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Gov. Bob Wise’s Statement on the Graduation Promise Act

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February 18, 2011 08:16 pm

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Yesterday, U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced the Graduation Promise Act, new legislation that would target federal resources to the nation’s lowest-performing high schools to reduce the dropout rate and increase student achievement. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:

“Similar to how emergency medical personnel immediately deliver treatment to the most severely injured when they arrive on an accident scene, Representative Hinojosa’s Graduation Promise Act would focus attention on the lowest-performing schools with the largest percentage of ‘victims.’ That makes it a vital weapon in the fight to reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate and ensure that every student graduates from high school, prepared for college or careers.

“Cutting the budget deficit seems to be the number one action item on many policymakers’ to-do lists, but cutting the dropout rate is even more important because it can create a high-wage job-creation surge—and a deficit reduction package—that everyone can support. In fact, the nearly 1.3 million students who did not graduate from high school in 2010 will likely cost the nation over $337 billion in lost lifetime earnings. Were the nation to cut its high school dropout rate in half, those ‘new’ high school graduates would likely create 54,000 new jobs—and that’s just for one graduating class. As these numbers show, the best economic stimulus package is a high school diploma.

“By 2018, two-thirds of the nation’s jobs will require postsecondary education, and projections show that the nation will be short 3 million qualified job applicants. The nation needs the Graduation Promise Act because the education students receive today lays the economic foundation for tomorrow. I applaud Representative Hinojosa for his leadership and I call on Congress to pass this legislation.”

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.