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From The Sweet Flypaper of Life, Howard University Press, 1984 Roy DeCarava/Courtesy of Sherry Turner DeCarava hide caption

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Roy DeCarava/Courtesy of Sherry Turner DeCarava

Jerry Mornvil, a recent graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., says being in a lower-level class had a negative impact on his own and his classmates' attitudes about school and themselves. Nancy Solomon for NPR hide caption

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Nancy Solomon for NPR