80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, nearly 2,000 high schools are considered ‘dropout factories,’ where 40 percent or more of the freshman class fail to graduate with their fellow students in their senior year; and

WHEREAS, 38 percent of African American students and 33 percent of Latino students attend ‘dropout factories’; and

WHEREAS, these ‘dropout factories’ alone account for 51 percent of the nation’s dropouts; and

WHEREAS, only 27 percent of the nation’s “new graduates” will likely go on to earn a college credential or degree. Specifically, 14 percent will earn a vocational certificate, 9 percent will earn a two-year degree, and only 4 percent will earn a four-year college degree; and

WHEREAS, the lowest-performing schools, across all grade levels, are typically found in the most disadvantaged communities; and

WHEREAS, students in these communities are often forced to attend the lowest-performing schools simply because of their zip code, thereby impacting their prospects for a high quality education; and

WHEREAS, parents of children stuck in failing schools often feel powerless and ill-equipped to give their children a better education; and

WHEREAS, parents often have limited options for improving their child’s education and have few, if any, tools to change a failing school; and

WHEREAS, too many districts continue to turn a blind eye toward some of the worst performing schools that have been underperforming for years, preventing transformative change from taking place;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports empowering parents with information and tools to make the best decisions for their children and to ensure that no child is trapped in a failing school; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the creation of ‘parent trigger’ policy initiatives that include:

  • Empowering parents with information about their child’s school’s performance so they can make informed decisions about their educational options.

  • Empowering a majority of parents whose children attend one of the state’s persistently lowest-achieving schools to sign a petition to turnaround that school.

  • Allowing parents to choose from one of at least four intervention options to improve their child’s school: turnaround, restart, school closure, or transformation.

  • Establishing clear guidelines for the petition process and format, and ensuring parents’ privacy and protection from harassment and intimidation from those opposed to the petition.

  • Requiring districts to implement the parent-selected intervention option within a specified time period.

  • Enabling parents to appeal to state officials if the local district fails to act.