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High school graduates who do not go on to college do not have the necessary reading, writing, and mathematics skills for entry-level jobs, according to most high school principals and small businesses reponding to a new survey.

The National Alliance of Business surveyed 671 principals and 290 businesses with fewer than 500 workers. The principals generally rated students' skills higher than did the employers, but both groups agreed that graduates are deficient not only in reading, writing, and math, but also in their abilities to listen and to work independently.

About 40 percent of the principals agreed that high school graduates not going to college know enough math to hold an entry-level job. About 27 percent of the principals said that graduates write well enough, and 42 percent said they read well enough to hold jobs.

The employers took a dimmer view: Only 29 percent said that graduates' math skills are adequate, 19 percent said they could write adequately, and 27 percent agreed they could read well enough.

On a positive note, about half of the employers responding to the mailed survey agreed that high school graduates are able to work with others as a team.

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