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Advocates Say Dropout Problem Is Civil Rights Issue


Education advocates met in San Diego last week to demand local and state leaders take dramatic action to reverse California's high school dropout rates. They say it boils down to a civil rights issue. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.   

The Campaign for High School Equity is a coalition of civil rights groups trying to create change in public education.

They say California's dropout crisis has reached epidemic proportions among black and Latinos.

The coalition's Ramon Miramontes Research shows two out of five black and Latino students do not finish high school.

Miramontes : What happens to these individuals without a high school degree, disproportionately, is they end up incarceration or being the permanent underclass of this nation. That's why it's a civil rights case.

Coalition leaders want state education officials to hold high schools more accountable for increasing graduation rates among black and Latino students. They're demanding struggling schools get the same resources as campuses in more affluent neighborhoods.

Ray King is president of the Urban League of San Diego County.

King : Every child is born with the ability to learn. Sure, parents have an obligation to motivate and hold their kids accountable. But this society has an obligation to stand firmly behind every child in this society.

Research shows more than $100 billion could be injected into the state economy by the year 2020 if minority students graduated at the same rate as white students.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News. 



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