Insights from thought leaders working to improve the lives of America’s Youth

Dorothy Stoneman, Founder of Youthbuild
Founder Youthbuild USA
Adult and peer mentors are critical to success. This has come up over and over again, with YouthBuild classes. It also came out as one of the many needs of non -graduates as revealed in the recent America’s Promise report, “Don’t Call Them Dropouts”. These young people are full of potential; they want a rewarding future, and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, not just for themselves, but also within their community. 

Hon. Alvin Brown

As mayor of Jacksonville, I recognize the importance of education to the success and vitality of a city. By equipping students with the skills they need to achieve their fullest potential, we ensure our city has a talented and competitive workforce ready to meet the challenges of the global economy. Support for education must be the responsibility of the entire community – we all have an interest in providing empowerment and opportunity to our young people.
It’s just a week since we released the “Don’t Call them Dropouts” report.  The response has been enthusiastic – lots of visits to the webpage, downloads of the full report, views of the video.  We are pleased, and we thank you.
Jonathan Zaff Executive Director
Executive Director  Center for Promise
Don't Call Them Dropouts isn’t only a research project. It is a story. It’s a story we have been eager to tell, and one that has been more than a year in the making. As a researcher, my job is to document, describe, and estimate what goes on in the world. But, not much analysis is needed when you can hear directly from young people what they need in life and what they can offer to themselves, their families, and their communities.
Alma Powell
Chair America's Promise Alliance
Language is important.  Labels matter. With the report we are releasing today, we recommend that we stop using the term “dropout" when referring to young people who leave school without graduating. The young people our Center for Promise interviewed specifically asked that we not call them dropouts because this is not how they think of themselves, and their stories and our survey results confirm this reality. Yes, they left school, but they did not quit, and we should not and cannot quit on them.
Like most blogs, this one starts small and humble. And like all blog hosts, we aspire to big things: We want the GradNation blog to be a must-see digital destination for anyone with a passion for creating greater opportunities for at-risk young people. If you come with us – adding your voice to the conversations we will start – we’ll reach that aspiration together, and the GradNation blog will become that place where useful and provocative content is posted, discussed and debated.