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New presidents at Bates, Trinity College

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, elected its first woman president last weekend. Elaine Tuttle Hansen, currently a provost and professor of English at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, will assume her new role July 1. Meanwhile, Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., appointed as its next president Richard Hersh, a former president of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. His academic work focuses on school reform.

Study shows benefits of small classes

Milwaukee, Wisc. - Evaluators of a class-size reduction program in Wisconsin found that minimizing class sizes leads to a higher achievement for students living in poverty. The five-year-old program, called the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education, is a statewide effort to reduce student-teacher ratios to 15:1 in Grades K-3. The evaluators, from Arizona State University, concluded that the program improves the test scores of participating students. The 2000-'01 evaluation focused on 1,542 third-graders in 93 classrooms.

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Southern Calif. cracks down on truancy

Santa Ana, Calif. - As part of a crackdown on truancy in Orange County, a father must attend classes with his fourth-grade son after the student allegedly missed 45 days of school. Among other new truancy penalties, parents could lose public-assistance benefits, and students could lose their driver's licenses and be subject to curfews. School truancy has rarely been prosecuted in the past because of a lack of staff and money. But the Orange County District Attorney's Office recently won state and federal grants to assign three prosecutors to truancy cases.

Error found in affordable-colleges study

The Lumina Foundation for Education has issued a correction on its recent study of the accessibility of higher education, which the Monitor covered in the Jan. 15 article "For many, college is a debt-defying feat." The foundation says it misclassified 111 of the hundreds of colleges listed as difficult for low-income families to afford. Of those, 82 should have been rated as more affordable, while 29 were actually less affordable.