Partners and Allies: We Support NEA Dropout Plan
On October 3, 2006, NEA announced a 12-point joint action plan to address the high school dropout crisis. The comprehensive initiative is receiving strong support from allies representing minority communities who are deeply concerned about America's alarming dropout rate. The following is excerpted from what leaders are saying:
- American Indian Higher Education Consortium
- Capitol Area Indian Resources, Inc.
- Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
- Excelencia! In Education
- Japanese American Citizens League
- League of United Latin American Citizens
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- National Alliance of Black School Educators
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Association for Asian and Pacific American Education
- National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans
- National Council of Black Mayors
- National Council for Community and Education Partnerships
- National Council of La Raza
- National Indian Education Association
- North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission
- Organization of Chinese Americans
ASPIRA applauds the National Education Association for its comprehensive twelve point plan to curb the nation's growing dropout crisis. The plan recognizes that key players in the community need to be involved. It combines the efforts of parents, teachers, business leaders and lawmakers using strategies grounded on research and professional experience.
"The Hispanic community has consistently had a high drop-out rate, and low graduation rates. Approximately 64 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 18—24 have not completed secondary schooling. For the Hispanic community and the nation this represents a considerable loss," said Ronald Blackburn, President, ASPIRA Association.
From a press release dated October 30, 2006
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which is comprised of this nation’s 34 Tribal Colleges and Universities, supports the National Education Association’s 12-Step Plan for Reducing School Dropouts.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 624,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students attend K-12 public schools. Dropout problems are serious among these students, as they are for all students in public schools across this country. Statistically, however, K-12 Indian students have one of the highest dropout rates in the nation.
The administrators of Tribal Colleges and Universities have found that they cannot ignore problems of K-12 schools and have sought to create partnerships with these schools to develop strategies to prevent drop outs early on in the educational process. They understand the importance of acting early so student do not drop out; involving families in students’ learning at school and home; involving the entire community in dropout prevention, and making sure educators have the training and resources they need to prevent dropouts. Also, tribal colleges find they must invest valuable resources in providing high school graduate equivalency training and remedial classes. All of these points are among those addressed in the NEA’s 12-Step Plan for Reducing School Dropouts.
Gerald E. Gipp, Ph.D.
From a letter dated November 3, 2006
Capitol Area Indian Resources, Inc. serves an American Indian population of over 13,000 in California's capitol region and focuses on the academic and cultural needs of the American Indian community. Over the years, CAIR has relied upon the NEA to provide leadership in efforts to address various academic issues among minority groups, including alarming dropout rates of students in public schools. As evidence of this, we are in full support of the National Education Association's 12-Step Plan for Reducing School Dropouts.
According to the California Department of Education (CDE) data, over 52,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students attend K-12 public schools in California. Dropout rates for American Indian youth who attend public schools are a serious problem in the Indian community throughout the state. Although this alarming dropout rate is evident to Indian student educators, the CDE does not keep this data because our numbers are not significant enough for them to track and aggregate.
We believe that the strategies proposed by the National Education Association will help to reduce the dropout rate for all students in public schools and increase achievement rates for American Indian students. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Cindy La Marr
From a letter dated November 6, 2006
The CBCF is excited to support NEA in programs that address some of the most pressing issues facing our youth. NEA's School Dropout Action Plan is crucial to the positive development of municipalities around the country, which ultimately affects the nation as a whole. Also, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act must be improved and vocational/career and technical education must be expanded. Ensuring that our youth have a chance at more productive futures should be the mission of us all and CBCF will do all we can to ensure that these programs and others like them are successful.
Dr. Elsie Scott
From a letter dated December 5, 2006
I am writing to applaud the NEA's leadership in addressing a critical issue for Latino students—chronic and increasingly high school dropout rates.
Excelencia in Education was launched in 2004 with the aim of accelerating Latino student success in higher education. We know all too well that to reach our aim means that there must be profound improvements in the transition of Latino students through the grades beginning in kindergarten and culminating in high school.
NEA's 12 Dropout Action Steps and your efforts to coalesce parents, teachers, business leaders and lawmakers to use proven tactics validated by research and professional experience provides the means to stem the hemorrhaging of young people from our schools and consequently from productive positions in our society.
Sarita E. Brown
From a letter dated November 1, 2006
The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) concurs with NEA's new initiative for Reducing School Dropouts, and we applaud you for leading the charge in this direction.
It is imperative that all segments of our society do work together to assure that students complete their schooling which will enable them to add to the productivity of this nation rather than drain community resources to pay for problems caused by lack of quality education.
