Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Applauds New Legislation Promoting Education Innovation to Better Prepare Students for Success in the Twenty-First Century
Washington, DC – Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, has issued the following statement in support of the Secondary School Innovation Fund Act, introduced on May 4 by U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). Senator Reid had previously introduced the bill in the 110th Congress when it was called the Getting Retention and Diplomas Up Among Today’s Enrolled Students Act (GRADUATES Act). Joining Senator Reid as original cosponsors of the legislation are Senators Michael Bennett (D-CO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Mark Pryor (D-AR). A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA), with Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) as an original cosponsor.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned during this recession, it’s that we can no longer tolerate business as usual—not from banks, mortgage lenders, or automobile manufacturers, and certainly not from the nation’s education system.
“Thankfully, there are teachers and principals in schools around the country who are no longer operating as if it’s business as usual. And thanks to their innovative practices, they are educating—and graduating—high percentages of poor and minority students. But far too often, their efforts are done in a vacuum when they should be shared with teachers and principals across the country who face similar difficulties in educating their students.
“Just as small businesses need venture capital to help their companies reach their full potential, local education innovators need resources to evaluate what’s working in their schools, replicate best practices, and scale up successful models to help other disadvantaged students.
“The Secondary School Innovation Fund Act would do just that. It would support partnerships to help create evidence-based, systemic, and replicable models of reform in secondary schools that improve student achievement and prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education and the twenty-first-century workforce. The bill would also support a variety of models and proven strategies for innovation in secondary schools such as multiple pathways, early college and dual enrollment, expanded learning time, and increased rigor at all levels of secondary education. By doing so, it will provide innovative educators with the opportunity to evaluate and expand upon their strategies for increasing student achievement and graduation rates.
“The Obama administration and the Congress supported innovation in education by including $650 million for it in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but this money will disappear in the next year or two. With the Secondary School Innovation Fund Act, which would establish a permanent innovation fund, Senator Reid and Representative Loebsack have stepped into the void and demonstrated their commitment to the nation’s schoolchildren and the importance of graduating all students from high school, prepared for college or work.
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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.