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Education task force's action agenda adopted by board.

Two years of work by NLC's Task Force on Cities' Roles in Education culminated in NLC Board approval of six recommendations at last week's Board of Directors meeting during the 1991 Congress of Cities. The recommendations, including focused attention on a new primer and on a cross-country action campaign, constitute an action agenda for the Task Force members during 1992.

Task Force Co-Chairs Mayor Alice Wolf of Cambridge, Mass., and Mayor Norman Rice of Seattle, Wash., led thirty Task Force members through serious study, discussions, and visits to exemplary programs. The primary conclusion that "Education is everybody's business" led to the recommendation that NLC should increase and enhance its direct involvement "in the national discussion about improving educational outcomes for children."

The Task Force report says that "The need for municipal officials to participate in bringing together the forces that can support children and improve their education is clear. It is reinforced by the African proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' Municipalities may not have a major direct role in schools, but they do have a major and direct role in establishing neighborhoods as nurturing and supporting environments for families and their children. Such family-friendly neighborhoods will provide the support that families need so that they can be effective partners in the education of their children." The thrust of the Task Force report is that local governments can bring the schools and the community together by cultivating partnerships and seeking collaboration among the many elements of the community.

The Task Force will work on two specific initiatives during 1992.

The first 1992 initiative is the development, publication, and widespread distribution of a primer. This primer would include a section on the appropriateness of municipal involvement in education and a section on model programs. The model programs would include examples of model advocacy (such as the Seattle Summit on Education that involved 2,000 residents); examples of partnerships for education (such as those in Cambridge, Mass., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Minneapolis, Minn.); examples of school board/city council communication (like that in Pasadena, Calif.); and examples of family support centers (such as those in Minneapolis, Minn., Seattle, Wash., and Baltimore, Md.).

This primer would not only provide encouragement to local officials, but also describe the roles they can play and describe practical ways to implement their interests in education. This practical guide, if all goes according to plan, would be widely disseminated so that local officials in all parts of the country in cities and towns of all sizes would be able to initiate plans and initiatives appropriate to the needs of their residents.

The second 1992 initiative is the development of a speakers' bureau that would be the linchpin of an action campaign. Task Force members and other appropriate local officials will accept invitations to visit cities and towns across the country to share their experiences and to lend their expertise.

A summary of the full set of six recommendations is as follows:

1. The National League of Cities should, and can, become more directly involved in the national discussion about improving educational outcomes for children.

2. NLC should more regularly disseminate information on the roles that cities and towns can, and have, played in education through the use of existing mechanisms like Nation's Cities Weekly, national conferences, and the state municipal leagues and through the development of new mechanisms like a primer and a speakers' bureau.

3. NLC should consider initiating a conference, possibly on an annual basis, to coordinate activities of the National League of Cities and other national organizations in the area of municipalities and education.

4. NLC should continue committing staff to support efforts to make education a key issue area within NLC.

5. The NLC Human Development Policy Committee should be asked to take up education as an issue.

6. The Task Force should continue through December 1992 to provide oversight and continuity for the recommendations that do not require new funding and to develop implementation plans and fund-raising strategies for those that do require new funds (for example, the primer, the speakers' bureau, and the conference).

The complete report of the Task Force is available by contacting John E. Kyle who provides staff assistance to the Task Force. Contact him at the National League of Cities, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004; telephone (202) 626-3030.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Kyle, John E.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1991
Previous Article:Full text of NLC President Sidney J. Barthelemy's address at the Congress of Cities.
Next Article:Youth task force looks at Head Start.

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