Governors, Gates Foundation, Others Launch Movement Targeting Dropout 'Epidemic'

The National Governors Association, First Lady Laura Bush, the BIll & Melinda Gates Foundation, teachers, parents and how of others gathered in Washington, D.C., May 9 for a "Summit on America's Silent Epidemic" that launched a national movement to end the high school dropout "crisis." They endorsed a 10-point plan to provide high school students with a more challenging education and extra support to graduate; the plan also calls for raising state compulsory school age requirements.

Laura Bush delivered the summit's keynote speech. An Education Week mapping tool (www2.edweek.org/rc/) released at the summer allows visitors to the site to find the graduation rate of every school district in the nation, and the grade level at which each district tends to lose students. This tool will help communities target solutions to reduce their dropout rates, backers say.

The first Silent Epidemic Report was issued last year; since then, more than 34 governors have committed to an "all students college ready" agenda, NGA said.

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