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National Partnership Formed to Address Dropout Crisis NEA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to develop initiative to collectively

Groundbreaking Alliance Addresses the National Dropout Crisis with Collective Action


WASHINGTON - May 13, 2009 -

In a groundbreaking alliance, the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional organization representing 3.2 million educators and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), one of the nation’s leading youth organizations with more than 4,300 Clubs that serve 4.5 million young people announced plans to join together to advance dropout prevention efforts, promote high school graduation, and increase public engagement.

NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen and BGCA Senior Vice President Judith J. Pickens  will sign the partnership agreement at the BGCA’s National Conference in Atlanta May 15. According to estimates, approximately one million students or 30 percent of the high school population drops out before graduation each year. Only five in 10 Black and Hispanic students graduate on time with a standard diploma and less than one-half of American Indian and Alaska Native youth complete high school.

“Educators can’t stem the tide of dropouts alone,” says NEA Vice-President Lily Eskelsen, who will speak at BGCA’s National Conference in Atlanta. “We need partners like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, that have a proven track record in developing innovative strategies, programs, and partnerships to help young people and their  families, particularly high-risk youth, build successful lives.  This partnership will help us to reach an even greater number of youth with targeted initiatives and programs that will help to reverse the alarming dropout rate and ensure academic success for every student.”

“We are very excited about our partnership with the NEA,” said BGCA SVP Judith J. Pickens.  “As a community-based organization with a proven track record of closing the academic achievement gap, we understand and appreciate the need for a collaborative approach to stem the epidemic high school dropout rate, giving every child the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

In addition to the dropout prevention efforts, NEA and BGCA will collaborate on NEA’s newly formed Public Engagement Project/Family-School-Community Partnerships (PEP/FSCP) to create an open dialogue between educators and community members in an effort to find common ground, strengthen ties between NEA state and local affiliates and Boys & Girls Clubs, share speakers and Web sites, and engage all members in such innovative programs as NEA’s Read Across America.



The National Education Association
 is the nation's largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most.  Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. 

Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. 

Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives.  National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

Contact: Anita Merina, NEA Public Relations  (202) 822-7289  amerina@nea.org

Jan Still-Lindeman, Boys & Girls Clubs of America 404-487-5739 jslindeman@bgca.org