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National Campaign to Address America’s Education Crisis – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

National coalition calls on all Americans to STAND UP for excellent high schools that prepare every student for success.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Sean Walsh
Phone: 1.866.303.7457

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Amid mounting national concern over the state of America’s high schools, more than 50 education organizations, districts, and schools across the country have joined together to create STAND UP, a community-based national campaign demanding change for great high schools that educate all students well. The coalition includes educators, community activists, and parents in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods who are already working hard to improve the nation’s high schools.

The campaign was mentioned on The Oprah Winfrey Show today as part of a two-day report: “American Schools in Crisis,” on which Bill and Melinda Gates, the founders and co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were featured. The Oprah Winfrey Show teamed up with Time magazine, which devoted its April 17th cover story, “Dropout Nation,” to the problems in U.S. high schools.

As a new Time/The Oprah Winfrey Show poll reveals, ordinary Americans are increasingly troubled by the state of the nation’s high schools. Nine in 10 adults in the survey called the dropout rate a serious problem. Today, about one in three high school students do not graduate with their class. Those who do graduate need more education than their grandparents just to maintain the same standard of living, yet only one in three ninth graders actually leave high school in four years ready for the rigors of college and the working world. The problem is not limited to big cities: It affects young people in every community – the suburbs, rural areas, and small towns.

Robert L. Hughes, president of New Visions for Public Schools, a STAND UP coalition member that works in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education to develop successful public high schools, said, "A strong education is a civil right that we must extend to every student. It is important that we stand up to make that right a reality in classrooms across America. Unless we help every child succeed, be they in rural schools in Kansas or suburban schools in Maryland or urban schools in New York City, we cannot succeed as a nation. The goal of this campaign is to mobilize communities across the country to stand up to help their high schools provide students with an education that prepares them for college, work, and citizenship."

STAND UP will build on the growing momentum around high school reform to engage parents, teachers, principals, community leaders, concerned citizens, business leaders, policymakers, and philanthropists in all 50 states.

The STAND UP coalition includes a diverse network of public school districts; nonprofit organizations that create or support networks of new schools; developers of alternative high schools and early college high schools; model schools; and many others. They include the New York City Department of Education; Chicago Public Schools; the National Council of La Raza; the Colorado Children’s Campaign; Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP); the Texas High School Project; and St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento, California.

“We have supported many schools and school districts in their efforts to redesign and create new high schools that ensure all young people graduate prepared for college and success,” said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is supporting the STAND UP campaign. “But it will take more than these efforts to get the job done. STAND UP seeks to provide all Americans – parents, teachers, community leaders, and others – with information they need to take action so our high schools prepare all young people and our country for a strong future.”

To help mobilize Americans to demand change, STAND UP has launched a Web site which provides valuable information, guidance and tools for parents, guardians and concerned citizens to support students and excellent high schools in every community.

The Web site also provides information about the state of the nation’s high schools and offers specific ways for people to become a part of the solution. Visitors to the Web site can:

  • Send an email urging governors to support high schools that serve all students well;

  • Download a parent toolkit, which provides information and tips about how to make a difference in a teenager’s education;

  • Download a community action toolkit, which provides information and guidance on how to mobilize a community for change; and

  • Purchase a unique, wearable STAND UP medallion to show support for the hopes and dreams of the nation’s young people. (Proceeds from the sales of the medallion will go to a new fund, the STAND UP Scholarship Fund.)

STAND UP is a national, multi-year community-based campaign for excellent high schools that prepare all students for future success. Comprised of more than 50 organizations throughout the country, the effort is committed to enlisting the support of the American people in tackling America’s education crisis. The multi-pronged effort will include print and television advertising, a Web site with resources for parents and concerned citizens to become engaged in education improvement efforts, and local campaign events around the country. STAND UP is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other national organizations.

Public Interest,, the not-for-profit creator of powerful messaging for good causes, conceived and executed STAND UP to provide America with a platform to STAND UP and demand that kids in this country get the education they deserve. With headquarters in Santa Monica and newly opened offices in Washington, DC, the Emmy Award-winning Public Interest works with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, including MTV, the National AIDS Fund, the Allstate Foundation, Rock the Vote, the Partnership for a Drug Free America, Teach for America and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Public Interest will unveil creative elements that will be delivered to the American public in phases over the next year and beyond.

