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Survey Finds 58% of Black Students Do Not View Bias as Obstacle

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Most of Indiana's black children do not view prejudice as an obstacle to their success, a study released this month indicates.

Fifty-eight percent of the African-American children surveyed said prejudice would not reduce their chances of succeeding in life.

Fifteen percent view it as a major obstacle and 27 percent as a minor one, according to a summary of the survey's results entitled "Indiana Dreams: Students, Parents, and the American Dream of the 1990's.''

The survey also found that 70 percent of black high school seniors believe their lives will turn out better than their parents', compared with 53 percent of white seniors.

Black seniors are slightly less likely than white seniors to anticipate earning at least a bachelor's degree, and far more likely to expect they will have to leave the state to find work, the researchers found.

African-American and Hispanic parents are more inclined thanwhite parents to want their children to go to college, they also found.

The findings come from the Indiana Youth Opportunity Study, a continuing study of 5,000 Indiana public school students, their parents, and their school counselors. The project is described as one of the first to gather extensive information at the state and local levels on students' planning for life after high school.

'High Hopes, Long Odds'

The report repeats preliminary findings from the survey, released last spring, that while Indiana students and parents have high hopes for the future, they have little understanding of college-entrance requirements, job opportunities, and other factors they need to consider in making crucial educational decisions. (See Education Week, May 5, 1993.)

"They have their dreams and plenty of zeal to pursue them,'' the report states. "What they lack is preparation.''

The Lilly Endowment, which commissioned the study, this month launched a campaign to involve parents, educators, and education policy-makers around the state in a discussion of its findings.

Over the next 10 months, seven other reports are expected to be released from the study, "High Hopes, Long Odds,'' which involved surveys of more than 5,000 Indiana students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade, as well as their parents and guidance counselors.

Information on the study can be obtained by calling the Indiana Youth Institute at (317) 634-4222 or (800) 343-7060.

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