2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

return to table of contents

REFORMING AMERICA’S HIGH SCHOOLS: ALIGNMENT OF STANDARDS AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

     WHEREAS, no state can currently claim that every student who earns a high school diploma is academically prepared for post-secondary education and the world of work; and

WHEREAS, nearly half the states require high school students to pass exit exams that assess 8th and 9th grade content rather than measuring skills needed to prepare students to take college credit courses or do high-performance, high growth jobs which do not measure what reflects real world demands of colleges or employers; and

WHEREAS, at least 28 percent of high school graduates who enter two and four-year colleges immediately take remedial courses in English and math, and college transcripts indicate that 53 percent of students take at least one remedial math or English course, and the percentages are significantly higher for poor and minority students; and

WHEREAS, a majority of high school graduates who enter college, fewer than half leave with a degree and the numbers are significantly fewer for African-American and Hispanic students; and

WHEREAS, more than 60 percent of employers rate high school graduates’ skills in grammar, spelling, writing and basic math as only fair or poor; and

WHEREAS, too few high school students take challenging courses nor do they take courses in appropriate sequences to build the necessary skills and knowledge; and

WHEREAS, the academic standards that have been developed by states over the past ten to fifteen years reflect a consensus among individual discipline experts as to what is desirable for students to learn and skills to acquire, yet they are a first generation of standards that have not been updated for demands of colleges and the world of work for the 21st century,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the federal government include in the requirements of No Child Left Behind and other related legislation as it influences the establishment of state standards that standards be aligned with the knowledge and skills expected by colleges and employers if high school graduates are to succeed, and colleges and employers need to honor and reward student achievement by using performance data in admissions, placement and hiring decisions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for all students to be held to the same standards, using the same measures, regardless of whether students are in traditional, charter, theme-based or alternative public or private schools, or are home-schooled; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the federal government to take several steps to provide influence and support such as providing student financial aid incentives for high school students who take a college or workplace readiness curriculum, provide resources to states and local school systems through legislation to align high school standards, assessments and graduation requirements with knowledge and skills necessary for post-secondary education and work; require through the Higher Education Act data on numbers of students taking remedial courses and degree completion; and utilize its influence in changing the course requirements for graduation, and the opportunities and environments in which high school students learn to better prepare them for college and/or employment.