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National CrossTalk Fall 1999
News Editorial Other Voices Interview

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News From the Center

  North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., chairman of the Center Board of Directors, visits an El Paso elementary school.
  North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., chairman of the Center Board of Directors, visits an El Paso elementary school.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education met last fall in El Paso, Texas, site of one of the nation's most successful partnerships between public schools and higher education -- the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence.

Board members heard Diana S. Natalicio, president of the University of Texas-El Paso, describe the work of the Collaborative, which includes UTEP, the local community college, the three largest school districts in the area and local business and civic leaders. Natalicio said that introducing reform at all levels simultaneously, from kindergarten through college, has enabled the Collaborative to help the area's predominantly Mexican-American students increase their reading and math test scores dramatically.

Board members also heard from Susanna Navarro, executive director of the Collaborative, and from Arturo Pacheco, dean of the UTEP School of Education, and they visited one of the elementary schools involved in the reform effort.

The Center continues to develop a 50-state higher education "report card" that will be the Center's major continuing project. States will be evaluated in six areas, three dealing with postsecondary educational opportunity and three with educational attainment and achievement.

The Center's hope is that the report card will help to stimulate a discussion among educational, political and business and civic leaders in each state, with a goal of expanding college opportunity and achievement.

The Center expects to publish its first report card next fall.

A national advisory panel met in Durham, North Carolina, recently, to review the project and to offer suggestions and criticisms. The panel is chaired by David W. Breneman, Professor and Dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

Other members are Robert Atwell, president emeritus, American Council on Education; Julie Davis Bell, program director, National Conference of State Legislatures; Anthony P. Carnevale, vice president for public leadership, Educational Testing Service; Ronald R. Cowell, president, The Education and Policy Leadership Center; and Alfredo G. de los Santos, Jr., former vice chancellor for educational development, Maricopa Community Colleges.

Also, Virginia B. Edwards, editor and publisher, Education Week; Emerson Elliott, former commissioner, the National Center for Education Statistics; Milton Goldberg, executive vice president, National Alliance of Business; Elaine H. Hairston, chancellor emerita, Ohio Board of Regents; and Mario Martinez, assistant professor of education management and development, New Mexico State University.

Also, Margaret Miller, president, American Association for Higher Education; Michael Nettles, professor of education and public policy, The University of Michigan School of Education; Alan Wagner, principal administrator, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Richard D. Wagner, former executive director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; and Joan Wills, director, Center for Workforce Development, Institute for Educational Leadership.

  Virginia B. Smith
  Virginia B. Smith
Virginia B. Smith, president emerita of Vassar College and a member of the Center's Board of Directors, is herself the recipient of the first Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award, given jointly by the Center and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

The award was established a year ago to honor creative and innovative achievements in higher education. The organizations decided that no one better represented these accomplishments than the person for whom the award has been named.

Nominations for this year's award should be sent to CAEL, care of Innovative Leadership Award, 55 East Monroe, Suite 1930, Chicago, IL, 60603.

Higher Education and the Schools, a report by J. Michael Timpane, has been published jointly by the Institute for Educational Leadership, the State Higher education Executive Officers and theNational Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

In the report, Timpane, senior advisor for education policy at RAND, summarizes the key elements of contemporary school reform, identifies the reform issues with the most significant policy implications for higher education, and proposes that state-sponsored leadership forums be created to promote regular discussion of reform issues between higher education and K-12 systems.
Higher Education and the Schools is part of a series, "Perspectives in Public Policy: Connecting Higher Education and the Public Schools." Other reports published in this series include:

  • All One System: A Second Look, by Harold L. Hodgkinson, and
  • Doing Comparatively Well: Why the Public Loves Higher Education and Criticizes K-12, by John Immerwahr.

Reports in this series are available for $15 per copy; quantity discounts are available for orders of more than nine copies. Send requests for information and orders via e-mail ( or by fax to the Institute for Educational Leadership, (202)872-4050.

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