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Wednesday, 17 November, 1999, 15:47 GMT
Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'
More black pupils are now completing high school

Teachers in urban schools in the United States should be trained and paid better to help bridge the achievement gap between black and white pupils, according to a civil rights organisation.

An annual report by the National Urban League shows that the test scores of black pupils are still much lower than their white peers.

This is despite an improvement in the number of black pupils completing high schools - a figure which has now almost caught up with the rate for white pupils.

Revealing details of the report, called "The State of Black America 1999", the organisation's president Hugh B Price said: "Gaps in teacher quality must be eliminated before we crack down on the young people."

Recent studies showed that in New York, for example, urban schools not only had fewer certified teachers, but scored lower in state certification tests than their suburban counterparts, he said.

Teachers in city schools were also paid 25% less than those in suburban schools.

"We've got to professionalise education in this country," he said.

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