NAACP joins   campaign for high school equity

June 19, 2007

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People joined several other national civil rights organizations June 19 to formally launch the Campaign for High School Equity. The goal of the campaign is to ensure that America's secondary schools have the capacity and motivation to prepare every student for graduation, college, work, and life.

The goals of the Campaign for High School Equity are to:

  • Provide a unique and important perspective on federal and national education policy issues critical to high school reform;
  • Educate diverse communities about the need and options for serious reforms in high school education; and
  • Engage in strategic advocacy activities that mobilize constituencies to push for changes that produce positive outcomes for students of color and low-income students.

One-third of the nation's high school students do not graduate, and the rates are even higher for students of color.  In the 2002-03 school year, only 51.6 percent of black students, 47.4 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native students, and 55.6 percent of Hispanic students graduated on time (EPE Research Center 2006).  The graduation rate among Asian and Pacific Islander students cannot be accurately determined because current data collection methods do not distinguish by ethnic group. However, empirical evidence suggests that many of these students are experiencing similar challenges.

“The statistical profile of educational equity, access, and achievement for students of color is far too bleak,” said NAACP National Education Director Michael T.S. Wotorson. “Our organizations have come together to address these disparities ultimately to safeguard democracy.”

The Campaign for High School Equity's inaugural publication, A Plan for Success: Communities of Color Define Policy Priorities for High School Reform declares that it is not too late to invest in the development of students once they reach high school and provides a blueprint for meaningful reform:

  • Make all students proficient and prepared for college and work;
  • Hold high schools accountable for student success;
  • Redesign the American high school;
  • Provide students with the excellent leaders and teachers they need to succeed; and
  • Invest communities in student success.

The Campaign for High School Equity boasts a diverse membership, particularly known and respected for their leadership and historic roles in the civil rights movement.  They are: the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, the National Council of La Raza, the National Indian Education Association, the National Urban League, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.  The convener and coordinator of the Campaign is the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization that focuses on improving the country’s secondary schools.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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