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Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Reacts to Announcement by Secretary Spellings on High School Graduation Rate Accountability

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, issued the following statement in response to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings’s announcement today of new high school graduation rate regulations:

“Counting diplomas accurately is an important first step; using this information to produce many more graduates must be the ultimate goal.

“Today’s announcement is historic because all states and school districts will be required to calculate—and report— high school graduation rates in the same manner. For the first time, all educators, parents, and policymakers, wherever they live, will be able to measure how many of their high school students are truly graduating.  Under the No Child Left Behind Act, high schools have been accountable for their test results, but not whether their students actually earn diplomas. This is like counting how many hurdles an athlete jumps, but not recording whether he or she crosses the finish line.

“These new regulations will lead to a much more reliable determination of who is actually graduating from high school. Congress must now act to require high schools to achieve significant increases in their graduation rates.

“While we at the Alliance for Excellent Education applaud the secretary’s action, we continue to call on Congress to take action to end the dropout crisis in our nation. Ending the crisis begins with identifying low-performing high schools by using accurate calculations and ensuring that they increase their graduation rates. We urge Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act with graduation rate accountability and a significant investment in the nation’s lowest performing high schools.”

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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