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Report: Calif. Failing at Sending High School Students to College

California ranks 48th in the nation in the  percentage of high school seniors who go on to a four-year college the next  academic year, according to the annual California Educational Opportunity  Report -- involving UCLA researchers -- released today.

The near-the-bottom ranking comes despite the fact that the majority of  California students who graduate indicate an intention to get a bachelor's  degree, according to the report.

"The problem is not one of low expectations of what students can  accomplish but of the inability of our educational system to meet widely held  high expectations of what it should deliver," according to the report produced  by UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access along with the  University of California's All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity.

The study combines state data with public perceptions gathered in focus  groups.

The data show a disparity between students' goals and their ability to  achieve them through California's schools, according to the report.

Specifically, the report states that:
      -- California students are more likely to attend overcrowded schools and  receive less personal attention;
      -- "intensely segregated" high schools are three times as likely as  majority white and Asian schools to experience shortages of qualified math  teachers;
      -- in 81 percent of California high schools, less than half of 11th and  12th graders enroll in advanced math classes;
      -- almost one-third of California middle schools face federal sanctions  for failing to reach annual proficiency goals;
      -- and even before the budget cuts, the state spent $2,000 less per  student than the national average.

The report's authors said they worried the current economic crisis could  lead to a worsening situation for the state's education system.  

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