General Colin Powell: Helping America Become a Grad Nation

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Founding Chairman General Colin Powell (2nd L), and current Chair Alma Powell (L) of American's Promise Alliance, listen during an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce March 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke on the administration's effort to improve the nation's schools. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

General Colin Powell @ wife Alma and I are honored to have President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joining us today to announce a new multi-year campaign to mobilize all Americans to help end the high school dropout crisis. We call this work Grad Nation.

For the past two years, America’s Promise Alliance has been traveling the country, raising awareness about how high dropout rates and low readiness for college and work undermine our nation’s future. In nearly all 50 states and 55 cities, we have convened high-level Dropout Prevention Summits that brought together nearly 30,000 mayors and governors, business and community leaders, school administrators, students and parents. They have committed to concrete action plans to improve graduation rates in their states and communities.

General Colin Powell and his wife, Alma PowellTo that end, the time for talking and planning has ended. Now we must turn our attention to solutions. This means acting on all the lessons we’ve learned at our summits, and more importantly, making sure all Americans see their stake in this and join us to reach an important goal, which is to see that 90 percent of today’s fourth-graders graduate from high school on time. If we achieve this, we will not only be a more healthy and prosperous nation, but we can also help realize President Obama’s goal of making the United States the global pacesetter of college graduation by 2020.

The simple proposition is this—improving graduation rates is not just an education issue; it’s a community issue. We cannot expect more from our schools and young people until all Americans are prepared to be more involved, because so many of the building blocks that make for success in school involve effort outside of the classroom.

Grad Nation is the way for us to mobilize to win this battle.

Grad NationMuch like the Olympic athletes we’ve been inspired by recently, we all need to push past our comfort levels and make our work benefit something greater than ourselves — our country. Whether it is through City Year’s “In School and On Track” initiative or The First Tee’s National School Program, our nearly 400 national Alliance partners and their local affiliates are stepping up to lead the way. We’re already seeing the impact of this type work in cities like Philadelphia and Tucson, which have improved their graduation rates by more than 20 percentage points in a decade.

So the question remains: What will you do? How can you help? The choice is simple. If we are to remain a great nation, we must be a Grad Nation.

To learn more about America’s Promise Alliance and Grad Nation, visit:

Read Transcripts of Speeches by General and Mrs. Powell

General Colin Powell is founding chairman of America’s Promise Alliance

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Filed under Children, Education, Live Stream Video, News, Politics, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

8 responses to “General Colin Powell: Helping America Become a Grad Nation

  1. I’m glad to see General Powell and his wife Alma working with the President on this project. This looks like it will be able to save some students, and once again put America back on top in education. Our students need to be able to compete in a global economy. It has to start with the parents…I remember taking a children’s book to the hospital with me, when my labor pains started…I read to my daughter the first day she was born. If kids see you reading at home, they will read too 🙂

    The only problem I have now that she’s 24, is that she borrows my books and forgets to bring them back on time…somehow they mysteriously end up on ‘her‘ bookshelf! LOL

    What do you guys think about the new Grad Nation project?

  2. Gradnation is a very worthy project. I am old enough to remember a similiar effort during the 1960’s concerning the excessively high school drop out rate among the youth at that time. What happened in the interim? Someone dropped the ball. America must constantly be engaged and vigilant when it comes to the training of the next generation.

    You are correct about our being role models for our children. When I was growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I would see my parents, especially my mother, read often when they were not working to provide for our large (eight children) family. There were books, magazines, etc. around the house. I wanted to be like my parents. Hopefully this worthy effort will bear fruit.

    • I hope Grad Nation bears fruit too. 🙂 Your folks did it right! We can’t expect our children to learn the joy of the written word, if all they see us do is watch TV.

      I still remember my daughter being so proud of graduating from ‘picture‘ books to ‘chapter‘ books. If we make it something fun and something to be proud off, then they can’t help but want to read.

      Time for the Scholar Ladies video 🙂

    • spirit_55z

      I couldn’t agree more about role models, but not all kids have parents who model healthy reading habits.

      Ii can’t be stressed enough how important it is to mentor a child in need, if folks can do it.

      • This is very true, and a great point. 🙂

        Mentorship works…even if people can just give an hour a week, they can really make a difference in a child’s life. Susan Taylor’s got a great program for this, and the President and First Lady feel very strongly about mentoring young people.

  3. spirit_55z

    Way to go Colin and Alma! Grad Nation is a worthy program. Parents can start by turning off the tv and stacking the bookshelves.

    I don’t want to go on a rant here, but MSM’s pushing Palin as a viable candidate for VP, when the woman can’t string to complete sentences together is not the kind of message any child should be exposed to.

    ENOUGH of the dumbing down of our kids!

    Thank God my parents hammered it home for us. My dad told us, you can go iron sheets and take care of someone’s kids, work the tobacco crops, or you can go to college, get a degree and a profession.

    He even mentioned jail. He told my brothers you get it up stairs***points to (brains) or the lure of crime and drugs can and will land your ass in jail…

    I love that video, audiegrl. Kids need to know that learning can be fun!

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