THERE IS ENCOURAGING news from the D.C. amendment battle front: after seemingly endless rounds of infighting over who would lead the charge to get the amendment ratified in the states, there is some quiet, effective work under way. Instead of arguing anymore over how much of the stage Walter Fauntroy is willing to share, a local/national coalition that worked the halls of Congress so successfully for passage of the amendment is moving ahead on its own.

It is the Self-Determination for D.C. Coalition, which includes church, civic, labor, business and religious organizations with affiliates throughout the country. And it is taking on precisely the kind of lowprofile, temperate, state-by-state educational work needed to tell the District's story to people in the rest of the country. Slowly and sensitively, the coalition has developed contacts in every state. Formal local coalitions have been established in 20 stataes, and in others there are representatives of various organizations exchanging information and reports on their state legislatures.

In this city, the coalition, made up mostly of volunteers, is acting as a clearinghouse -- mailing out and telephoning information requested by its affiliate organizations, helping on testimony to be presented at hearings in state capitals, checking head counts and seeking out further political and lobbying cotacts in the state capitals. Important, too, is the coalition's emphasis on a broad spectrum of helpers -- Republicans Democrats, business and labor leaders, blacks and whites and non-partisan members of citizen organizations such as the League of Woman Voters and the National Council of Churches.

This is not glamorous work. It requires patience, contributions of time and money and political sophistication. But that, after all, is the most accurate and effective way to present the amendment for what it is -- a matter of basic justice, not a racial or partisan issue.