WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation today that would help states meet the challenges influencing student achievement by promoting a shared, comprehensive approach to education. The DIPLOMA Act would help states and school districts steadily close the achievement gap by building integrated, collaborative systems to support children by making schools the centers of community.
"All members of the community should make the education of our children a priority," Brown said. "By making schools the center of Ohio's communities, we can assure that students academic, emotional, and social needs are met- increasing achievement and equipping future generations with the skills for the 21st century workforce."
Research demonstrates that children are more likely to succeed in schools when their comprehensive needs - nutrition, health, a safe and stable home - are met. A recent study from the Education Testing Service outlined 16 factors influencing achievement; more than half of which occur outside the classroom. The DIPLOMA Act responds to research by arming local leaders to identify and address the barriers students face so they can meet rigorous standards in the classroom and reach their full potential.
"Through the DIPLOMA Act more local partnerships will blossom to address the challenges standing between the community's children and their success," said Robert Reifsnyder, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. "Our United Way has been a major partner in the Cincinnati Community Learning Centers Initiative that coordinates existing services and captures other funding sources to better meet those challenges. We applaud Senator Brown's leadership in recognizing that helping our young people succeed requires paying attention to the many aspects of their lives that influence learning."
Specifically, through the DIPLOMA Act:
States would receive funds to:
- develop an overarching strategic plan to enhance education and other child/youth outcomes based on a comprehensive results framework
- provide training, technical assistance, and professional development
- administer competitive grants to local consortia, and holding them accountable for results
Local consortia, consisting of at least one school district and one external partner organization, with priority given to consortia comprised of a broad array of stakeholders-- school districts, community based organizations, local government, service providers, students, parents, and others who have demonstrated records of effectiveness - would compete for funds to:
- conduct an assessment of community assets and needs, and develope a strategic plan to enhance education and other child/youth outcomes based on a comprehensive results framework
- coordinate and integrate existing funding streams into a continuum of research-based services to meet the goals of the results framework
- provide children and youth with an array of opportunities to meet community identified needs and strengthen achievement, from tutoring and dropout prevention programs to health services and increased numbers of specialized instructional support personnel; and measure and report results
The DIPLOMA Act is endorsed by: American Association of School Administrators (AASA); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); American School Counselor Association (ASCA); Coalition for Community Schools (CCS); Communities in Schools; Council for Exceptional Children; First Focus; National Assembly on School-Based Health Care; National Association of School Psychologists (NASP); National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); National Education Association (NEA); Public Education Network (PEN); Parent-Teacher Association (PTA); School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA); United Way and Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Click here to see what others are saying about the DIPLOMA Act