November 24, 2009 Yuma, AZ -- Congressman Raul Grijalva visited the desert southwest Tuesday to talk to students about seeking higher education. He addressed dozens of Yuma High School students enrolled in the school's AVID and Gear Up programs.
"One of the good things about talking to students is it's unfiltered. They don't play games. They get right to the point. They're not worried about being correct," says Grijalva.
Students had some frank questions about the quality of education in Arizona-- a state ranking 49th in spending per student. Grijalva has co-sponsored a bill to increase education funding giving schools the resources to identify potential drop-out students.
"Part of the bill which is different from any other piece of legislation is the concentration that it puts on middle schools. Sixty-percent of the drop-outs can be identified in the middle schools so if we want to save middle schools, we have to put some time into it."
The Graduation for All Act would provide $2 billion dollars in competitive grant money for low-performing high schools and middle schools.
"It's basically a commitment-- commitment to resources and attention to teachers and parents and primarily to students that we need to have a goal, and the goal should be graduation for all."
According to stats on Grijalva's website, 7,000 students drop out of high school every day. Most of them come from a relatively small number of schools coining the term "drop out factories."