A National Investment
A national crisis requires a national solution. And every level of government has a role to play in formulating and implementing the investments and interventions that will lead to successful academic outcomes for all students in America’s K-12 educational system. Particular attention must be paid to improving the nation’s middle and high schools, where the problems are most acute. And the federal government must provide the leadership that is so critical to the development of a world-class education system for the nation’s older students if they are to graduate prepared for the challenges of an increasingly global society.
Certainly, money alone cannot fix the nation's secondary schools. In fact, more dollars without systemic reform will only make an already dysfunctional system more expensive. But Congress has the opportunity to both enact much-need changes and make targeted new investments in the nation's middle and high schools as it considers the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Failure to seize this chance, however, will seriously damage prospects for the nation's economic prosperity as today's dropouts and undereducated graduates become tomorrow's poorly educated employees or welfare recipients. Instead of an education system that ensures that every child is a high school graduate, prepared for college and work, the nation will be left with middle and high schools that typify the old adage, "you get what you pay for."
Ultimately, the changes Congress makes to NCLB will determine whether our schools will produce increasing numbers of well-educated high school graduates who are prepared for college, the modern workforce, and success in life—or whether the nation will continue to suffer from a dropout crisis that claims over one million students every year.
The clock is ticking. Every school day that passes without change results in another 7,000 dropouts. Congress must act now to improve our nation’s high schools, for the sake of the students of today and the nation of tomorrow.
To learn more about the solutions, click on the Alliance for Excellent Education's federal policy recommendations listed below: