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Head Start programs will remain in 40 Chicago elementary schools during the coming school year, district officials said last month.

Three years ago, the school board and the city agreed to phase out 129 Head Start programs in the public schools and house them in community centers to save money. Some observers questioned the wisdom of the move. (See Education Week, May 6, 1992.)

After four months of negotiations, the board and the city human-services agency, which funds Head Start programs in the city, agreed to retain 40 school programs serving more than 1,300 low-income children.

Officials of Parents United for Responsible Education, which had criticized the phaseout, last month hailed the decision.

The Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now, known as LEARN, has received a $500,000 grant from the Weingart Foundation to support a training program for schools undertaking LEARN's suggested reforms.

The contribution was the first significant donation to LEARN since the group began trying to raise money to put its blueprint into action. The plan focuses on giving schools greater freedom and authority to make decisions. (See Education Week, Oct. 21, 1992.)

The grant will underwrite part of the cost of a $1.2 million leadership-development program at the University of California at Los Angeles that is being offered by the graduate schools of management and education.

The 15-month program, which began last month, is designed to help people in LEARN school communities develop technical expertise and leadership skills.

Citing money woes, the Houston Independent School District has put aside a proposal to allow a for-profit firm to provide instruction in up to three low-performing schools.

Superintendent Frank R. Petruzielo last month sent a letter to John Privett, the president of Performing Schools Corporation, saying his district would like to contract with the Houston-based company but lacks the resources to do so.

The district is facing a $40 million deficit, Mr. Petruzielo explained, and cannot afford the $125,000 in start-up costs and $260,000 in fees the company would charge just to provide instruction in two schools for one year.

The superintendent said the district plans to move ahead with its plan to restaff schools that prove unable to boost student achievement. (See Education Week, June 23, 1993.)

Superintendent Walter G. Amprey of the Baltimore public schools has said he would like to see additional schools in his district run by Education Alternatives Inc., a for-profit firm.

Mr. Amprey last month termed the operation of nine district schools by E.A.I. this past school year a success. He said he favors expanding the number of schools run by E.A.I., but that the district will solicit public opinion before making such a decision.

Mayor Kurt B. Schmoke has urged the district to forestall such action, arguing that it is too soon to judge the success of E.A.I.'s efforts there.

The Baltimore Teachers Union has been highly critical of E.A.I.'s operation of the nine schools and is likely to fight any effort to entrust other schools to the Minneapolis-based firm. (See Education Week, Sept. 16, 1992.)

A company that convened a national symposium on "Reaching the Hip-Hop Generation'' concludes in a report that adult attitudes may be the single biggest obstacle to efforts to send positive messages to urban youths.

The report, issued by Motivational Educational Entertainment of Philadelphia last month, was based on the unusual symposium the firm held in March with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (See Education Week, March 10, 1993.)

The symposium was designed to bring urban youths together with educators and other adults in an effort to improve communications between the two groups. The M.E.E. report concludes, however, that many adults at the meeting were unwilling to listen to what the young participants had to say.

The report also says that there is a need to establish forums that give young people a chance to communicate with each other.

Copies of the report can be obtained by calling M.E.E. at (215) 748-2595.

Vol. 12, Issue 40

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