For Immediate Release
OFFICE OF FAITH-BASED AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES
April 30, 2008
White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and America's Promise Alliance to Host Briefing on America's Dropout Epidemic
Experts discuss ways to curb dropout trend in America's high schools
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) today convened a policy briefing on the Nation's high school dropout crisis, exploring ways to curb this "silent epidemic" on behalf of America's youth. Hosted by OFBCI Director Jay Hein, in partnership with America's Promise Alliance Board Chair Alma Powell and President and CEO Marguerite Kondracke, the briefing entitled, "The Dropout Epidemic in the U.S. and Cross-Sector Solutions," explored factors leading to over a million high school dropouts each year.
Today's briefing assembled government, policy, faith and philanthropic leaders to discuss public and private sector innovations to help reverse the dropout trend in partnership with community-based nonprofits and faith-based organizations. In addition to representatives from America's Promise Alliance, former Governor Bob Wise and Rev. Wilson Goode, as well as a range of expert panelists, underscored the importance of cross-sector contributions to national efforts to address the dropout epidemic, while highlighting promising work already underway.
"Today's event shines light on a deeply concerning issue facing America's youth in today's knowledge economy. The dropout epidemic affects our future economy and our nation's security - it affects all Americans. Ensuring our Nation's students receive a quality education is a moral imperative, and we must band together to create a sustainable solution to this problem," OFBCI Director Jay Hein said.
Research indicates that over a million students drop out of high school each year, most of whom are minority and disadvantaged students. This staggering number represents a national challenge that requires aggressive action to ensure America's underserved students do not fall victim to what President Bush calls the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new uniform standard for states to calculate dropout statistics, an important step to define the dropout epidemic more accurately and advance a multi-sector dialogue on ways to curb this growing trend.
Additionally, organizations like America's Promise Alliance are engaging solutions in partnership with faith-based and other community organizations through mentoring, education and other services for at-risk youth that promote a healthy environment to help students to succeed in school and in life. The President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative is built from the conviction that the most effective way to address our communities' great needs is to draw upon the unique strengths of every willing community and faith-based partner. He launched the Initiative upon taking office in January 2001, to strengthen America's nonprofit sector and extend its work in partnership with government.
For more information on the OFBCI and the President's compassion agenda, visit: /government/fbci/.
For more information on America's Promise Alliance, visit: http://www.americaspromise.org.