Press Release

Building a Grad Nation Summit to be Held March 18-21 in Washington, DC

Colin and Alma Powell, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, George Lucas and Michelle Rhee To Attend


America’s Promise Alliance, Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center will host the 2012 Building a Grad Nation Summit. The annual event brings together nearly 1,000 leaders in education, politics, business, media, nonprofit and research from across the country to discuss progress and challenges in ending the high school dropout crisis. This year’s Summit will include the release of new national and state data on graduation rates, as well as appearances by General Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, StudentsFirst Founder and former DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and filmmaker and education activist George Lucas among many others.   

Highlights from the Summit will include:

·         March 18: Youth Leaders Pre-Summit Conference

·         March 19: Release of the 2012 Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic report. The highly anticipated annual report will provide a national update on the number of “dropout factory” high schools and latest U.S. graduation rate figures. Remarks by National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Secretary Arne Duncan. Secretary Duncan will also lead a panel discussion on school improvement grants. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson will make a special announcement. Michelle Rhee and other education reform leaders will discuss innovation

·         March 20: Business leaders and educators discuss how they can work together to improve education outcomes for youth. Panel will include Larry Merlo of CVS and Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools, among many others. Latest research on the economic impact of the dropout crisis. Closing remarks from renowned filmmaker and education activist George Lucas and America’s Promise Founding Chairman General Colin Powell

Attendees will participate in sessions on a variety of topics including: college readiness, access and affordability, role of technology in student learning, school transformation and early childhood education, as well as a larger session focused on America’s changing demographics and the impact that will have on the education landscape.

The opening and luncheon plenary sessions on March 19 and 20 will be webcast live.  To view any webcast or find a copy of the full summit agenda please visit:   


·         Colin and Alma Powell, Founding Chairman and Board Chair, America’s Promise Alliance

·         Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

·         George Lucas, Filmmaker & Chairman, the George Lucas Educational Foundation

·         Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy & Director, National Economic Council

·         Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO, StudentsFirst

·         Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation



March 18-21, 2011—Marriott Wardman Park Hotel — 2660 Woodley Place, NW — Washington, DC

Credentialed news media are invited to attend and cover the Summit. To RSVP, please contact: Colleen Wilber at [email protected] or 202-657-0647.