On February 14, Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise testified before the Maryland House of Delegates’ Ways and Means Committee in support of House Bill 71. The bill would establish accurate and honest comparisons of graduation rates from high school to high school and district to district. It supports the intent of the National Governors Association (NGA) Compact on Graduation Rates, now signed by all state governors, which called for a common, broadly accepted reporting formula for all states and school districts across the nation to provide accurate graduation rate and dropout data.
“Of particular concern to the bill’s sponsors and the Alliance for Excellent Education is the fact that much of the current graduation data conceals the dangerously high percentage of students disproportionately poor and minority who disappear from the education pipeline before high school graduation,” Wise said. “Research from the Urban Institute suggests that approximately 50 percent of students from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic backgrounds do not finish high school. They have a 50-50 chance of obtaining a degree, a startling statistic when you consider that in today’s economy, the vast majority of jobs that offer self-sufficiency and the ability to support a family require approximately 2 years of education after high school.”
HB71 is sponsored by Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) and Salima Siler Marriott (D) and was developed in collaboration with the Alliance for Excellent Education and other NGA Graduation Rates task force participants. Delegate Gutierrez’s introduction of this bill marks the first step in a campaign by members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to support the introduction of similar legislation in a number of other states. Maryland’s department of education has already received a $5.7 million federal grant to implement the more stringent student tracking system.
Governor Wise’s complete testimony is available here.