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Building a Grad Nation: Signs of Success and the Road Ahead. In association with:. AT&T Welcome. Laura Sanford President, AT&T Foundation. Global Economic Competitiveness. In its community outreach, AT&T works at the intersection of business and community needs .

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at t welcome
AT&T Welcome
  • Laura Sanford
  • President, AT&T Foundation
global economic competitiveness
Global Economic Competitiveness
  • In its community outreach, AT&T works at the intersection of business and community needs.
  • The dropout crisis not only denies students the opportunity to fully realize their own potential, it has negative consequences on workforce readiness and global economic competitiveness:
      • By 2020, three-quarters of all jobs in America will be high-pay and high-skill with 123 million Americans needed to fill those jobs. However, at current high school and college graduation rates, only 50 million Americans are expected to qualify for them.
      • Currently, half of all employers must provide workforce readiness programs to address the deficiencies in areas such as critical thinking and problem solving as well as basic reading, writing, and math skills of new hires.
at t aspire
AT&T Aspire
  • AT&T is responding through AT&T Aspire, a $100 million philanthropic program that supports high school retention and workforce readiness initiatives.
  • To date, we have provided over $80 million in funding to over 700 local community and national organizations.
launching a movement
Launching a Movement

Marguerite Kondracke

President and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance

launching a movement1
Launching a Movement
  • April 1, 2008
  • 105 Dropout Prevention Summits in 50 states and 55 cities
  • Convened more than 35,000 mayors and governors, business leaders, child advocates, educators, students and parents
  • March 1, 2010
  • Gen. Colin and Mrs. Alma Powell launch Grad Nation with President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan

“Dropping out is quitting on yourself. It’s quitting on your country, and it’s not an option - not anymore.”


becoming a grad nation

Becoming a Grad Nation

Becoming a Grad Nation
  • Our Goal:
  • To mobilize America to end the dropout crisis and ensure high school graduates are prepared for college and a 21st century career
  • Our Strategy:
  • Focus on the neighborhoods surrounding the lowest performing high schools because they account for nearly half of all young people that drop out of school
  • Our Theory of Action:
  • If we mobilize communities to bring the fundamental supports to our most vulnerable young people, while aggressively supporting education reform, then we can help end the dropout crisis and transform the life of every child
building a grad nation
Building a Grad Nation
  • November 30, 2010 announcement with:
      • General and Mrs. Powell
      • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
      • Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen
      • Former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein
  • Panel Discussion led by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell
  • Report funded by AT&T, Target and Pearson Foundation
  • Focus on progress struck a chord with the media
  • NBC Nightly News interview with General and Mrs. Powell
  • NewsHour with Jim Lehrer extensive broadcast and online coverage
  • Associated Press story picked up by outlets throughout the country
  • Articles in New York Times, Washington Post and hundreds of other daily publications
  • Opinion pieces in the Huffington Post,, Tennessean (Nashville) and others
  • Trade publications such as Education Daily, Education Week, NEA Today, and TIME/Eduwonk
building a grad nation1
Building a Grad Nation

