Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Issues Statement on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, issued the following statement today on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
“This legislation represents a significant investment in both the short- and long-term future of the nation’s students. However, it is important to remember that the formulas through which a majority of these funds will be distributed do not meet the existing needs of America’s middle and high school students. That is why I was pleased to see that the Congress included several provisions in the legislation specifically targeted to secondary schools, including:
- $5 billion in innovation and incentive funds: Innovation funds can allow states to create models of innovation to increase student achievement and prepare students for success after high school; incentive funds can help states drive toward improved academic and graduation outcomes;
- a provision that requires 40 percent of the school improvement funds to be spent on middle and high schools;
- $250 million for Statewide Data Systems: Data systems make it possible to track teacher and student information and determine the best ways to improve student achievement and provide instruction that is targeted to student needs; and
- language that would ensure states implement new graduation rate regulations requiring them to more accurately report the number of students who receive a high school diploma.
“This legislation will provide U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—who has a well-established commitment to reforming secondary schools—with the opportunity to advance significant reforms in education, including closing achievement gaps and improving academic standards.
“Looking forward, I am hopeful that President Obama’s forthcoming Fiscal Year 2010 budget and the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act will provide additional avenues to ensure that every child is a high school graduate, prepared for college or the modern workforce.
“After all, graduating more students from high school not only makes sense for the individuals whose lives are at stake—it also makes economic sense for the nation, both today and in the future. More high school graduates means higher wages, larger tax revenues, and reduced spending on crime and welfare. In fact, had the more than 1.2 million dropouts from the high school class of 2008 earned their diplomas, the nation’s economy would have seen an additional $319 billion in income over the course of those students’ lifetimes.”
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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.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com.