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Mayors Release Public Schools Plan

May 6, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Improving school safety, reducing class size and ensuring teachers are well prepared are among the recommendations offered to improve public schools by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in a new report.

The report was released Wednesday at the Mayor’s Conference on Public Schools, a two-day education conference scheduled to conclude with a meeting with President Clinton on Thursday.

``If the federal government wants to see where the hard work is being done on education, just go to the local level,″ said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to a group of mayors and educators.

Though a few mayors have jurisdiction over their own school systems, mayors are becoming more active in working with school boards and administrators to help improve schools, said Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

While Riordan has no day-to-day authority over the schools in the nation’s second-largest school district, he said he has entered into a plan with school officials to help the schools do a better job.

``We have to make people accountable,″ Riordan said.

Daley, on the other hand, was given control of the Chicago school district in 1995 by state officials and has put in place his own roster of school managers.

A plan started in Chicago that has won plaudits from education experts is the Lighthouse after-school program, which provides academic support, social activities and a meal to 112,000 children in 248 schools.

``The most important thing we can do as mayors is educate our young people,″ Daley said.

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