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A lawsuit that seeks to force the Census Bureau to adjust its figures to correct for any undercounting of the urban poor and members of minority groups in the 1990 census has cleared a major hurdle.

Arguing that "the census has consistently undercounted the minority population," U.S. District Judge Joseph M. McLaughlin in New York last month refused to dismiss the case and set a hearing for July.

Plaintiffs in the suit--including the governments of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, California, New York State, and Dade County, Fla.--argue that inaccurate census figures have resulted in the loss of political representation and federal financial aid.

Several federal programs, including some in education, use census figures in their formulas for distributing funds to state and local governments.

In a long-anticipated move, President Bush last week nominated William Lucas to head the Justice Department's civil-rights division.

The nomination of the Wayne County, Mich., county executive for the postion formerly held by William Bradford Reynolds has already spurred heated debate.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People last week became the first major civil-rights organization to formally oppose the nomination. Its leaders argued that Mr. Lucas lacks the experience necessary for "one of the most sensitive posts in government."

Roy E. Truby, associate professor of education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was named last week to be executive staff director of the new National Assessment Governing Board.

Appointed by the board and Secre4tary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos, Mr. Truby will direct the work and manage the staff of the 23-member panel. The board is responsible for setting policy for the National Assessment of Education Progress, a key source of data on the academic achievement of the nation's students.

Mr. Truby previously served as chief state school officer in West Virginia and Idaho.

Bonnie Guiton has announced plans to leave her post as the Education Department's assistant secretary for vocational and adult education to become the director of the office of consumer affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Department officials said Ms. Guiton will not leave her current post until a replacement is named.

The Education Department has issued a new guide designed to help principals bolster the quality of reading instruction.

Prepared by the Houghton Mifflin Company in conjunction with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the booklet offers advice on organizing school resources to foster an environment that "values literacy."

Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos announced the publication of "Becoming a Nation of Readers: What Principals Can Do" at the8n.a.e.s.p.'s annual convention in Atlanta.

The n.a.e.s.p. is mailing copies of the 23-page booklet to every elementary- and middle-school principal in the country. Additional copies are available for $2 each from the n.a.e.s.p., Education Products Division, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-3483.

The continuing strength of the nation's labor markets has brought about a substantial improvement in teenagers' employment prospects, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobless rate for teens was 13.7 percent in March, compared with 14.8 percent in February and 16.4 percent a year ago.

The biggest employment gains were found among black teenage males, who traditionally have the highest jobless rates of any major group in the economy. Their rate fell to 28.6 percent in March, from 33.1 percent in February and 37.8 percent last year.

But the situation worsened for black females. Their unemployment rate rose to 34.8 percent in March from 31.6 percent the previous month.

Among all black teenagers, the 31.6 percent rate in March was almost four percentage points below the March 1988 level.

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