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On February 25, 2013, Mrs. Bush addressed the audience at the 3rd annual Grad Nation Summit. Before highlighting the work of the George W. Bush Presidential Center's Middle School Matters program, John Bridgeland from Civic Enterprises and Bob Balfanz from Johns Hopkins University released the 2013 Grad Nation Report. This report is the fourth annual update on America’s high school dropout crisis. It shows that for the first time the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. Many schools, districts and states are making significant gains in boosting high school graduation rates and putting more students on a path to college and a successful career. In order to reach the target goal of 90 percent by 2020, the Grad Nation Report, addresses among other factors, the redesign of the middle grades to foster high student engagement and transition support for struggling students in grades 8-10. To accelerate use of evidence-based interventions to keep students on the path to high school graduation in the middle grades by fostering high student engagement like the report states, the George W. Bush Institute’s Middle School Matters, the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and partners are delivering a set of research-based online tools for schools and districts.
This week, photos and interviews were released of Aisha Muhammadi, a young Afghan woman featured on a 2010 Time Magazine cover after her nose and ears were cut off as punishment for running away from an abusive husband. The Grossman Burn Foundation, a key partner of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, sponsored Bibi Aisha's travel to the United States for reconstructive surgery. Mrs. Bush published an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2010 emphasizing the need for continued support for women's rights in Afghanistan. Aisha's story is a sober reminder of the fragility of women's rights in Afghanistan and the high stakes for women in the upcoming political, economic and security transitions.
Also this week, The 4% Growth Project’s Carl Schramm explores the issue of failing cities and what can and cannot be done to revive once thriving urban areas, such as Detroit, Dayton and other areas along the Rust Belt. In Cities’ Messy Futures, Schramm argues that new public buildings, a new business plan or even new industry clusters cannot save these cities: “The Silicon Valley model, tried hundreds of places, has never once taken root elsewhere.” In short, Schramm concludes, “Places that will thrive will do so because they are the home to smart and creative people who could largely care less if they are part of a cluster, the creative class, or a cog in a city’s master plan, much less a soldier in an ideological war. Individuals make the future and cities should strive to provide the basics to make it easier for them to get there.”
The Freedom Collection recommends Foreign Policy Initiative's (FPI) analysis of U.S. foreign assistance spending and why it should remain an integral part of U.S. global strategy. Freedom Collection blog editor Kent Patton notes, "whether the United State Agency for International Development, United States-Middle East Partnership Initiative, Millennium Challenge Corporation, National Endowment for Democracy, or the other foreign assistance programs the United States funds, each plays a critical role, and together represent one of the reasons the United States remains the indispensable power." FPI tracks bipartisan support for our foreign assistance programs under all administrations.
TARIFF-IED: Trade Talk with Matthew Rooney
This week, trade relations between the U.S. and India are continuing to escalate. Earlier this month, the U.S. stopped granting India special trade privileges by taking away the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, and India has responded by enforcing more tariffs of its own. The George W. Bush-SMU Economic Growth Initiative Director Matthew Rooney breaks down the trade conflict: For more information on trade groups and the global economy, visit www.bushcenter.org/scorecard.
How Trade Spreads Holiday Cheer
It is projected that the average American household will spend more than $1,000 during the holidays this year.
What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
While there have been tremendous gains in Afghanistan, lack of security threatens these gains daily.