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RAISING THE GRADE: Alliance President’s New Book on High School Reform is Now Available

“My goal is to explain the problem, discuss solutions, and provide the tools to take action.”

The new book by Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, was officially released May 2.

In the book, titled Raising the Grade: How High School Reform Can Save Our Youth and Our Nation, Wise describes the alarming cost of the high school crisis that sees more than one million students drop out every year—and millions more graduate unprepared for college and work—and informs citizens, educators, and policymakers about what they can do to ensure that all students receive a quality high school education that prepares them for a successful future.

To make the case for high school reform, Raising the Grade uses a combination of hard data, real-life examples, and lessons Wise learned during his twenty-four years as an elected public official. In addition, the book stresses both the moral and economic imperatives for investing in and supporting the nation’s high schools.

“I wrote the book for educators, parents, citizens, and elected officials,” said Wise. “My goal is to explain the problem, discuss solutions, and provide the tools to take action.”

Regarding education decisions he made as a legislator, Wise said that his efforts had been focused on what he called the bookends of education: early childhood and higher education. “With the benefit of hindsight, however,” said Wise, “I have realized that my efforts—though well intentioned—were missing a crucial element …. I want to share the lessons I have learned in my public and political career to make sure that we don’t repeat our past mistakes.”

Though Raising the Grade calls for the federal government to direct more resources toward secondary education, outlining the direct link between funding and achievement levels, Wise said that simply spending more money on the current system will not yield the desired outcomes.

“While an expanded federal role in high school reform is needed, I do not believe that merely increasing spending—or throwing more money at a dysfunctional system—is the answer,” he said. “Rather, targeting federal dollars to drive systemic and strategic reform—changing the way we do business, and then investing in what works—is the answer.”

For more information on Raising the Grade or to order the book, please visit

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