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A New Way To Boost High School Graduation Rates

Graduated students in the sunset

Don Kilburn
President, North America, Pearson

Education is unquestionably the foundation of a brighter future, and graduating from high school the most fundamental step toward good employment and further education. For that reason, boosting graduation rates throughout America, and particularly among underserved student populations, is an essential piece of building a more just and fair economy and society, with more opportunities for all.

President Obama has stated a goal of achieving 90% high school graduation rates by 2020, and Pearson is proud to support that goal. We put the learner at the heart of everything we do, and believe strongly in advancing the cause of opportunity for all students.

In June, we announced the GradNation State Activation initiative in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance. This partnership aims to support and scale multi-year, cross-sector efforts at the state and local levels to make measurable impact on graduation rates.

We’re delighted to announce three state organizations that will each receive a $200,000 grant to support their work towards these goals.

  • The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable engages with mayors in 16 cities across the state through the Arizona Activation Initiative, in collaboration with WestEd and other state partners
  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education focuses on students whose first language is not English
  • The Minnesota Alliance With Youth, which supports GradMinnesota, a statewide initiative to increase the graduation rate, focusing on students of color, low-income students, English language leaners and students with disabilities.

An independent panel selected the grantees from a group of 41 applicants from 26 states. The panel, consisting of respected leaders in the education and youth development community, including Building a Grad Nation report co-author John Bridgeland, president and CEO, Civic Enterprises; former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, president, Alliance for Excellent Education;  Karen Pittman, co-founder, president and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment;  and 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples.

We congratulate the grantees, and wish them the best in the work to come. We’re looking forward to working with you, supporting you and celebrating the progress you will make in the years ahead.