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One in six, or half a million, of the nation's 3rd graders have attended at least three different schools since the 1st grade, and those children are much more likely to be low achievers than those who have not changed schools, according to a new General Accounting Office report.

The report is based on an Education Department study of 15,000 3rd graders in 235 schools in the 1990-91 school year. Of those who changed schools frequently, 41 percent were below grade level in reading and 33 percent were below grade level in math, compared with 26 percent and 17 percent of those who did not change schools.

The report also notes that students who often change schools are less likely to be served by the federal migrant-education and Chapter 1 programs than less mobile peers.

Single copies of "Elementary School Children,'' stock no. G.A.O./H.E.H.S.-94-95, are available for free from the G.A.O., P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, Md. 20884.


Teenage Smoking: "The public-health movement against tobacco use will be successful when young people no longer want to smoke,'' Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders writes in "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People,'' a Congressionally mandated report she released last week.

It discusses the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke on adolescents, trends in teenagers' tobacco use, the effects of tobacco advertising and prevention efforts, and effective school policies.

Copies of the report are $19 each from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402-9328.

Setting Standards: The Education Department has announced a second round of grants for states developing academic standards in the arts, civics, English, foreign languages, geography, and history.

The department last year awarded $3 million for standards-setting efforts in 13 states. In keeping with the Administration's proposed "goals 2000'' legislation, the agency suggests in a Feb. 11 Federal Register notice that states this time may not be required to tie their standards to national standards.

Comments are due March 14.


Bilingual Official: The new deputy director of the Education Department's office of bilingual education and minority-language affairs, Dang T. Pham, emigrated from his native Vietnam at age 19.

Mr. Pham worked for five years as a bilingual high school teacher in the Boston public schools, and helped develop a proficiency test in Vietnamese for the Massachusetts education department. He has also served as educational programs director for the Massachusetts office for refugees and immigrants.

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