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Alliance for Excellent Education and National Association of Secondary School Principals Call for Increased Federal Support to Assure “No Child Left Behind” at High School Level

Press Release:

Alliance for Excellent Education and National Association of Secondary School Principals Call for Increased Federal Support to Assure “No Child Left Behind” at High School Level

Each day in America, approximately 3,000 secondary school students leave school without a diploma, unprepared to become productive members of the nation’s workforce. The nation’s current high school graduation rate is a shocking 69 percent. Right now, more than six million of our country’s adolescents are seriously at risk of dropping out of high school.

The Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) today held a joint press conference, at which they introduced two documents designed to help the public and policymakers better understand the challenges particular to high schools across the country as they work to implement the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with the goal of graduating students who are prepared for college and rewarding careers. Panelists discussed the serious fiscal crisis facing our nation’s high schools, and the critical needs of our country’s middle and high school students.

The Alliance issued a new report, Left Out and Left Behind: NCLB and the American High School, which details the NCLB mandates particular to high schools, and documents the specifics of the shortfall in federal funding needed to effectively implement NCLB‘s requirements for standards and accountability. Also included in the report is the first release of nationwide and state-by-state numbers of schools which have been determined to be “in need of improvement,” as well as a compilation of state and city graduation rates. The report recommends specific actions that the federal government can take to greatly improve the educational prospects of America’s most at-risk secondary school students.

Calling for action to address the issues highlighted in Left Out and Left Behind, NASSP introduced their Reciprocal Agreement, a statement from middle level and high school leaders, that supports the intent of the NCLB – to promote high standards, improve teaching practices, elevate expectation for all students, and encourage student achievement – but calls for policymakers and legislators to transcend rhetoric and provide the necessary funding for secondary school improvement. The challenges that schools and school leaders face in implementing the requirements of NCLB are considerable. To date, more than 5,000 Agreements have already been sent to legislators by secondary school principals and assistant principals.

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Journalists are invited to join the Alliance and NASSP on April 29th at 9:00 am in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a briefing on Left Out and Left Behind and the Reciprocal Agreement.

At the briefing, National High School Principal of the Year, Irving Jones, Sr. (Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia) and Washington, D.C. Principal of the Year, Patricia Tucker (Banneker High School) will provide a “real world” perspective on the current needs of our nation’s secondary schools. Alliance Policy Director (and report co-author) Scott Joftus will present the findings and recommendations of Left Out and Left Behind. Alliance Executive Director Susan Frost and NASSP Executive Director Gerald N. Tirozzi will discuss the policy implications of the report and the Reciprocal Agreement.

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The National Association of Secondary School Principals-the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders-provides its members the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well-being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP sponsors the National Honor Society™, the National Junior Honor Society™, and the National Association of Student Councils™. For more information about NASSP, visit http://www.principals.org.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life. It is funded by the Leeds Family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Daniels Fund, and the New York Community Trust, as well as by concerned individuals.

For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit www.all4ed.com .

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.