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Sunday, February 29, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Unfortunately, those are the alarming odds for the nation's African-American, Native-American and Hispanic students, according to a new study by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and several other organizations.
The findings mirror those of other national studies done in recent years. This state is no exception. A 2001 study by the Manhattan Institute found 53 percent of Washington's African-American students graduate while just 47 percent of Native-Americans andLatinos do.
Denying so many minority students a solid high-school education is unfair and un-American. It sets them up for a lifetime of hardship.
Lawmakers should be united in their outrage and unwavering in their quest for a solution.
Federal No Child Left Behind legislation, written with bipartisan cooperation and good intentions, was a decent, if flawed, step toward highlighting inequity and improving the nation's schools.
The legislation needs thoughtful revision and proper funding. Instead, the effort has dissolved into bickering and finger-pointing. This week, U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige compared the National Education Association to a "terrorist organization." The teachers' union has called for Paige's resignation.
The hostile climate is making real progress unlikely.
Young people aren't the only losers in the bet. Students who don't graduate from high school are more likely to go to jail, live in poverty and collect unemployment.
There is reason for hope. Many schools across the nation are successfully educating even the most disadvantaged students.
Improving the chances for the rest of the nation's children will take a unified effort. The grownups, in other words, will have to grow up.
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