77th Annual Meeting

POLICY REVIEW TO REDUCE THE HIGH SCHOOL DROP-OUT RATE AND PROVIDE MORE ENGAGING EDUCATION

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors is committed to a meaningful education and a high school diploma for all youth; and

WHEREAS, joy in learning, confidence in one's abilities, and interest in lifelong education are important social values; and

WHEREAS, only about half of young people in urban communities graduate from high school on time and nearly 50% of African-American and Latino youth do not complete high school; and

WHEREAS, the high school drop-out rate has not reduced in recent years; and

WHEREAS, a renewed policy examination is needed in order to determine causes and solutions for the high school drop-out crisis; and

WHEREAS, a number of sources for such an examination exist, including the work of America's Promise, the Dellums Commission Report of the Joint Center for an examination of international policies and practices,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the U.S. Department of Education to undertake a wide-ranging study of those policies and practices which may enhance the educational experience and completion rates of all U.S. high school students, particularly those groups which are currently most likely to drop out in the U.S.; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department report whether high school students retained in the same grade for more than one year are more likely to drop out; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department report whether homeless and foster youth are more likely than others to drop out of high school; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department report on the impact of early punitive grading, testing and suspension policies on the likelihood of African-American and Latino students leaving school without a diploma; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department report of the educational practices of other countries, including Denmark and Finland, which have higher literacy rates and lower high school drop-out rates than the U.S., with regard to the age at which they begin reading instruction, and their general approach to child development and happiness with school; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department report on the impact of providing wraparound services, such as health centers, service learning, small learning communities, sport and art activities, and caring adult advocates on the likelihood of students experiencing school satisfaction and earning their diplomas on time; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Department of Education engage the people of the U.S. in a dynamic dialogue about what policies are likely to lead to student engagement, school completion, equitable school experiences, and joyful lifelong learning.