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Pope John Paul II will visit a classroom at a Roman Catholic school in Los Angeles during his 10-day tour of the United States this September.

Archbishop Roger M. Mahony has announced that the Pope will hold "an informal exchange with students'' on Sept. 16 at one of seven elementary schools within a four-mile radius of downtown Los Angeles.

The visit is scheduled for the second day of the Pope's stay in Los Angeles. The block of time was originally reserved for a meeting between the Pope and President and Mrs. Reagan, but that event had to be rescheduled.

On Sept. 12, the Pope will speak to Catholic educators at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

A new study appears to confirm the researcher James S. Coleman's controversial finding that black and Hispanic students in Catholic schools tend to outperform their peers in public schools.

The latest findings are based on data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and "High School and Beyond,'' the U.S. Education Department's longitudinal study of high-school students. Mr. Coleman's work was also based on the department's study, which included data on 1,900 black and Hispanic students in 94 public high schools and 2,050 students in 83 Catholic schools.

According to the new study, minority students who attended Catholic schools took more academic courses and scored higher on reading tests than did minority students in public schools. Valerie E. Lee, an assistant professor of education at the University of Michigan, and Anthony Bryk, an associate professor of education at the University of Chicago, conducted the research.

Copies of the study are available from Ms. Lee, the School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109.

Private-school enrollment as a percentage of total enrollment in kindergarten through the 12th grade increased from 9.8 percent in 1984 to 10.9 percent in 1985, according to an "issue paper'' included in the latest edition of "The Condition of Education,'' the U.S. Education Department's annual statistical report.

Enrollment in private schools dropped during the 1970's, from 10.9 percent of total enrollment in 1970 to 10.1 percent in 1979. Copies of the annual report are available for $13 each from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. The stock number is 065-000-00276-1.

Independent Sector, the country's largest coalition of nonprofit organizations, is attempting to find out how the estimated $40.9 billion that Americans donated to religious groups last year is being used.

Last month, the group began asking 4,300 congregations of 170 denominations to describe their finances, including education-related spending. The survey is expected to provide information that is unavailable to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Lilly Endowment and the Pew Charitable Trust are financing the $200,000 study.--K.G.

Vol. 06, Issue 38

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