Washington, D.C. — Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, has issued the following statement in support of the GRADUATES Act, introduced today by U.S. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Patty Murray (D-WA):

"The GRADUATES Act demonstrates the commitment of Senators Reid, Pryor, and Murray to improving educational outcomes for all of America´s students, and the bill they have introduced today will allow innovation to jumpstart change in our nation´s middle and high schools.

"With only 70 percent of the nation´s students graduating from high school, it´s time to rethink and redesign how we educate our students, and there´s an important federal role to play in taking on this challenge. The GRADUATES Act recognizes that communities are coming up with new ideas to improve their schools but often lack the funding to fully explore them and put them into practice. The bill will make competitive grants to fund partnerships between states and school districts and other local organizations–such as business alliances, nonprofit groups, and colleges–for programs that improve student achievement and graduation rates. The ideas will vary, but the results must demonstrate progress and must be able to be repeated in other schools.

"With the No Child Left Behind Act up for renewal, this is a defining year for federal support of students in the nation´s middle and high schools. Making sure the law meets their needs must be a priority–otherwise, resources invested in the earlier grades are squandered as students move through the system. The GRADUATES Act provides the opportunity to discover and carry out 21st century solutions. I urge Congress to pass this important legislation."

For more information about the GRADUATES (Getting Retention and Diplomas Up Among Today´s Enrolled Students) Act, please visit:

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