Parents Column

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A national electronic network designed for parents and the educators and professionals who work with them is seeking more users and feedback as it expands its services.

The National Parent Information Network, launched last year by the federally funded ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is available through the Internet. It offers parent-related articles, question-answering services, electronic mail, forums for discussion, resource listings, and program descriptions, as well as access to other ERIC materials. For information on how to participate, call (800) 583-4125.

The P.T.A. is so dominated by teachers' unions that it has lost potency as an advocate for parents, a new report argues.

The report appeared in a newsletter from the Capital Research Group, a philanthropic watchdog group headed by Terrence Scanlon, a former vice president of the Heritage Foundation and Reagan Administration official. It was written by Charlene K. Haar, the president of the Educational Policy Institute, a Washington-based group specializing in how teachers' unions affect school reform. Ms. Haar is a teacher and author and was a Republican candidate for the Senate from South Dakota in 1992.

Her article criticizes the P.T.A. for failing to "expose academic deficiencies" and opposing such "pro-parent" reforms as school choice. It also cites a P.T.A. statement that Ms. Haar says puts the group "outside the arena of debate on important education issues" by deferring too much to unions on issues related to teacher strikes and disputes.

A new guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics offers child-rearing advice for single parents. Single copies of "Single Parenting: What You Need to Know," are available for free from the A.A.P., Department C, P.O. Box 927, Elk Grove Village, Ill. 60009-0927.

Despite the emphasis on parent involvement in federal and state school-reform measures, elementary school teachers get little relevant training, concludes a study of state certification requirements and teacher training programs.

Copies of the study, "Preparing Teachers To Involve Parents: A National Survey of Teacher Education Programs," are available for $7.50 each from the Publications Department, Harvard Family Research Project, Longfellow Hall, Appian Way, Cambridge, Mass. 02138.

--Deborah L. Cohen

Vol. 14, Issue 17

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