Long Beach Unified School District is "the star among the cities" when it comes to keeping students from dropping out of high school. Dropout rates here have declined from 11.2 to 2.7 percent during the past five years. A study released by the Harvard School of Education found that the district was among six districts in the nation's 34 largest cities that dramatically reduced their dropout rates. The study entitled "How Many Central City High Schools Have a Severe Dropout Problem, Where Are They Located, and Who Attends Them?" urged more school-based attention. "Long Beach is kind of the star among the cities," said Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, who conducted the study. "Their dropout rate decline tells me that the district is doing a good job."