Senator Boxer:  Getting More Young People to Graduate   

Friday, March 5, 2010  

Dear Friend:

This week General Colin Powell, America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan launched an exciting new campaign to reverse the high school dropout crisis in America. Over the next ten years, the Grad Nation campaign will mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses to ensure that 90 percent of today’s fourth-graders graduate high school on time.

Today more than one in three American students fails to graduate from high school. Young people who drop out are twice as likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty, eight times more likely to wind up in prison, and twice as likely to become the parent of child who in turn drops out.
Today half of the nation’s dropouts come from just 12 percent of our high schools. Grad Nation is mobilizing the America’s Promise Alliance, its 375 national partners, and their local affiliates to give these low-performing schools the impetus and resources they need to succeed.

Grad Nation is seeking volunteers to donate books, tutor students, and offer career counseling; organizations to support classroom teachers, enrichment activities, and after-school programs; and businesses to provide financial support and engage in marketing, advertising, and outreach activities that raise public awareness about the dropout crisis and help young people stay in school.

For more information, and to get involved in this exciting and important campaign, visit or the America’s Promise Alliance home page at

As General Powell said this week, “improving graduation rates is not just an education issue; it’s a community issue. We cannot expect more from our schools and young people until all Americans are prepared to be more involved, because so many of the building blocks that make for success in school involve effort outside of the classroom.”

In the months ahead, I will be working with my colleagues to give our public schools more and better resources through a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As we continue this effort, it is heartening to see so many committed individuals and organizations coming together to make America a Grad Nation.


Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer