Effective Education

Our increasingly knowledge-driven world demands people who have the education and skills to thrive in a competitive marketplace, and to understand the increasingly complex world in which they live. That means that in order to compete and succeed, all young people will need an effective education that prepares them for work and life.

Increasingly, education through and beyond high school represent the only clear path to the achieve American Dream.   Already, the vast majority of jobs in the United States are available only to high school graduates. By 2020, nearly 90 percent of all jobs will require at least a high school diploma, and two-thirds of jobs will require some form of postsecondary education.

America’s Promise is focused on dramatically increasing high school graduation rates – our GradNation campaign.  A high school diploma is by no means a guarantee of success, but failure to complete high school is a devastatingly accurate predictor of lifelong struggle and unrealized human potential.     

To keep young Americans on track to attaining the education they will need throughout their lives, they need quality early childhood education, the ability to read at grade level at critical junctures such as the third grade, and an education that instills critical thinking and problem-solving skills, such as the college and career readiness standards. This preparation will make more of them college-ready, which is increasingly important each year. Two-thirds of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the time today’s middle school students enter the job market. 

Clearly, a high school diploma is a crucial threshold that young Americans must cross if they want any real shot at prosperous, thriving adulthood. If birth is life’s starting line, then high school graduation is life’s second starting line for success.

Related Resources

Building a Grad Nation Report: 2011 Annual Update

Jan 14, 2014This report is the first annual update of the November 2010 report, Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic. It was released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University’s Everyone Graduates Center in March 2011 and shows the nation continues to make progress in its efforts to keep students in school. The report found that the number of high schools graduating 60 percent or less of students on time decreased by 112 between 2008 and 2009. The report update also includes four case studies highlighting success: Baltimore, Md.; Canton, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Hillsborough County, Fla.

Building a Grad Nation: Progress & Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic - Annual Update 2012

Jan 15, 2014The nation continues to make progress to end the dropout crisis, according this report released by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report found that 24 states increased their high school graduation rates by modest to large gains, while the number of high schools graduating 60 percent or fewer students on time—often referred to as “dropout factories”— decreased by 457 between 2002 and 2010, with the rate of decline accelerating since 2008. The number of “dropout factories” totaled 1,550 in 2010, down from 1,634 in 2009 and a high of 2,007 in 2002. The number declined by 84 between 2009 and 2010. As a result, 790,000 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2010 than 2002.

Building a Grad Nation: Progress & Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic - February 2013

Jan 14, 2014The most comprehensive graduation research report of late found that for the first time the U.S. is on track to meet the national Grad Nation goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the class of 2020. The national high school graduation rate increased 6.5 percentage points since 2001 with an average growth of 1.25 percentage points each year from 2006-2010 to 78.2. As a result of this acceleration more than 200,000 additional students received diplomas in 2010 than in 2006. The 2013 report update of Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, released February 25 by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, shows that the nation continues to make progress.

Building a Grad Nation: Progress & Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic - November 2010

Jan 16, 2014With one in four U.S. public school students dropping out of high school before graduation, America continues to face a dropout epidemic. This report was released November 30, 2010 by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, shows that we can end the dropout epidemic, even in schools from lower-income, urban and rural districts that many previously thought were hopeless. The report is supported by lead sponsor Target, and includes additional sponsorship from AT&T and Pearson Foundation.

Cities in Crisis 2008: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation

Jan 22, 2014This report, commissioned in 2008, finds that only about half of all students served by the main school systems in the nation's 50 largest cities graduate from high school. Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation was released by America’s Promise Alliance and prepared by Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. It further reveals that in the metropolitan areas surrounding 35 of the nation’s largest cities, graduation rates in urban schools were lower than those in nearby suburban communities. In several instances, the disparity between urban-suburban graduation rates was more than 35 percentage points.

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