Earlier this week, America’s Promise Alliance launched a new phase in their Dropout Prevention Campaign in Washington D.C. with President Obama and Gen. Colin Powell. Grad Nation is “a 10-year campaign to mobilize the nation as never before to reverse the dropout crisis and enable our children to be prepared for success in college, work and life.” The campaign aims to ensure that 90 percent of today’s fourth graders graduate high school on time.

The Alliance will focus its work in communities with the nation’s 2,000 lowest performing high schools. These schools account for approximately half of all high school dropouts. At yesterday’s kickoff, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan explained that dropout rates are directly connected to our nation’s economic success.

“On average, each high school dropout is estimated to cost the taxpayers over $292,000 in lost tax revenue, government support, and incarceration costs. In today’s job market, you cannot drop out of high school anymore and land a decent job. All too often, dropping out of school is an apprenticeship for prison, not for success in the workplace.”

The Alliance believes this program will strengthen our schools so the United States can once again become the world’s leader in college graduates.

To help measure and understand student success, America’s Promise Alliance has also partnered with Gallup to create the Gallup Student Poll. The tool is “dedicated to measuring the hope, engagement, and well-being of America’s students.”

Arizona hosts an annual Youth Dropout Prevention Summit in partnership with America’s Promise and the Governor’s Office. This year’s conference attracted approximately 200 youth and individuals interested in increasing student graduation rates.