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IMMIGRANTS' CHILDREN GET HIGHER GRADES, STUDY SAYS

A multiyear survey that is the largest ever of the children of immigrants -- who now account for almost one in five American children -- found that they have higher grades and steeply lower school dropout rates than other American children.

The survey reported in Saturday's New York Times also said the children also overwhelmingly prefer English to their parents' native tongues.

The research team -- led by Professor Ruben Rumbaut, a sociologist at Michigan State University, and Professor Alejandro Portes, a sociologist at Princeton University -- interviewed 5,200 youngsters in Southern California and South Florida in 1992 when the youths were in the eighth or ninth grades and then tracked down 82 percent of them for a second interview in 1995 and 1996 when most of them were high school seniors.

The $1 million survey was financed by the Russell Sage, Andrew W. Mellon, Spencer and National Science foundations.

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