Monday, April 07, 2008

America's Promise Alliance Commits to Ending High School Dropout Crisis

On April 1, America's Promise Alliance held a news conference and panel discussion on the high school dropout crisis in the United States. In addition, it released a new report, "Cities in Crisis," and announced plans to hold a series of Dropout Prevention Summits, across the United States over the next two years in an effort to find a lasting solution to the high school dropout crisis. These summits will be held in every state and 50 communities as part of the Alliance's Dropout Prevention Campaign. This campaign will also support the Alliance's 15 in 5 Campaign Network, a program headed by the Alliance, committed to improving the lives of 15 million young people over the next five years by providing them with five key wrap-around supports called the "Five Promises." This includes: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others. Co-founder of the Alliance, former Secretary of State Colin Powell introduced the "Cities in Crisis" report, which identifies a 15 percent gap in graduation rates between urban and suburban schools, with the urban schools graduating fewer students.

Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings commended the Alliance's efforts as a "bipartisan coalition of people from business to government to the nonprofit sector." Noting that the high school dropout problem is often masked by insufficient state data on the actual number of dropouts, Spellings announced the Education Department's intention to develop a uniform method of reporting graduation and dropout rates in the United States (for more information, visit

A panel of experts in the education community emphasized the importance of the Alliance's focus on providing students with the Five Promises to prevent dropouts and raise the graduation rate. Carmita Vaughan from the Chicago Public Schools stressed the importance of gathering more data on the dropout crisis and successful dropout prevention programs. "We've reached out to find out what works everywhere," Vaughan stated.


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