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Graduate Maryland, Advocates for Children and Youth’s initiative to increase graduation rates, was launched recently with a kick-off event. The initiative was developed in response to Maryland’s dropout rates and the recent passage of the new Compulsory School Age (CSA) law which increased the age for mandatory attendance from 16 to 18 years old.

The kick-off event, held in May, was attended by state and local officials, school administrators, teachers, students, parents, researchers and support service providers who were all concerned about how to decrease the dropout rate and get more students to get their high school certification or complete requirements for the General Education Development (GED) program.

To help participants understand the scope of the challenge in Maryland, an infographic was distributed. Also participants were given the Compulsory School Age Law FAQs.

Before the kick-off event started, several attendees were asked to share their views. Here are some excerpts below.

You TubeCatherine E. Pugh, Maryland State Senator
You TubeSonia Socha, Executive Director of South Baltimore Learning Center
You TubeDr. Marvin Cheatham, Sr., former Political Action Chair, MD State Conference of NAACP Branches