Where It's an Unaffordable Luxury

When the dismissal bell rings at Boston high school, 10th-grader Shante Bodley's day has only just begun. Her afternoons, like those of most students, are often booked solid. For Bodley, it's not debating practice or piano lessons that keep her busy but rather a $6.25-an-hour job cooking at a convention center. After her shift ends at 6 p.m., she must baby-sit for her five-year-old niece, often until 10 p.m. Only then does she begin to think about hitting the books. "I have too many other responsibilities, and I can't focus on my homework," says Bodley. And when she can't focus? Without...

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