At America’s Promise Alliance’s Recommit to Kids | The Summit for America’s Future Tuesday former U.S. presidents and prominent leaders from the business, philanthropic, nonprofit, government, education and faith communities came together to highlight the progress made over the past 20 years in helping underserved children succeed in school and to call on the nation to recommit to the critical work that remains.
The event featured “a wide range of discussions on issues that prevent at-risk children from graduating high school, including undocumented immigration status, the school-to-prison pipeline, student homelessness, and school segregation.”
As keynote speaker for the event, former President Bill Clinton highlighted the importance of immigrant students and diversity in our country.
“Across party lines and political philosophy, we always seem to have a fundamental understanding that societies and economics are about addition and not subtraction; about multiplication, not division,” Clinton said.
WATCH: Clinton’s speech at Recommit to Kids Summit (begins at 3:34:45 mark)
The event celebrated the 20th anniversary of the launch of America’s Promise Alliance, founded by retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to improve the lives of children and youth.
On Tuesday, Powell’s wife, Alma, who took over as the organization’s chair when her husband was tapped to be secretary of state, made a passionate call to citizens that “As a nation, we have promises to keep. Every one of us must do something. Every one of us CAN do something. And if every one of us DOES do something, the future of our country will be transformed. We will harness the power to make the American Dream, the pursuit of happiness, real for every child. That is our cause. That is our vision. That is our commitment.”
Since its inception, more than 400 national organizations and thousands of community leaders have joined the movement to deliver on the nonprofit’s Five Promises to children: the promise of relationships with caring adults, safe places to learn and play, a healthy start, an effective education, and an opportunity for young people to serve others.
To help give communities the guidance they need to increase high school graduation rates, the nonprofit launched the GradNation campaign in 2010. Since then, the campaign has helped catapult graduation rates to a historic high of 82.3 percent for the class of 2014, with nearly 2 million additional students graduating from high school over the past decade.
The numbers speak for themselves but the work is not over and there are still areas where improvement is needed so no child is left behind. This is an issue that needs constant attention and commitment from all adults in America because it affects everybody, as Colin and Alma Powell stated in their Letter to America prior to the event:
“If you are a parent worried about the intellectual and moral formation of your children, this is your cause. If you are a teacher struggling against influences outside the classroom that leave young people unprepared for learning, this is your cause. If you are an employer who has trouble finding skilled workers in an increasingly skills-based economy, this is your cause. If you are an activist or community leader passionately fighting against racial, social, and economic inequality, this is your cause. If you are a citizen disturbed by the existence of islands of hopelessness in the midst of plenty, this is your cause.”
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