Colin Powell: Minority Dropout Rate is a 'Catastrophe'

No stranger to battle, the retired general is now taking on perhaps his grestest foe to date...

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52 percent.

That is the average rate of 4-year graduation among Black and Hispanic high school students in the United States, according to a study. The national average is 70 percent. Both these statistics are troubling, particularly the latter, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell hopes to bring both up.

Through America's Promise Alliance, a group he formed with his wife Alma, Powell hopes to raise awareness to this problem across the country through summits and trying to recruit those who believe in their cause. Powell told CNN:

"It's a ground game. There's no Hail Mary pass. This is going to be a yard-at-a-time as we go after this problem...If we lose these youngsters from our educational system, it doesn't mean they're all going to jail; it just means they're not going to have the same earning potential as they would if they finished school. And ultimately that will affect them, and it will affect the nation."

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