School reform: move toward action

One of the great challenges in education - as elsewhere in society - is translating ideas into action. This gets enormously complicated when everyone agrees something needs to be done, but can't agree on what.

The drive to improve American education is at a crucial stage. Numerous critical reports have been published.

A conference beginning today in Indianapolis can be helpful in moving reform forward. Its purpose is to weigh educational needs against the many ideas for reform offered this year, and come up with an immediate agenda for states.

Called the National Forum on Excellence in Education, it is led by US Education Secretary Terrel H. Bell. State and local elected officials will be there, as well as educators.

This is no time for half measures: We need to assess our educational system thoroughly. Proposals for fundamental change should be considered, as well as more modest recommendations.

Timing is crucial. The public mood now seeks change; but educators expect much of that support to dissipate in a year.

If the conference comes up with clear-cut recommendations on which state legislatures and school boards can act in their sessions early next year, it will have performed a valuable service to the United States and its children.

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