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PRESS RELEASE: New House Bill Propels Community Schools Movement

07/27/11

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 27, 2011

                      Contact: Shital C. Shah
Phone: 202-822-8405, x100
Email: shahs@iel.org


New House Bill Propels Community School Movement

(Washington, DC) – The Coalition for Community Schools applauds Representative Judy Chu (D-CA, 32nd District) and Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA, 2nd District) on their introduction of the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act, H.R. 2637. This bill and its companion bill (S. 426), already introduced in the Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), authorizes grants to incentivize partnerships between schools, parents, business leaders, higher education institutions, and community-based organizations in order to ensure the success of our nation’s youth.

Congresswoman Chu notes, "Many students face insurmountable learning obstacles through no fault of their own. If we don't address the obstacles outside school walls, we'll never turnaround what goes on within them. We need to do a better job of helping students with wraparound services like tutoring, extending learning services, health care and social support. When students are provided the right kinds of support and opportunities to help them learn, nothing can stop them.   The DIPLOMA Act ensures that America’s next Nobel Prize laureate can come from any background or community." Click here to watch Rep. Chu as she re- introduces DIPLOMA!

DIPLOMA reflects the best principles of successful community schools across the nation. It offers a comprehensive results framework, recognizing the multiple factors -- both academic and non-academic -- that affect student success.  It strengthens Federal language in ARRA and Title I by encouraging the use of results-focused partnerships to drive the work of schools and their partners – such that they are prepared for college, careers, and citizenship. 

Congressman Loebsack underscores, "When children have to deal with issues such as hunger, instability at home and poor nutrition outside of school, it makes it even more difficult for them to receive a good education while in school. As someone who grew up in poverty, I know what it is like to face hardships outside the classroom, and I want to ensure kids can break through the barriers that will allow them to learn."

Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools and President of the Institute for Educational Leadership, notes that "Our communities have a major role to play in the education of our children.  The DIPLOMA Act affirms that role and responsibility.  It provides a clear partnership framework and the incentives for schools and communities to work together to help students succeed.  This legislation will help bring to scale effective community schools strategies in diverse places such as Cincinnati, Tulsa, Nashville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Portland (OR);  and support efforts waiting to happen across the country."   

The Coalition and its partners recognize that there is an inextricable link between strong schools and strong communities. We are committed to working with Congress to ensure the implementation of DIPLOMA.

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The Coalition for Community Schools is an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K-16, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, higher education institutions, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. The Coalition advocates for community schools as the vehicle for strengthening schools, families and communities so that together they can improve student learning.  It is a program of the Institute for Educational Leadership.



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