Many states use an inflated graduation rate for federal reporting requirements under the No Child Left Behind law and a different one at home, reports the New York Times. As a result, researchers say, federal figures obscure a dropout epidemic so severe that only about 70 percent of the one million American students who start ninth grade each year graduate four years later. California, for example, sends to Washington an official graduation rate of 83 percent but reports an estimated 67 percent on a state web site. Delaware reported 84...

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