Graduation Promise Act of 2011

Forty years ago, the United States was ranked number one in the world in high school graduation rates. According to the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), students in the United States rank 17th in graduation, 12th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math out of the 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

About one third of the students who enter ninth grade this fall will not graduate from high school within four years, if at all. For minority and low-income students, the situation is even worse.

Only 54% of African American and 56% of Latino students graduate from high school with their class. Students of color are less than half as likely as their white counterparts to be proficient in 8th grade reading, and they are 5 times more likely than white students to attend one of the nation’s lowest performing high schools.

What can be done about this problem on a national level?

Back in February of this year, Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced the Graduation Promise Act (GPA), which would send federal resources to the nation’s lowest-performing high schools to help reduce the dropout rate and increase student achievement.

“While Congress continues to work on cutting the nation’s budget, we must remember to keep in mind that certain American rights should not be touched and that includes the education of our children,” said Rep. Hinojosa.

“In my Congressional District 15 in South Texas alone, there are more than 150,000 adults who don’t have a high school diploma. This is unacceptable and that is why I am introducing the Graduation Promise Act. It is a clear and crucial investment in America’s future.”

To break it down to specifics, the Graduation Promise Act of 2011 would:

  • Create a federal-state-local school reform partnership focused on transforming the nation’s lowest-performing high schools.
  • Strengthen state improvement systems to identify and target the level of reform and resources necessary to improve low-performing high schools, while ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Advance the research and development needed to ensure a robust supply of highly effective secondary school models for students most at risk of being left behind.

While it would be great if the Graduation Promise Act passes, four similar bills have previously been introduced and have died in Congress. This current bill is in committee and is likely to have a long battle.

Until then, students need not wait until for the Graduation Promise Act to pass; educational help is just one click away with

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