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Can you say "achievement gap"? The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that more than a third of California's African-American public high school students dropped out before graduation day, a startling number and one that's on the rise, according to 2009 data released Tuesday. The 37 percent African-American dropout rate, up three percentage points from the prior year, was far above that of any other ethnic subgroup. Hispanic students had the second-highest rate at 27 percent. Locally, San Francisco cautiously celebrated a 9 percent overall dropout rate, a stark contrast to Oakland's 40 percent, numbers still under review for accuracy.

We're wondering how a high school dropout rate gets into the teen percentile. How does it go from there into the 20s? Now the dropout rate is into the 30s and well on its way to 40 percent. Corporations with such lousy returns would be made to fold. Companies that mismanaged their human resources to such an extent could not get away with this. Why is this country, especially the black community, OK with this? No words except unacceptable.

Read more, if you can stand it, at the San Francisco Chronicle.