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Fifty-four percent of registered voters surveyed by the Gallup Organization last month said that a child should be enrolled in a bilingual program in school only until he or she learns English.

The survey was commissioned by U.S. English, whose goal is to make English the official language of the United States.

Of the 995 likely voters surveyed, 37 percent said bilingual education should be used to maintain a child's native language, and 9 percent were undecided on the issue. Voters from families with a native language other than English did not differ significantly from native English speakers in their opinions.

Ronald Saunders, executive director of U.S. English, said the survey results support his organization's call for effective bilingual-education programs that teach English within two to three years.

But James Lyons, executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education, said the survey did not include enough members of various language minorities and failed to give respondents adequate background on language issues.

The survey, which is deemed accurate to within plus or minus 3 percent, also found that 71 percent of the general public and 64 percent of families in which other native languages are spoken thought the maintenance of foreign languages and cultures should be a private concern rather than the responsibility of public schools.

Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed favored designating English as the nation's official language of government.

Spurred in part by a softening economy, enrollment at two-year colleges is growing at a faster rate than that of four-year schools, according to a survey by the College Board.

The survey found that between 1988 and 1989, freshman class size grew an average of 10 percent at two-year colleges, but fell by an average of 1 percent at four-year schools.

Over the same period, the number of high-school graduates decreased 7 percent, according to U.S. Education Department figures.

Between 1980 and 1989, the survey says, undergraduate enrollment grew an average of 17 percent at two-year colleges and only 7 percent at four-year institutions.

Economic considerations may fuel some of the growth, Jean Marzone, director of information services for the board, said in a statement. Two-year colleges "may be attracting students who want to save money during the first two years of college, or who need to acquire entry-level job skills quickly."

Increased enrollment of part-time students also accounts for some growth, Ms. Marzone said, noting that the part-time enrollment of two-year colleges grew an average of 27 percent between 1980 and 1989, double the rate for four-year schools.

Copies of "Summary Statistics: Annual Survey of Colleges, 1990-91" are available for $25 each, plus $2.95 handling, from College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, N.Y. 10101-0886.

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