NASHVILLE -- The Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE), a coalition of leading civil rights organizations focusing on high school education reform, will join Tennessee parents, educators, and community leaders Friday for a conference about strategies to improve Tennessee's public schools and ensure state-level education reform efforts empower all Tennessee students to succeed. The conference is being sponsored by the Urban League of Middle Tennessee's (ULMT) Community Education Summit in Nashville.
"Tennessee's prosperity is inextricably tied to its ability to create a large and highly-skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of American society," said Michael Wotorson, CHSE executive director. "But in order to bring down the high school dropout rate that continues to plague the state and cost millions of dollars every year, we must eliminate the current one-size-fits-all approach that neglects the needs of students of color and low-income students."
In partnership with ULMT, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the National Urban League, and the Nashville National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, CHSE will participate in panel discussions on strategies for improving education outcomes for Tennessee's students, especially African American students who are most affected by challenges in the current system. In 2010, nearly 28,200 Tennessee students failed to graduate from high school after four years, the majority of which were students of color. African American students in Tennessee graduate at a rate of 58 percent compared with 73 percent of white students. If Tennessee's African American students graduated at the same rate as white students, over $32 million would be added to the state's economy each year.
"It is critically important for parents, community leaders, educators, and businesses leaders within the African American community to play a meaningful role in public education reform efforts," says Patricia Stokes, ULMT president and CEO. "Communities of color must take the lead in ensuring that students and educators have the resources and supports they need to meet higher, clearer academic standards."
As Tennessee moves forward with education reform, this summit provides parents, community-based organizations, and other concerned community members with the opportunity to learn more about how they can help develop and implement reforms so that every Tennessee student, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or zip code, graduates from high school prepared for college and the 21st century workforce.
CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 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.