NEA's 12 Point Dropout Action Steps address the core of our educational crisis. Because education is such an important part of JACL, we are anxious to work with NEA to accomplish great things with our nation's youth. They are our future, and we need to value that investment for what it will produce.
S. Floyd Mori
Director, Public Policy
From a letter dated October 11, 2006
NEA's 12 Point Education Plan offers a unique perspective in education strategy that combines the leadership of researchers, parents, and educators from around the country. LULAC believes that these measures will empower educators and politicians alike to reform our schools in order to help eliminate the achievement gap which persists within the minority communities.
LULAC and NEA have forged a strong, enduring partnership to combat our nation's secondary and postsecondary dropout rate. We have worked closely in investigating this issue in the past, most recently in Denver Colorado, at the NEA-LULAC Education Policy Summit. However, if we are to work on finding a real solution to improving education for those who are in most need of help, then politicians should take heed to these findings and enact these recommendations immediately.
As the largest minority community continues to grow, it is critical that this issue be given the attention that it rightfully deserves. The school dropout rate for Latinos is swiftly approaching 50%. We must deter this vicious cycle now before we let it escalate further.
LULAC believes that this is an essential step to closing the achievement gap and looks forward to working with the NEA in the near future to ensuring that these recommendations are fully implemented.
From a letter dated November 30, 2006
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is pleased to support the National Education Association's 12-point plan for reducing school dropouts.
The school dropout rate for Latinos students currently approaches fifty percent, an unacceptable level for the largest minority group in U.S. schools. MALDEF supports the NEA's 12-point dropout reduction plan because the plan can help empower, educate, and inspire Latino youth and support Latinos' improved educational achievement.
The NEA's plan offers proven dropout prevention strategies developed by educators and researchers. It calls for early intervention, increased accountability, improved family involvement, smaller class sizes, more on-task time, and more creative ways to educate our nation's youth. The NEA's call for greater community involvement, the expansion of students' graduation options, increased federal investment, and a focus upon older students is particularly commendable. MALDEF believes that these actions are positive steps toward lowering dropout rates, bridging the achievement gap, and investing in our nation's future workforce.
Acting Washington, D.C. Regional Counsel
From a letter dated November 1, 2006
The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) is pleased to share this letter of support for the National Education Association's (NEA's) 12-point plan to reduce our nation's alarming high school drop-out rates.
At the heart of NABSE's mission is improving both the educational experiences and accomplishments of African American youth and increasing their levels of inspiration, attendance, and overall achievement. We know that realizing this mission means that, among other efforts, we will have to address the low graduation rate of African Americans (50 percent) as compared to whites (75 percent). The components of your plan, including expanded graduation options for students, professional development for teachers, and early intervention through high-quality universal preschool and full-day kindergarten, demonstrate that NEA is committed to a comprehensive, long-term effort that addresses the complexities of this issue.
Quentin R. Lawson
From a letter dated October 18, 2006
Bruce S. Gordon, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, today strongly endorsed a plan by the National Education Association to reduce the nation's alarming high school dropout rate.
"The NEA plan presents innovative and forward-thinking methods of connecting students with post-secondary options for personal growth, development and economic security," said Gordon. Moreover, Gordon said the plan outlined by NEA President Reg Weaver is "consistent with the NAACP call for resource equity in public education by ensuring that educators have the training, tools and resources needed to provide a high-quality education and prevent students from dropping out."
The NAACP supports the NEA call for the President and Congress to make high school graduation a federal priority by investing $10 billion over the next 10 years to support dropout prevention programs and states that make high school graduation compulsory.
Michael Wotorson, NAACP National Director of Education, said the NEA plan is consistent with the NAACP "Call for Action in Education" program that asks all states to develop a five-year plan to reduce education-related racial disparities by 50 percent and includes a program to cut the high dropout rate for African American and other minority students.
Wotorson noted that the NEA plan appropriately calls for the involvement of parents and community residents in the educational process of children both in school and at home.
From a statement issued October 5, 2006
The National Association for Asian and Pacific American Education supports the NEA's new initiative for Reducing School Dropouts, and we applaud you for leading the charge in this direction. It is important to launch the action plan to address the dropout crisis and that all ethnic groups of our society work together to assure that students complete their schooling...
Further, it is important that families, schools, local communities, federal and state governments work together to increase the school holding power and parent involvement to reduce the dropout rates among students of all ethnic backgrounds. The NEA's 12 Point Dropout Action Steps can effectively address the issue of our educational crisis.
Clara C. Park, Ph.D.
From a letter dated October 25, 2006
National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans
The National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans (NAFEA) strongly supports NEA's bold new initiative to reduce our nation's dropout rate.
