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Macmillan Inc., a leading textbook publisher purchased last November by the British publisher Robert Maxwell, last week announced its acquisition of Merrill Publishing from Bell & Howell Company for $260 million in cash.

Merrill Publishing, a Columbus, Ohio-based publisher of elementary, high-school, and college textbooks, is best known for its books in the science field.

Mr. Maxwell acquired Macmillan in a $2.5-billion takeover deal last November, adding substantially to the British publisher's stake in the American educational publishing industry.

In the 1970's and 1980's, community colleges have shifted their emphasis to vocational training and have reduced their commitment to liberal-arts students who plan to transfer to four-year colleges, two scholars contend in a book published last week.

The Diverted Dream: Community Colleges and the Promise of Educational Opportunity in America, 1900-1985, is being touted as the most comprehensive study to date on the role of community colleges. Its authors are Steven Brint, associate professor of sociology at Yale University, and Jerome Karabel, associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.

One consequence of the shift in emphasis is a dramatic decline in the transfer rate from two- to four-year colleges, which is now below 20 percent, the scholars state.

"For students who wish to obtain a bachelor's degree, attendance at a community college independently lowers their prospects of success," the authors argue. This has serious consequences for minorities, women, and the economically disadvantaged--groups "that are disproportionately concentrated in two-year colleges," the authors write.

Vol. 09, Issue 04

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