On October 5th, Bruce S. Gordon, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, strongly endorsed a plan by the National Education Association to reduce the nation's alarming high school dropout rate.
"The NEA plan presents innovative and forward-thinking methods of connecting students with post-secondary options for personal growth, development and economic security," said Gordon. Moreover, Gordon said the plan outlined by NEA President Reg Weaver is "consistent with the NAACP call for resource equity in public education by ensuring that educators have the training, tools and resources needed to provide a high-quality education and prevent students from dropping out."
The NEA recently announced a 12-step program that combines the efforts of parents, teachers, business leaders and lawmakers with strategies tested through research and professional experience. The NEA plan includes:
- Mandatory high school graduation or the equivalent for everyone below the age of 21
- Workplace options that allow parents to participate in their child's education
- Early intervention through high-quality universal preschool and full-day kindergarten programs
The nation's high school dropout rate remains high, despite a number of targeted efforts. As many as 7,000 students drop out of high school each day, according to one study. The national graduation rate is between 68 percent and 71 percent. The graduation rate for African American, Hispanic and Native American students is about 50 percent, while graduation rates for whites and Asians hover around 75 percent to 77 percent, respectively.
The NAACP supports the NEA call for the President and Congress to make high school graduation a federal priority by investing $10 billion over the next 10 years to support dropout prevention programs and states that make high school graduation compulsory.
Michael Wotorson, NAACP National Director of Education, said the NEA plan is consistent with the NAACP "Call for Action in Education" program that asks all states to develop a five-year plan to reduce education-related racial disparities by 50 percent and includes a program to cut the high dropout rate for African American and other minority students.
Wotorson noted that the NEA plan appropriately calls for the involvement of parents and community residents in the educational process of children both in school and at home.
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