We are particularly concerned about high school and other educational attainment figures for our community, which to a large degree reflect unique historical circumstances involving relatively recent migration from war-torn countries. For example, in the 2000 U.S. census the percentages of 25 year olds with less than a high school education were: Hmong, 59.6%; Cambodian, 53.3 %; Laotian, 49.6%; and Vietnamese, 38.1%.
The NEA's dropout plan, with its focus on such important steps as individual student attention and smaller classes, close monitoring of student progress, universal pre-school and full-day kindergarten programs, workplace options to facilitate parental involvement, and increased federal funding for dropout prevention would greatly assist the Southeast Asian American community and all communities. We applaud the NEA plan and look forward to working with NEA to make it a reality.
President of the Board
From a letter dated October 30, 2006
Thank you for the support of the National Education Association (NEA) over the years. The fight to ensure that our communities are viable is a fight that the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc. (NCBM) cannot fight alone and we are grateful to have organizations like the NEA together in this fight.
We are excited to support NEA in programs that address some of the most pressing issues facing our youth. NEA’s School Dropout Action Plan is crucial to the positive development of municipalities around the country, which ultimately affects the nation as a whole. Also, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act must be improved and vocational/career and technical education must be expanded. Ensuring that our youth have a chance at more productive futures should be the mission of us all and NCBM will do all we can to ensure that these programs and others like them are successful.
Mayor Robert L. Bowser
From a letter dated October 20, 2006
The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships commends the National Education Association for developing the 12 point Plan for Reducing High School Dropouts. NCCEP shares the NEA's commitment to ensuring every child in America has access to a high quality public education.
The 12 point plan outlines very proactive steps for keeping children and young adults in school and preparing them for a 21st Century workforce. We are especially pleased to see that the plan places so much attention on early intervention and family and community involvement. These are key components of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) a federal program for which NCCEP strongly advocates. In fact, all of your points are among the guiding principles of GEAR UP programs.
Together, we CAN make a difference in students' lives. NCCEP looks forward to working with the NEA to ensure opportunity, access and achievement for all of our nation's children. We thank you for your strong leadership and demonstrated commitment to improving public education and student achievement.
Hector Garza, Ed.D.
President and CEO
From a letter dated December 8, 2006
On behalf of the national Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S, I write to thank the National Education Association (NEA) for developing the 12-point plan for parents, educators, business leaders, and lawmakers to reduce high school dropout rates.
Currently, only one in two Latino graduates from high school. This should be of significant concern to the nation as a whole because there are more than 8.8 million Latinos attending K-12 public schools in the U.S., representing 19% of total school enrollment. This makes Latinos the second-largest segment of the U.S. student population after White students. Simply put, our public schools cannot be considered successful if they do not graduate more Hispanic students.
The NEA 12-point plan can help reduce Hispanic dropout rates. We share the NEA's belief that early intervention which engages parents and communities, and providing educators with adequate resources, will effectively increase Hispanic graduation.
President and CEO
From a letter dated November 29, 2006
On behalf of the National Indian Education Association, I am pleased to extend my support for the National Education Association's initiative to reduce the number of students who fail to complete their graduation requirements through dropping-out.
As you may know, drop-out prevention is of high concern for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian educators, parents, and students. The mission of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is to support traditional Native cultures and values; to enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities; to promote Native control of educational institutions; and to improve educational opportunities and resources for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States. In order to fulfill the mission of NIEA, addressing the drop-out crisis in tribal communities is vital.
NIEA applauds NEA for their leadership on the topic of school drop-outs through supporting the NEA School Drop Out Action Plan.
From a letter dated December 5, 2006
The North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission strongly supports the National Education Association's Initiative for reducing school dropouts.
The North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission has worked tirelessly over the past several years to create a voice of concern in American Indian communities on the issues impacting the achievement of American Indian learners. We are still confronting a 50 percent dropout rate in many of our reservation schools.
We are wholeheartedly in support of NEA's efforts to create a strong visible front to combat this issue, as well as focused work with the federal government to make this a priority.
Cheryl M. Kulas
From a letter dated November 8, 2006
OCA is pleased to provide a letter of support for NEA's 12-point plan to address the nation's school drop-out rates.
The Asian Pacific American (APA) communities highly value a good education as a means by which one can improve his/her station in life, so being able to graduate and continue on to further educational opportunities is a critical priority for us. OCA also believes that everyone in this country should be afforded an opportunity to a quality education.
The plan that NEA is proposing takes a comprehensive approach in addressing all the factors that can affect our young people's ability to stay in school as well as ensure that the quality of the education that they receive is the best there can be. That these action steps are based on evidence and data make them sensible, no-nonsense recommendations.
From a letter dated October 10, 2006