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In Texas Gubernatorial Showdown, Dispute Over Dropouts

High school dropouts in Texas have taken center stage in Democrat Bill White's campaign to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

For several days, White, the former mayor of Houston, has been hammering away at Perry for downplaying the state's high school dropout rate. White says three out of every 10 students don't graduate from high school or receive a GED within four years and that Perry uses discredited figures to show higher rates of high school graduation. Perry's campaign has mostly responded by saying that White's dropout calculations are inaccurate.

(According to our colleagues in the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, Texas' graduation rate in 2006 was 65.3 percent. Click here to see for yourselves.)

White has pledged to talk about the dropout issue everywhere he campaigns, which, if he does, will be a boon to the educators and advocates who are struggling to keep more students on the path to high school graduation.

Let's ask our Texan friends: Will the dropout issue gain and keep traction with voters? Will White keep it as a central theme to his campaign?

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