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South Lags Behind in Graduating Low Income Students

By Associated Press

Atlanta, GA – A report out Tuesday says the South is headed for an economic crisis if states don't begin investing more to help poor children succeed in school.

The report from the Southern Education Foundation shows that a majority of students enrolled in public schools across 15 Southern states are now low income and states are not doing enough to make sure they graduate from high school and go on to college.

Low income students are children who are eligible for free and reduced meals at school.

Poor students are more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to graduate from high school than their wealthier classmates. They perform worse than higher income students on standardized exams.

But schools across the South spend less per pupil than other states.

In 2006, 54 percent of students enrolled in public schools in the South were low income. That's compared to 46 nationally and 33 percent in Virginia.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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