Achieve, Inc. Announces 13-State Coalition To Improve High Schools

Sunday, February 27, 2005Printer-friendly version

WASHINGTON – February 27, 2005 – At the close of the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools, Achieve, Inc. announced that a group of 13 states – which together educate more than a third of all U.S. students – have agreed to form a new coalition to improve high schools.

"For the first time, a group of states will reshape an American institution that has far outlasted its effectiveness. More than 5 million American students each year – 35 percent of public school students nationwide – will be expected to meet higher requirements under this landmark initiative," says Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, co-chair of the Washington, D.C.-based Achieve, Inc., which will coordinate the effort. "This is the biggest step states can take to restore the value of the high school diploma."

"Improving high schools one school or one state at a time is not moving fast enough," says Arthur F. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial and co-chair of Achieve, Inc. "We need states working together and collaborating with many partners like the business community to help graduates leave school fully prepared for the jobs we have to offer."

In joining the American Diploma Project (ADP) Network, the states – Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas – are committing to significantly raise the rigor of their high school standards, assessments, and curriculum to better align them with the demands of postsecondary education and work. The states will also hold high schools and postsecondary institutions accountable for improved performance. Specifically, the states have committed to taking four actions:

  • Raise high school standards to the level of what is actually required to succeed in college or in the workforce.
  • Require all students to take rigorous college and work-ready curriculum.
  • Develop tests of college and work readiness that all students will take in high school.
  • Hold high schools accountable for graduating all students ready for college and work, and hold colleges accountable for the success of the students they admit.
  • By joining the network and committing to implementing these changes quickly, these states will be changing a traditional American institution – the high school – forever," says Mike Cohen, president of Achieve, Inc. "These states recognize that the world their graduates enter today is dramatically different than in the past, and that we need a new kind of high school to prepare students for the higher demands of work and postsecondary education."

The efforts of each ADP state will be led by the governor, the state superintendent of education, the state higher education director, business leaders, and other key individuals to ensure broad support that goes beyond politics and partisanship. Over the few months, each state will develop a specific plan and timetable for addressing ADP Network objectives, and Achieve will report regularly on state progress.

The ADP Network, managed by Achieve, Inc., carries forward the agenda of the American Diploma Project (ADP), which last year identified the skills that students realistically need to master in order to succeed after high school.

Created by the nation's governors and business leaders, Achieve, Inc., is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work and citizenship.