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New York masks student dropout rate

NEW YORK - Struggling students are being pushed out of public schools that face pressure to improve their graduation rates, The New York Times reported late last week. Many leaving the system are classified under a category code that masks the fact that they aren't graduating.

The city's schools discharged more than 55,000 high school students during the 2000-2001 school year, while 34,000 graduated, the group Advocates for Children says.

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Many discharged students drop out, move, or transfer to private schools, but 40 percent are classified as "transferred to another educational setting." Schools Chancellor Joel Klein calls the problem "a tragedy."

Harvard newspaper demands access

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - Harvard University's student-run newspaper sued the Ivy League school last week for access to "secret" police reports detailing campus crime.

The Harvard Crimson and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts are asking a local court to rule that the university's police records are public documents viewable by anyone.

Harvard's police force patrols the campus of nearly 43,000 students, faculty, and staff. Officers carry guns and make arrests, just as city and state police officers do, but don't have to make files public because the school is private.

The newspaper was denied access to documents about two students facing criminal charges for embezzling $100,000 from a campus group.

Students revive banned Islamic group

CAIRO - Egyptian security agents arrested 11 suspects last week on charges of trying to revive a banned Islamic group. Prosecutors say the 11 were working on behalf of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Group responsible for the 1997 massacre of tourists at the ancient site of Luxor.

The group met in a Cairo-area house owned by Nasser Abdel Al, the leader and a teacher in a religious institute, and included eight students and two government employees, police say.