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As the new year began, the American population totaled an estimated 237.2 million, up 2.1 million from Jan. 1, 1984, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The record for net population growth in a single year is 3.1 million, set in the baby boom year of 1956, the bureau notes. The U.S. population then was about 168 million.


Pat Ordovensky, a reporter for the Gannett News Service, has ruffled feathers of school officials in several states with his re-analysis of the 50-state figures in former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell's second "wall chart," released last month. Gov. Joe Frank Harris of Georgia, which came up with the lowest ranking on Mr. Ordovensky's composite chart, was reported by his press aide to be "mad as fire."

The Gannett ranking of the states was achieved by taking Mr. Bell's chart figures on "quality" (such as test scores, college-going and dropout rates, and per-pupil expenditures) and "hardship" (per-capita income and number of disadvantaged and handicapped students, for example), ranking the top 20 states in each category, assigning scores from 20 down to 1 for each state, and then adding each state's total score.

"The wall chart was supposed to provide state-by-state comparisons,'' said Mr. Ordovensky. "I wanted to see where it all came out." His top-ranked localities are, in order: Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, New Jersey, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Wisconsin.


Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Lyndon B. Johnson and the American Dream, told students at the Boston Latin School this month that the former President was underrated by the press for "the courage it took to see his civil-rights legislation pass through Congress." Participating in a lecture series celebrating the school's 350th anniversary as the first high school in the nation, Ms. Kearns said she hoped more women and minorities would "get involved with public life, but carry their interests in home and family life with them."

The lecture series is jointly sponsored by Boston Latin and School Volunteers for Boston Inc.


Hart Lee Dykes, a talented senior athlete at Bay City (Tex.) High School, planned to pay his own way to Washington, D.C., this month to accept an award as the nation's top scholastic athlete from Armour-Dial, the soap manufacturer. He was barred from accepting travel and lodging expenses from the firm under the rules of the University Scholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas.

Local sentiment on the situation was reflected in the comment of O.A. Schraub, assistant principal of the school, who said, "We're none too happy about it, but we'll go by the rules of the uil" Jeopardizing Mr. Dykes's eligibility to play would be foolish, he suggested.

The athlete is an able basketball player, baseball pitcher, and high jumper who has been approached by more than 100 colleges and universities, said Mr. Schraub.

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