The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, today, more than 45 percent of public school students tested in kindergarten and middle school fail to achieve age-appropriate proficiency in reading and mathematics, and only 35 percent of urban middle school students achieve proficiency in math; and

WHEREAS, lower income children consistently perform worse in achievement tests in both subjects than higher income children, make up a disproportionately large share of those who drop out, and drop out at twice the overall rate; and

WHEREAS, only one-half of lower income children even begin college, compared with more than 75 percent of higher income children; and

WHEREAS, the more success a child achieves in school, the less likely he or she is to live in poverty as an adult, and the poverty rate of high school dropouts is three times that of those who graduate; and

WHEREAS, only about half of all Black, Hispanic, and Native American students who enter ninth grade will graduate 12th grade on time, and graduation rates in some cities for minority males as a group are even lower; and

WHEREAS, in contrast, the overall high school graduation rate in the U.S. is 68 percent, and for white students it is 75 percent,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal government to: Strengthen its investment in quality neighborhood primary and secondary public schools; Increase its investment in all public schools so that all children have an equal opportunity to learn, and use the additional funding to improve teachers' salaries, finance school construction and modernization, make art and music education available to all students, encourage diverse and creative curricula, provide before- and after-school programming, and encourage a smaller student-to-teacher ratio in classrooms; Adopt the policy recommendations of the National Academies to improve K-12 science and mathematics education and provide support for recruiting more qualified teachers and setting higher standards for students; Reform the No Child Left Behind Act to address disincentives for high-quality teachers to teach at poorly performing urban schools; Fund demonstration projects designed to improve teacher quality across all grades of public schools; Consider options for reforming K-12 education bureaucracies to achieve savings and greater effectiveness; Encourage the development of and provide support for school district institution of student-centered contracts and increasing teacher pay to improve education results; Fully fund English as a Second Language programs in public schools; and Develop more effective approaches to student retention in drop-out prevention and mitigation programs - approaches which begin in the primary grades and continue through high school - and strategies which extend to students who have already dropped out, to reconnect them with school and jobs.

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352