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Rep. Chu Introduces DIPLOMA Act to Promote Academic and Community Services in Public Schools

November 30, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced H.R. 7204, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act. The DIPLOMA Act would provide federal grants to states to support community schools and develop a comprehensive child and youth strategy. States would award subgrants to local consortia, in which a school works with at least one community partner. Community partners can be public or private organizations like local governments or institutions of higher education, local nonprofits or child and youth-serving organizations, or even local businesses or foundations. A community School Consortium receiving grant funds could use them to increase support for early childhood education, early reading programs, child care, home visiting, and parental education, develop programs for students and parents to learn together, offer multiple routes to a high school diploma, support mentoring, and more. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“As a former teacher, I know that a good education is the best path to future success. But too many students are too distracted by hunger or a difficult home life. Other parents who do want to take an active role in their child’s schooling need education themselves. That is what this  bill is meant to address. We trust our public schools to educate and prepare our future leaders, but they do not exist on an island, they are a part of our community, and therefore, both community and school stand to gain from working together. That is why I introduced this bill, to promote community investment in our students. Professionals, universities, non-profits and more have so much to offer students and parents alike, but often the resources are not there to bring them together. This bill not only encourages those partnerships, but provides the grant funding necessary to make them successful.”

The DIPLOMA Act is cosponsored by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Grace Meng (NY-06), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11). It is supported by: America’s Promise Alliance, Coalition for Community Schools, First Focus Campaign for Children, Healthy Schools Campaign, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Summer Learning Association, Public Education for Kids, Public Advocacy for Kids, Rural School and Community Trust, School-Based Health Alliance, and School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA). Leaders of endorsing groups issued the following statements:

“At its core, this legislation creates unity for every child’s opportunity,” said Jose Munoz, Director, Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership. “Unity in purpose, in results, in alignment of programs and funding, and in belief in the dignity and potential of every child. We applaud the DIPLOMA Act for recognizing the equity role the federal government has to help states and districts invest in the infrastructure necessary to catalyze dynamic collaboration between schools and communities; and among grassroots and grasstops leaders to pursue boldly a set of results we seek for all of our children. We look forward to standing as a Coalition of many partners to advocate for this important legislation in the coming weeks and months.”

“Children are our country’s future economic, political, and social leaders, and each child deserves an equal opportunity to maximize their potential through access to quality education,” said Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus Campaign for Children. “We applaud the DIPLOMA Act for utilizing the evidence-based strategy of partnerships between schools and communities to ensure that students from low-income families or underperforming schools have the support system they need to succeed. Forming these connections have proven to decrease suspension and absentee rates, increase graduation rates, improve emotional health, strengthen access to pre-school, and lower dropout rates, among other important benefits.  A child’s education is one of the most important investments we can make as a country, and the DIPLOMA Act would be an important contribution to that investment.”

“The DIPLOMA Act (Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities That Motivate Achievement) is a critical step in providing whole child services and expanding opportunities for students community wide,” said Arnold F. Fege, President, Public Advocacy for Kids, Washington, DC. “While DIPLOMA promotes the public school as the center of the community, by integrating services and coordinating essential supports, the community becomes an equal partner in assuring that everyone ‘owns’ the responsibility for student success. As student and family demographics change, so must the school in organizing ways for education, nutrition, health, juvenile justice, counseling, social services, homelessness, adoption assistance and summer programs to work in coordination and on behalf of the whole child.  Public Advocacy for Kids thanks Rep. Judy Chu for introducing this act, and providing incentives for local school districts and communities to create more seamless opportunities for every child based on need and accountability.”  

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