said James A. Banks, the University of Washington education professor who led the effort, "its citizens must transcend their ethnic and cultural boundaries in order to participate in broad public discussion and action.''

Copies of "Guidelines for Multicultural Education'' are available for $5 each by writing: The National Council for the Social Studies, 3501 Newark St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3167.

The U.S. Education Department has distributed more than 150,000 copies of a new brochure that outlines national efforts under way to set "world class'' curriculum standards.

The free brochure defines what standards are, provides a brief history of the standards-setting efforts, and lists the addresses of the projects developing standards for mathematics, science, history, the arts, civics, geography, and English.

Now in its second printing, the brochure can be obtained by writing: Standards Brochure, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20208.

Meanwhile, in response to a large volume of requests for information about the science standards project, the National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment's Office of Critique and Consensus has added new telephone and fax numbers.

The telephone number is (202) 334-6134; the fax number is (202) 334-3159.

In what the conference organizer called a "sad commentary'' on precollegiate science teaching, fewer than half of the 120 female college science majors attending a recent conference could name a scientific hero or heroine.

Among those who did name a hero, Albert Einstein was mentioned most often, followed by Bernadine Healy, the director of the National Institutes of Health and a conference speaker.--D.V. & P.W.

Vol. 12, Issue 16

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