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Published in Print: September 24, 2003, as Report Roundup

Report Roundup

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Study Finds Lower Rate Of School Graduation

The nation's high school graduation rate is much lower than previous studies have shown, a report from a New York City-based think tank suggests.

Using U.S. Department of Education data, researchers from the Manhattan Institute determined that only 70 percent of all students in the public high school class of 2001 graduated. The percentages were significantly lower for African-American and Hispanic students—about 50 percent for each group.

The report also estimates college-readiness rates using data on what courses students completed, literacy skills, and graduation rates. It concludes that only 32 percent of graduates left high school qualified to attend a four-year college.

—Kevin Bushweller

Tech Spending

Educational technology spending by public schools is expected to reach $5.8 billion this year, a jump from $5.74 billion last year, according to a report that tracks such expenditures.

For More Info
"2003-2004 Technology Purchasing Forecast, 9th Edition" was produced by Quality Education Data, a research and database company based in Denver. Call (800) 525-5811 for information about ordering the report.

Part of the increase, the report points out, is due to schools' investment of more money in wireless technologies, such as wireless laptops and handheld computers. Of the 446 school districts surveyed for the report, 68 percent reported current ownership of wireless devices, a jump from 39 percent in 2002.

—Kevin Bushweller

Tobacco and Marijuana

There is a strong connection between teenage cigarette smoking and marijuana use, suggests a survey by the American Legacy Foundation and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, located at Columbia University.

Teenagers who smoke cigarettes are 14 times more likely to try marijuana than are their counterparts who have never smoked, and 60 percent of repeat marijuana users smoked cigarettes first, according to the findings. They were based on a survey of 1,987 adolescents, ages 12 to 17.

—Kevin Bushweller

Voucher Pricing

A $5,000 tuition tax credit would give students in urban areas access to most private schools because the average cost of private school tuition is $3,500, a report by the Washington-based Cato Institute says.

The study by the free-market-oriented think tank is based on surveys of private schools in six large and midsize American cities in places where school choice legislation has recently been adopted or is being considered. The cities included are Charleston, S.C., Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington.

—Kevin Bushweller

Snack Foods

A nutrition-advocacy group says some products in school vending machines are far worse for students' health than others.

According to a report by the Washington- based Center for Science in the Public Interest, the worst snacks sold at schools include: Chips Ahoy!, Oreo, and other fatty cookies; chocolate whole milk; Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other sodas; Frutopia, FruitWorks, and other high- sugar fruit drinks; Keebler Club & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers; Kit Kat Big Kat, Snickers, and other candy bars; Hostess Ho Hos; and Starburst Fruit Chews and other candies.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 4, Page 12

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