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Secretary Lamar Alexander huddles with NLC leaders.

Minutes after receiving a resounding appreciation for his opening general session speech, Secretary Lamar Alexander of the U.S. Department of Education, sat down for a face-to-face and heart-to-heart meeting with a dozen members of NLC's top leadership. President Sidney Barthelemy and First Vice-President Glenda Hood led the frank exchange on key topics and on how to work together in the coming months.

Tops on the list of topics was Head Start. All parties agreed that it is important to support this program for all eligible children. In response to Second Vice-President Don Fraser's concerns that Head Start is not reaching all the city children it should, Secretary Alexander promised to provide information on a community by community basis so that Head Start's true needs and coverage could be examined.

Immediate Past-President Cathy Reynolds cited health care as a linchpin in the appropriate educational development of children and stated that inadequate access to health care is a crisis for children. She suggested linking health care with schools and education as one way to deal with this crisis. Education Task Force Co-Chair Alice Wolf agree with Reynolds about the need for looking at children holistically. Secretary Alexander suggested that his department and NLC work with 25 or 50 cities in order to facilitate coordination. Furthermore, he offered to bring Secretary Louis Sullivan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services into the discussions.

Secretary Alexander urged "everyone to jump into education" and invited NLC to be part of the America 2000 Coalition. He asked that NLC and Department staff develop specific opportunities.

In concluding the meeting, the participants agreed that:

--key NLC staff and key Department of Education staff would fashion an approprirate agenda for future action;

--a follow-up meeting would be held in the first two months of 1992;

--the America 2000 plan for the development of new schools might be a logical springboard for cooperation;

--Secretary Alexander would bring in other Cabinet secretaries as needed; and

--Secretary Alexander would serve as an advocate in arranging the meeting between President Bush and NLC leadership which has been requested by Mayor Hudnut on behalf of cities and towns.

Other participants in the meeting included Past Presidents William Hudnut and John Rousakis, Task Force on Youth Chair Carolyn Long Banks, Executive Director Donald Borut, and Children and Families Project Director John E. Kyle.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Kyle, John E.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1991
Words:393
Previous Article:Education secretary's challenge: break the mold.
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