Six States to Develop Policies to Fight High School Dropout, Achieve Graduation for All

WASHINGTON— Despite recent high school reform efforts, the dropout problem in the United States remains daunting. To address this troubling issue that affects all states, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) today announced it has selected six states – Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee and West Virginia – to develop comprehensive state dropout prevention and recovery policies through the State Strategies to Achieve Graduation for All initiative.

The initiative will help states clearly identify their dropout problem; assess the gaps in student supports for preventing students from dropping out of school and recovering the students that drop out; and create a dropout prevention and recovery action plan for implementation that includes tactics such as state policies, executive orders, advisory councils, legislation or regulatory reforms.

“When a student drops out of high school, it hurts that individual’s opportunity for a bright, successful future and is a loss to society as a whole,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “Those who drop out of high school are less likely than others to be employed, more likely to receive public assistance and more likely to be incarcerated. The State Strategies to Achieve Graduation for All initiative will help the selected states devise policies to combat the dropout problem.”

The initiative is informed by a report recently released by the NGA Center, Achieving Graduation for All: A Governor’s Guide to Dropout Prevention and Recovery, which identifies the root causes of the high school dropout problem and offers an action plan for states to curb dropouts, help youth succeed and strengthen state economies. Specific recommendations contained in the report for states to reduce the incidence of students not completing high school include promoting high school graduation for all; targeting youth at-risk of dropping out; reengaging youth who have dropped out of school; and providing rigorous, relevant options for earning a high school diploma.

Throughout the State Strategies to Achieve Graduation for All initiative, state teams will be afforded technical assistance opportunities aimed at increasing their breadth and depth of knowledge concerning dropout prevention and recovery. States will also receive assistance from national dropout experts and participate in policy academy meetings designed to address issues and challenges surrounding dropout prevention and recovery.

For more information about this initiative and other NGA Center Education Division efforts, visit

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