John Bridgeland, President & CEO, Civic Enterprises

Bob Balfanz, Director, Everyone Graduates Center

building a grad nation2

Building a Grad Nation

Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

national progress
National Progress
  • The national graduation rate increased 3 percentage points over the last decade to 75 percent.
  • This 3 percentage point increase translates to an additional 120,000 diplomas in the Class of 2008 when compared to the Class of 2001
a closer look
A Closer Look
  • Some states are making significant progress, others not
  • Overall, 29 states made improvements in their graduation rates
    • Tennessee and New York led the nation with 15 and 10 percentage point gains, respectively
  • 18 states remained essentially the same
  • 3 states regressed
number of low grad rate high schools is decreasing
Number of Low Grad Rate High Schools is Decreasing
  • Dropout factories are the 14 percent of schools with graduation rates at 60 percent and below, that account for half of the nation’s dropouts
  • There was a decrease of 261 dropout factories between 2002 and 2008
  • 216 of the 261 net decline (83 percent) in dropout factories occurred across 9 southern states
  • Some states – TN, TX, AL, GA – had improvements in suburbs, towns, cities, and rural areas
district progress
District Progress
  • 22 states combined had a decline of 127 dropout factory schools in urban districts
  • 25 of the 100 largest city districts experienced a 10 percentage point increase in promoting power
    • New York City and Chicago had a 28 percent and 19 percent reduction in students attending dropout factories
what s prompting success
What’s Prompting Success?
  • Feature four success stories
    • TN; AL; Richmond, Indiana; and New York City
    • Shows other states, districts and schools can improve
  • While success varies, common characteristics:
    • Strong leadership with clear graduation rate goals
    • Multi-sector data driven collaboration
    • Innovation and continuous improvement
    • Technical assistance for evidence-based solutions
    • Raising standards and increasing student supports
despite progress challenges remain
Despite Progress, Challenges Remain
  • In 2008, more than 2 million students still attended a dropout factory
  • High poverty urban school districts that improved still trail the national average
  • Solutions are still hard to find for high-poverty, rural districts with only one high school
we must accelerate progress fivefold
We must accelerate progress fivefold…
  • Nationally – move from 75% today to 90% in 2020
    • We had a 3 percentage point gain over last decade
    • We need a 15 percentage point gain in coming decade
  • To achieve this high school graduation goal:
    • Need 1.5 percentage point gain in each of next 10 years
    • 23 states must match Alabama (7 points every 6 years);
    • 9 states must match New York (10 points every 6 years);
    • 7 states must match Tennessee (15 points every 6 years).
    • Only Nevada needs rate of growth greater than Tennessee
accelerating progress
Accelerating Progress
  • New developments make faster progress possible:
    • Common graduation rates & accountability across all states, districts and schools
    • Targeted problem & examples of success
    • Early warning systems with student supports
    • Common standards to prepare for college & career
    • Enhanced state & city leadership
    • National non-profits & businesses targeting dropout problem & mobilizing boots on the ground
    • Unprecedented federal supportto transform dropout factories & feeder schools
    • Public awakening to individual, societal & economic costs
civic marshall plan
Civic Marshall Plan
  • Clear, Achievable Goals:
    • 90 percent graduation rate for Class of 2020 – tracking the 3.7 million students in 3rd grade today
    • Mindful of larger goal to have highest rates of college graduates in the world
  • Focused Approach
    • Target 1,746 dropout factories & feeder elementary & middle schools -- about 50 percent of dropouts
    • Another 35 percent of dropouts in the additional 3,000 low graduation rate high schools
initial benchmarks
Initial Benchmarks
  • To earn 600,000 more diplomas for the Class of 2020 than the Class of 2008, we set benchmarks along the way:
    • By 2012, more students reading on grade level by beginning of 5th grade; chronic absenteeism significantly reduced; needs assessments conducted for all dropout factory communities
    • By 2013, each low graduation school district has an early warning & intervention system; re-design of middle schools; a non-profit mentor for every 15-20 off-track students
    • By 2016, all dropout factories in process of being transformed or replaced; transition student supports in grades 8-10; compulsory school age increased to 18 in all states; clear pathways to college and career
other key components
Other Key Components
  • In addition to Actions within Low Graduation Rate Communities
  • Build & Enable State & District Capacity to Improve High School Graduation & College Readiness Rates
    • Enhance data & accountability and access to key stakeholders
    • Foster multi-sector collaboration
    • Provide multiple pathways to student success
    • Develop family engagement strategies
    • Reauthorize ESEA, including School Improvement Grants
  • Accelerate Graduation Rates by Strengthening the Public Education System
    • Data-driven decision making – enhance common, linked systems
    • High expectations & engaging coursework
    • Train & Support effective teachers & principals
    • Link high school graduation & college completion agendas
engaging states and districts
Engaging States and Districts
  • Civic Marshall Plan Index for every State – Both Progress to Date & Challenge to Meet Goals
    • Graduation rates & number of graduates
    • Dropout factory schools & students enrolled
    • 4th & 8th grade reading and math
    • Indicators of college readiness, such as AP

Civic Marshall Plan to Build a Grad Nation: 2010-2020 Timeline

2016: All dropout factories are in the process of being transformed or replaced

All schools with grad rates below 75 percent are providing transition support for off-track students

The compulsory school age has been raised to 18 in all states

Progress is being made to provide students with clear pathways to post-secondary

2012: Number of on-grade readers substantially increased

Chronic absenteeism reduced

Analysis of needs, strengths, and capacities of high needs schools conducted

2013: Every state and school district with low grad rates has an EWIS

Middle grade re-design models have been developed

One non-profit mentor is provided for every 15-20 off-track students

Non-profit supports fully integrated into school day and after-school

2020: The national high school graduation rate is 90 percent

December: Finalize guideposts for action












January: Strategic Planning session to discuss meeting the benchmarks

November 30: Grad Nation Launch Event

January- February: Analysis of 2009 Data; Highlight early research on Early Warning Systems

March 1 Annual Update Event: Official CMP Launch


Civic Marshall Plan-Grad Nation Coalition

Organizing Council

Leadership Council

Participating Member Communities and Schools

  • Download the report at: