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A Pennsylvania state judge has granted permission to three groups representing parents and child advocates to intervene in Philadelphia's school-desegregation case.

Judge Doris A. Smith expressed hope that her action this month would silence local politicians, who she charged have been advancing their own political agendas by stirring up fears that mandatory busing for racial balance would be imposed in the city's schools.

The three groups allowed to intervene in the case are the Olney-Oaklane-Feltonville Parents for Better Schools, which is seeking the construction of more schools to reduce overcrowding; the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Quality Education, which opposes mandatory busing; and a coalition of various education, parent, and civil-rights organizations represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

Interest in the case, which remains unresolved after more than 20 years, increased dramatically recently when a court-appointed team of experts recommended pairing 10 predominantly white schools with 10 predominantly minority schools and busing children between them. (See Education Week, Jan. 20, 1993.)

The school district opposes the panel's plan, but officials of the state human-relations commission, the plaintiff in the case, have said in court that they will support the plan if it will lead to better schools.

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