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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 12, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednesday, September 12, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 3i A low-key, intellectualized auto show Teacher power key to giant school store EFC has set up model classrooms where teachers can see how pupils from Chicago's public and parochial schools respond to new teaching devices. By RALPH NOVAK CHICAGO the nation's high-spending educational establishment need a kind of classroom department store where teachers, principles and school board members can go to shop? Yes, according to former National Education Assn. president George Fischer and the financial angels who are putting up more than million for the Educational Facilities Center (EFC) here. Only maybe, according to a number of other school hands who are treading slowly as they approach the new idea. Fischer EFC board chair- man, says: "For a long time we have needed a place for people interested in education to come they could see new developments in the education world materials, new hardware, new teaching methods and techniques all being used with live children in a live en- vironment." According to the research department of the National Education Assn., the nation's largest teacher group, almost billion was spent on educa- tion in the 1972-73 school year and nearly half of that went for things other than salaries. Fischer contends that the people who decide where all that money is spent need a place where the products of all the manufacturers in the They're Coming Your Way September 16-17-18 Premier Peter Lougheed and members of the provincial cabinet are coming your way Septem- ber 16, 17 and 18. This is your opportunity to meet with members of the government and to discuss first hand any problems you may have. Please contact your local Municipal office, Board of Trade or Chamber of Commerce for the date, time and locations at which you may greet the official party in your area. Following the southwestern Alberta tour, a ca- binet meeting will be held at Lethbridge, Sep- tember 18. GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA education market can be seen side by side and com- against text- book, projector against pro- jector, desk against desk. So EFC, with banks and real estate interests handling the financing, is putting up a 34- story building on Michigan Avenue to house exhibits, classrooms where new materials and techniques will be demonstrated and meeting rooms where visiting educators can gather for workshops and seminars. Pending completion of that building in 1975, EFC has been operating since March 1972 on six floors of a building down the street from its future home. It is a low-key, intellec- tualized counterpart of an auto show, what Fischer calls "a place where you can browse at your leisure in a non-circus atmosphere with no pressure from a salesman or huckster.'' So far the center has been attracting about visitors a month, only a fourth of what Fischer would like to have. He admits that EFC is losing money now and is likely to keep doing so for a while. But he still radiates optimism, publicly at least. One reason for the op- timism is that the center has gained acceptance in some influential areas. Marguerite Block, a former elementary school principal and EFC's educational direc- tor, has persuaded the Chicago public school system and the Chicago archidiocese parochial schools to send pupils to the center's model "environments'' (or DePaul Univer- sity is running a class for children with learning dis- abilities at the center. And a number of educational materials' manufacturers have established information "modules" at EFC. (Mrs. Bloch says that all the new products used in the center's classes are screened and that several manufac- turers who wanted their materials used have been re- jected, "we call the she says. "If a manufacturer says, 'We don't like what you're doing with our that's just too Some people have reser- vations, however. John Field, vice president for promotion of the En- cyclopedia Britannica Educa- tion Corp., says: "We're a lit- tle cool on the idea. We have a large sales staff that is prepared to get out and do demonstrations and workshops for Our new products. And I wonder how certain it is that the people who move through the center will be the ones who make decisions on buying for the schools." secretary of -the American ministrators, adds: The ques- tion is whether the manufac- turers will have enough reason to keep their materials there when the number of peo- ple who can come to look at it is limited. I was a school dis- trict superintendent in California and I doubt if I would have sent anyone all the way to Chicago for something like this. If you're interested in buying school furniture, for instance, you can go around to schools in your geographic area and see what is available that way." And Austin McCaffrey, vice president of the Association of American Publishers, Inc.; says: "The idea is really too new, too young, too innovative to determine what success it. will have, especially at a time when interest in education seems in some respect to be lagging and it is unclear what will happen in the area of school finance." "In the old days." he says, "schools used to start in the fall and the principal would say, ''Here, Miss .Jones: this is the jiiath series you'll (each this year.' It's pretty hard to get by with this today and it'll be almost impossible to do :t tomorrow." GEORGE D. 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