“The success of our high schools has very real consequences for our communities, our workforce and our economy. But with nearly 3,000 high school students dropping out daily and many graduating without the skills necessary to succeed in college or the workforce, our schools face serious problems that demand real solutions.
Unfortunately, today the President offered a plan for our high schools that fails to make the grade.
Expanding the unfunded testing mandates of No Child Left Behind to our high schools will not help a single child to graduate. And we need to do more than just identify schools in need of improvement – we need to help them improve.
To do this we need comprehensive high school reform. We know what our kids need to succeed: reading and math skills, access to academic counseling, and targeted funding and resources necessary help turn around low-performing schools. If we don’t invest in these basics today our communities, workforce and economy will bear the burden in the future.
I applaud the President’s increased commitment to literacy programs in our high schools. We know students can’t succeed in any class – English, math or otherwise – if they lack the ability to read.
I also hope to hear more in the coming weeks about the President’s “performance plans” to ensure that students make it to graduation. But we must also make the right investments in our schools so that a diploma is not just a sheet of paper, but an acknowledgement of the literacy, math and job skills to help graduates succeed in college or the workforce.
Our high school students deserve comprehensive reform that targets vulnerable students and helps them make it to graduation. I am glad that the President has finally begun a dialogue about our high schools, but I am concerned that his proposal places a premium on testing and without the right investment, threatens to leave more students behind.”