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Murray Introduces Bill to Help Vulnerable High School Students Graduate

Feb 15 2007

PASS Act gives high school students the tools to "get their education back on track."

Four-year Murray effort combined with new Administration interest in improving high schools presents opportunity for progress.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today reintroduced her Pathways for All Students to Succeed (PASS) Act (S. 611). The PASS Act, which Murray first introduced four years ago, will help to increase graduation rates by providing critical resources including literacy and math coaches, additional academic and career counselors, and grants to fund innovative reform in high schools across the country.

"This legislation gives those high school students teetering on the edge the tools needed to get their education back on track," Senator Murray said. "It makes a high school degree, a college education, and a good job, attainable goals for students who struggle with fundamental skills like reading and math. Most importantly, this bill will help place more high school diplomas in the hands of more young Americans, giving them their most essential tool for a rewarding future."

Murray's PASS Act will help America's teenagers graduate from high school, go on to college, and enter the working world with the skills they need to succeed.

  • Title I of the PASS Act will help schools hire literacy and math coaches to strengthen essential reading and writing skills.

  • Title II will provide grants for high-quality academic counselors to ensure each student has an individualized plan and access to services to prepare for college and a good job.

  • Title III targets resources to those high schools that need the most help, so they can implement research-based strategies for success.

  • Title IV provides grants to schools for data collection including the accurate calculation of disaggregated graduation rates.

Recently, the Bush Administration has indicated that it is interested in investing in strengthening high school education, a welcome sign for the proposals outlined in Murray's PASS Act. In fact, in the President's 2008 budget, improving the academic achievement of high schools was cited as one of two primary focuses of the Administration's No Child Left Behind reauthorization proposal.

"I've been pushing for high school reform for four years, and I'm excited that the White House has finally recognized that improving our high schools must be part of the upcoming reauthorization of No Child Left Behind," said Senator Murray. "When you combine the proven strategies in my bill with the new interest in high school reform, we finally have an opportunity to make the progress our students are counting on."

Murray wrote the PASS Act based on proven research and practice on improving student achievement in the high school years. The Act empowers schools to provide the best possible support for students and teachers, and provides direct, targeted assistance to the students most in need of help.

Murray's legislation has been endorsed by over thirty major education associations and advocacy groups nationwide including the National Education Association, the National PTA, the College Board, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the American School Counselors Association.

"This is a proactive, common sense approach to helping our communities, workforce and economy compete on the world stage," Murray said. "The PASS Act uses methods that we know work and targets students that we know can benefit. I will work toward passage of this bill so that our country's most vulnerable students get the help they need to graduate from high school, go on to college, and enter the working world with the skills they need to succeed."

Summary of Senator Murray's PASS Act

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