Civil Rights Coalition Unveils Plan To Transform High Schools
WASHINGTON —The Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a diverse coalition of leading civil rights and education advocacy organizations today released a bold plan to ensure all students graduate high school ready for college and a career, regardless of ZIP code, income, race or ethnicity.
A variety of Congressional staff members and policy analysts were on hand today to learn about CHSE’s Plan for Success , ahead of Congress’ anticipated reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
“We can no longer afford to wait to transform our public high schools. All students must attain the knowledge and skills they need to compete in the 21st century marketplace and to serve as informed participants in our democracy,” said Michael Wotorson, CHSE executive director. “Each of us has a stake in the Plan for Success because our national prosperity depends on the ability of our youth to succeed. The time to act is now.”
The Plan for Success is tailored specifically to address the needs of students most at risk of being relegated to under-performing high schools, including students of color, Native students, and those from low-income communities.
CHSE recommends policy priorities for holding schools accountable for boosting the academic achievement of all students and providing students with the resources and supports they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
While roughly 70 percent of all high school students graduate on time, only 55 percent or less of African American, Latino, and American Indian students in the class of 2007 graduated on time, according to Diplomas Count 2010: Graduation by the Numbers by C.B. Swanson.
By ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for college or the workplace, we empower them to achieve significant economic growth for themselves and for the country by generating approximately $2.3 billion in new earnings, 17,450 new jobs, and $250 million in new tax contributions annually, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
To help increase high school graduation rates and close the academic achievement gap, CHSE’s Plan for Success calls for parents, educators, communities, and policymakers to work toward a set of comprehensive policy recommendations. These include:
• Make All Students Proficient and Prepared for College and Career
• Hold High Schools Accountable for Student Success
• Redesign the American High School
• Provide Students with the Excellent Leaders and Teachers They Need to Succeed
• Invest Communities in Student Success
• Provide Equitable Learning Conditions for All Students
• Provide Students with Expanded Learning Opportunities
Each of the Plan’s policy priorities calls for energetic leadership at the federal level to support meaningful policy reform such as strong accountability systems for all groups of students in all secondary schools, access to effective teachers and leaders, and access to expanded learning opportunities and supports.
“This plan addresses the nation’s dropout crisis by emphasizing that accountability is important for every school and every student – regardless of zip code.” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Students of color, low-income students, and English language learners have the same right to a high quality education as every other student.”
American employers may need 14 million more workers with a college education than our colleges are on track to produce by 2020. By then, about that same number of students will miss out on their high school diploma—about 1.3 million dropouts a year, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
These trends threaten to create a permanent underclass of Americans who constantly struggle to provide for their families and who are unable to support the well-being of their communities.
The coalition will continue to build partnerships at the national and state levels until all high school students are ready for success in America.
As a leader in shaping our nation’s education policies, CHSE continues to coordinate a number of congressional briefings, as well as meetings and other forums involving advocates, policymakers, and communities across the country.
CHSE is a diverse coalition of leading civil rights organizations that include: the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. CHSE is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.