Sen Obama Calls For Comprehensive Effort to Address Latino Dropout Rate

LOS ANGELES, CA - - At a townhall meeting held at the East Los Angeles high school on which the movie “Stand and Deliver,” was based, Barack Obama today announced that he will introduce a middle school investment bill that will help reduce the Latino dropout rate. Obama also discussed his plan to help relieve the grip poverty has on our cities.

Latinos are dropping out of school more than any other group of Americans. Obama’s bill invests in proven strategies to support middle school students because research shows that the academic problems that lead a high school student to drop out often begin in middle school. His bill also awards grants to help states and districts improve graduation rates. In addition, Obama supports efforts to address the dropout crisis by strengthening the role of non-profits and community-based organizations and by enhancing collaboration among parents, state and district leaders, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

“When I’m President, we’ll give our kids everything they need to have a fighting chance,” said Obama. “Let’s not pass a law called No Child Left Behind and then leave the money behind. Let’s rebuild our crumbling schools and recruit an army of new teachers because what makes the most difference in any child’s education is the person standing at the front of the classroom. And we also have to make sure that every child who wants to learn English has the resources to learn English. And that any child who comes here and studies here and does well in school has the same chance to attend a public college as anyone else.”

Obama proposed expanding the Harlem Children’s Zone, which treats poverty as an all-encompassing problem that must be addressed at all levels from education to counseling to health care, to twenty cities nationwide.

Obama, who sponsored the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAMAct) in Illinois, also addressed the consequences of Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of the DREAM Act. “Instead of driving thousands of children who were on the right path into the shadows, we need to give those who play by the rules the opportunity to succeed,” he stated.

Obama’s remarks, as prepared for delivery <- click Here