Building a Grad Nation Report Calls for Civic Marshall Plan to Reach 90% Graduation Rate by 2020
Calls for Expansion of National Service
Cites City Year's "Pioneering" Work in High-Poverty Schools
Building a Grad Nation, a new report released on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., announced that while progress is being made to stem the nation's high school dropout crisis, the nation needs a Civic Marshall Plan to mobilize the government, nonprofits, schools, the private sector and citizens at large around a set of strategic initiatives, including the expansion of national service to bring critically-needed human capital into high-poverty schools. The report, authored by America's Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University's Everyone Graduates Center, was announced with Secretary Arne Duncan, General Colin Powell and Alma Powell.
Highlighting the 13% decline from 2002 to 2008 in the number of U.S. high schools with graduation rates of 60% or below, Building a Grad Nation offers insight into effective strategies, including the adoption of early warning and intervention systems, clear graduation goals and the key role being played by national service members, including City Year corps members serving in schools with high numbers of off-track students:
"In low graduation rate high schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools...there are often hundreds of students in need of intensive supports from caring and committed adults. Often there simply is not enough manpower in high-needs schools and communities to provide these supports at the scale needed. We must call on, and systematically organize, national and local non-profits that can bring skilled and committed young and older adults, community members, and trained social service providers into the lives of all students who exhibit off-track behavior in such schools in a consistent and committed way. National service efforts, like those pioneered by City Year, need to be expanded..."
To end the dropout crisis, Building a Grad Nation announced the development of a Civic Marshall Plan - inspired by Secretary of State George C. Marshall's comprehensive plan to rebuild Europe after World War II - to boost graduation rates nationwide from 75% to 90% by the year 2020. Among its recommendations, the plan calls for full funding of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act's Education Corps in order to provide low-performing schools with the critical mass of human capital needed to help keep students on track to graduate.
In 2009, with support from United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, City Year announced In School & On Track, a campaign to mobilize young leaders in national service to address the nation's high school dropout crisis. In School & On Track seeks to scale City Year programs to reach the majority of students who are falling off track in the 20 U.S. locations where City Year AmeriCorps members serve. For more information on In School & On Track, click here.
City Year strongly endorses the Civic Marshall Plan, serves on the plan's Leadership Council and supports full funding of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to support it.