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Nearly 90 percent of parents with children in public schools give the nation's schools a grade of A, B, or C, according to a survey released last week by the American Association of School Administrators. Of those parents, 13 percent give schools an A, and 39 percent give them a B.

The survey of voters nationwide, which has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, also found that about 60 percent of all respondents would make "minor changes'' in their local schools; a third said their schools needed "major reform.''

However, 63 percent of respondents said schools nationwide need major restructuring, and 31 percent advocate minor adjustments nationwide.

"Those who know our schools up close and personal, those who are getting their information directly from the horse's mouth, rather than through a filter, are quite confident in how their schools are operating,'' Paul Houston, the executive director of the A.A.S.A., said.

The survey found that a majority of the respondents receive information about local schools from parents of public school students, parent-association leaders, principals, and superintendents.

Separate and Unequal: Districts cannot rely on extra resources and compensatory education to remedy the harm caused by racial segregation, a new study suggests.

The Harvard Project on School Desegregation analyzed several urban efforts that focused on educational improvements, rather than racial integration, to address the harm caused by discrimination. It concluded that educators have not found a way to make racially separate schools equal.

The study focused on remedies that many districts adopted after the U.S. Supreme Court's 1974 and 1977 decisions in the case Milliken v. Bradley. After blocking a lower court's metropolitan desegregation plan involving Detroit and its suburbs because the suburbs had not been found guilty of intentional segregation, the Court held that the state of Michigan could be ordered to fund education programs for Detroit students to compensate them for the harm caused by being racially isolated.

The report concludes that districts failed in subsequent efforts to educationally compensate children who are racially isolated at school. The districts' plans were poorly designed and tended to suffer from a lack of rigorous evaluation, the report says.

Copies of "Still Separate, Still Unequal'' are available from Susan E. Eaton, Harvard Project on School Desegregation, 40 Holworthy St., Cambridge, Mass. 02138.

AIDS Orphans: Between 72,000 and 125,000 children will have lost their mothers to AIDS by the end of the decade, according to a report released late last month.

The New York City-based Orphan Project estimated that children would be hardest hit in New York; Newark, N.J.; Miami; San Juan, P.R.; Los Angeles; and Washington. Approximately 60 percent of children orphaned by AIDS will be residents of these cities, the report predicts.

The report also warns that healthy children whose mothers have died of the disease often lack AIDS-specific social services, including legal and mental-health assistance and transitional aid to overcome the loss of AIDS-related benefits, such as rent subsidies.

"Schools should be an important locus of child- and youth-centered services, prevention programs, and staff training'' to address these needs, the report recommends.

Free copies of the report, "Orphans of the H.I.V. Epidemic: Unmet Needs in Six U.S. Cities,'' are available from the Orphan Project, (212) 925-5290.

Vol. 13, Issue 29

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