STAND UP Coalition Members

Asia Society
Los Angeles, CA
Anthony Jackson
(213) 613-9934

Aspire Public Schools
Oakland, CA
Laura Noss
(510) 251-1660 x112

Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools
Oakland, CA
Steve Jubb
(510) 208-0160 x307

Center for Collaborative Education
Boston, MA
Dan French
(617) 421-0134 x227

Center for School Change
Minneapolis, MN
Joe Nathan
(612) 625-3506

Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, IN
Susan Nelson
(317) 791-5928

Chicago Charter School Foundation
Chicago, IL
R.J. McMahon
(312) 455-7890

Chicago High School Redesign Initiative
Chicago, IL
Ernestine Key
(312) 616-8000 x165

Chicago Public Schools

Civitas Schools
Chicago, IL
Ellen Kennedy
(773) 478-3655

Coalition of Essential Schools
Oakland, CA
Brett Bradshaw
(510) 433-1926

Colorado Children's Campaign
Denver, CO
Amber Minogue
(303) 839-1580 x234

Commonwealth Corporation (Diploma Plus)
Boston, MA
Ephraim Weisstein
(617) 727-8158 x1229

Communities Foundation of Texas / Texas High School Project
Dallas, TX  /
Laurey Peat  /  Matt Kagan
(214) 871-8787  /  (310) 234-8787  / 

Communities in Schools

Cristo Rey Network
Newton, MA
Jeff Thielman
(781) 316-1727

E3: Employers for Education Excellence
Portland, OR
Charlie LaTourette
(503) 595-7615

EdVisions Cooperative
Henderson, MN
Doug Thomas
(507) 248-3738

Envision Schools
San Francisco, CA
Ann Hill
(415) 491-5904

Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound
Garrison, NY
Rebecca Kennedy
(845) 424-4000 x227

Georgia Governor's Office of Student Achievement
Atlanta, GA
Nancy Haight
(404) 463-1166

Great Maine Schools Project at the Mitchell Institute
Portland, ME
Steve Abbott
(207) 773-0505

High Tech High Foundation
San Diego, CA
Brigid Avery
(619) 243-5004

IDEA Public Schools
Rio Grande Valley, TX
Tom Torkelson
(956) 464-0203

Institute for Student Achievement
Lake Success, NY
Erika Freed
(212) 699-3696

Internationals Network for Public Schools
New York, NY
Claire Sylvan
(212) 868-5180

Jobs For the Future
Boston, MA
Carmon Cunningham
(617) 728-4446 x133

Knowledge is Power Program
San Francisco, CA
Justin Barra
(415) 874-7391

KnowledgeWorks Foundation
Cincinnati, OH
Emily Hedrick
(513) 929-1132

Linking Education and Economic Development
Sacramento, CA
Kate Fisher
(916) 231-5333 x19

Mapleton Public Schools
Denver, CO
Damon Brown
(303) 853-1040

Middle College National Consortium
Long Island City, NY
Michael Rhoads
(718) 609-2049

National Association of Street Schools
Denver, CO
Denise Lechtenberger
(720) 935-6742

National Council of La Raza
Washington, DC
Delia Pompa
(202) 785-1670

NC New Schools Project
Raleigh, NC
Linda Quarles
(919) 608-1630

New Leaders for New Schools
New York, NY
Kathy Padian
(646) 792-1064

New Technology High School

New Visions for Public Schools
New York, NY
Samira Ahmed
(212) 645-5110

NYC Department of Education
New York, NY
Jeneen Garcia
(212) 374-7696

Partnership for Regional Education Preparation of Kansas City
Kansas City, MO
Susan Wally
(913) 219-8748

Replications, Inc.
New York, NY
Teresa Weber
(212) 714-3543

Rochester City School District
Rocehester, NY
Tom Petronio

San Diego - American Institute for Research
San Diego, CA
Maria Guasp
(619) 491-3133

See Forever Foundation
Washington, DC
David Domenici
(202) 797-8250

Small Schools Project (Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Center)
Seattle, WA
Rick Lear
(206) 812-3156

St. HOPE Public Schools
Sacramento, CA
Adrianne Hall
(916) 649-7900

Talent Development High Schools
Baltimore, MD
Mary Maushard
(410) 516-8810

Technical Assistance & Leadership Center, New Vision
Milwaukee, WI
Abby Schumwinger
(414) 270-7596

The Big Picture Company
Providence, Rhode Island
Sarah Staveley-O'Carroll
(401) 752-2641

The College Board

The Pre-School-College (P-16) Department of the University System of Georgia
Atlanta, GA
Candace Sommer
(404) 463-1756

University of Chicago Urban School Improvement
Chicago, IL
Timothy Knowles
(773) 702-2797

West Clermont Local School District
Cincinnati, OH
Sue Showers
(513) 943-5046

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Princeton, NJ
Robert Baird
(609) 452-7007 x181
Youth Build USA
Somerville, MA
Charles Clark
(617) 741-1288

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