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Not Many Hispanic Dropouts Are Getting GEDs

Only one in 10 Hispanic high school dropouts gets a General Educational Development credential, compared with two in ten African-American dropouts and three in ten white dropouts, according to a report released by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

The low rate of Hispanics earning GED credentials is notable because Hispanics have a higher dropout rate than blacks or whites, writes the report's author, Richard Fry, a senior research associate for the center. The report shows that in 2008, 37 percent of Hispanics age 20 or older hadn't completed high school. That compared with 18 percent of blacks and 10 percent of whites in the same age range.

Many of the Hispanics who are high school dropouts and didn't get a GED were born outside of the United States. The report says that among Hispanic dropouts living in this country, 21 percent have a GED, compared with just 5 percent of the foreign-born.

The report looks at how Latinos with GEDs end up fairing in the labor market. They are more likely to be unemployed than Latinos with a regular high school diploma, 9 percent versus 7 percent. But both groups have about the same annual earnings.

Also this week, WestEd released a paper by Patricia Gandara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, with recommendations on how to improve the academic achievement of Latinos. She calls for school integration, bilingual education, and wrap-around services in schools, such as mental health programs.

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