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

Alma Powell
Chair America's Promise Alliance
How do you pay tribute to one who has given so much of himself in service to our Nation? We humbly pay tribute to you, President Bush, on your 90th birthday with a service project that benefits those
Jose Antonio

Jose Antonio Tijerino

President and CEO Hispanic Heritage Foundation
According to the recent 2014 Building a GradNation report from America's Promise, the United States has reached an 80 percent high school graduation rate for the first time in history. Truly an accomplishment we need to celebrate!
Dan Cardinali
President and CEO Independent Sector
It’s been more than 400 years since Shakespeare pondered that question in Romeo and Juliet, yet it continues to have an unexpected resonance in public education today. If you need proof, just take a look at “Don’t Call Them Dropouts,” a major new study from America’s Promise Alliance and its Center for Promise at Tufts University.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson

This is the time of year when all over America, family and friends are celebrating the accomplishments of students who have taken a significant step in preparing for their future – earning a high school diploma. As much as we commend them for their hard work, we also need to realize that at every graduation ceremony taking place at thousands of high schools from coast-to-coast, each of the graduating classes should be larger.
J. Craig McClay

Craig McClay

Youth Engagement Specialist America's Promise
Growing up in the bayou of Louisiana certainly conjures images of a fertile, gumbo-esque estuary.
Tanya Tucker, Chief, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships
Chief Chief, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships
It’s hard to think of the America’s Promise Alliance’s Five Promises without getting past the first promise: Caring Adults.  In many ways, it’s the cornerstone of everything that we do here.
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.