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Most high-school seniors study very little for school, and, perhaps as a result, many appear to be setting their sights low for college, a national survey concludes.

The poll of 940 seniors--including 599 who say they plan to attend a four-year college--found that three-fifths of those polled say they study an hour or less a day.

At the same time, it found, two-thirds say there are colleges they would like to attend, but cannot. Of these, nearly half said their preferred college is "too expensive," and 41 percent said they are "not academically qualified" for the institution.

"Given that expenses and grades can both be addressed by improving academics, it is disheartening that students won't work harder to reach higher," said Janet Ronkin, president of the Ronkin Educational Group, a Plantation, Fla.-based firm that commissioned the survey.

Students' after-school work contributes to high rates of absenteeism and low grades, a report by a Chicago-based research organization concludes.

The report by the National Safe Workplace Institute, based in part on a survey of Illinois high-school guidance counselors, also found that "thousands" of teenagers in the state are illegally employed, often in unsafe workplaces. The number of child-labor violations in Illinois increased 10-fold over the past six years, the report found.

"It is truly foolish for our society to pour billions into education when so many students do not have time to study," said Joseph A. Kinney, the institute's executive director.

The report notes that 19 states have enacted laws restricting the hours youths under age 18 can work. It urges Illinois lawmakers to create a 10 P.M. work curfew on school nights, as six other states have done.

A New York City education group last week awarded $30,000 to seven schools for their efforts to reduce racial and ethnic tensions among youths in their schools and surrounding communities.

Among the "Harmony Awards" honorees were: the "Fellowship Forum," a joint conflict-resolution effort led by three schools in the Bensonhurst area, scene of a recent highly charged violent incident; Theodore Roosevelt High School, which has created a multicultural-education program to promote inter-racial understanding; and P.S. 52 in Jamaica, Queens, which created a singing group to spread a message of harmony to surrounding schools and community groups.

The awards program, sponsored by the New York Alliance for the Public Schools, was funded by the Revlon Foundation.--rr

Vol. 10, Issue 19

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