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New report spotlights improved graduation rates, suggests solutions to the dropout crisis

WASHINGTON - November 30, 2010 -

The America's Promise Alliance has released a new report that highlights states, school districts and schools where graduation rates are improving. Building a Grad Nation: Progress & Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic also explores what must be done to reach the goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020.

The National Education Association (NEA) is an America's Promise Alliance partner on dropout prevention. 

“Although we are not satisfied with the dropout rate, the report shows progress and that’s promising,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA. “We know that the commitment educators demonstrate every day does make a difference in students’ success. Our members want to make certain that every high school student walks across the stage, diploma in hand, prepared for the next stage in life.”

From the national down to the local level, NEA has worked hard to improve graduation rates. The Association has partnered with many organizations and developed several resources to address the issue. One is a 12-point dropout prevention and intervention plan which offers strategies from preschool through age 21. The new report from America's Promise Alliance includes recommendations that are in line with NEA’s plan, which stresses early intervention as well as improving career education and workforce readiness programs, involving families and communities in education, creating smaller learning communities and gathering accurate data.

NEA also developed Preventing Future High School Dropouts, an advocacy and action guide for NEA state and local affiliates. NEA affiliates themselves have collaborated on dropout prevention summits and implemented strategies to keep students in school and close gaps in student achievement.

“I applaud the Alliance for working to increase graduation rates,” added Van Roekel. “We hope this report will not only spark additional conversations about improvement strategies but will also encourage the various stakeholders to act. All of us—educators, parents, community members and policymakers—share the responsibility of making sure every student graduates from high school.”

NEA Guide to Preventing High School Dropouts

NEA’s Dropout Prevention Initiatives

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee 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.

CONTACT: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823,