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Archive for Wednesday, July 29, 1992

FOCUS ON EDUCATION

July 29, 1992

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About 20 Lawrence residents attended a satellite "town meeting" Tuesday night, and Ross Perot wasn't invited or missed.

The satellite technology that the former presidential hopeful would have used to get nationwide input on political issues was used Tuesday to focus on the America 2000 plan, which includes six national education goals.

Joining in on the satellite hookup locally were members of both the Lawrence Education Round Table, a local forum for discussing education issues, and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's Task Force on Business-Education Partnerships. The satellite hookup was at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The satellite meeting, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focused on the first of the six national education goals: "By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn."

GENE RAMP, round table chairman and executive director of Educational Systems at Kansas University, said the meeting illustrated to him the need for a local effort to meet the American 2000 goals. The Lawrence school board adopted those goals in October.

Ramp said the satellite meeting featured one community that had developed a 300-member task force centered on the America 2000 goals. That task force had broken into smaller groups to focus on how to achieve each of the individual goals.

"I think it could be very effective for Lawrence if we could use this (America 2000) as a framework," Ramp said.

The Lawrence school board has approved implementing the Parents as Teachers program, which teaches parenting skills to the parents of children up through age 3. District officials say the program addresses the goal of children starting school ready to learn.

ALSO, GRANT School is developing a Math-Science Learning Center, which addresses the America 2000 goal of U.S. students being first in the world in math and science.

But Ramp said he thinks a more coordinated, community-wide effort would be more effective in meeting the America 2000 goals.

"There is a lot going on, but it is not coordinated, and I think we could strangle ourselves by everybody going around in circles," Ramp said. "We need a strategy to try to get people to talk together rather than have everybody going off in their own direction."

Jan Dicker, a teacher at Grant School who also attended the meeting, said she also would like to see a more concerted effort to meet the America 2000 goals.

"We have a lot of little pockets and groups," Dicker said. "We need to get our energies together and use the university and the business people and group together to have a plan."

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