For America's children and youth today, the American Dream is both reachable and at risk. That reality demands our immediate and continuous attention.
Twenty years ago, all the living presidents gathered in Philadelphia to focus the nation on young people's needs and call for a commitment from each of us to make good on the promise of opportunity for every child in America. Since that moment, when America's Promise emerged to convene a broad drive to improve the lives of young people, this has been our cause.
Over the past two decades, we have witnessed what Americans can accomplish when we make common cause on behalf of the children who represent our common future. We have seen promises kept and dramatic gains that give us hope.
From the Harlem Children's Zone to East Lake in Atlanta to the work of Say Yes to Education in Buffalo, we have seen communities transformed by collaborative effort. Graduation rates have steadily risen to the highest level in our history. More students of color are attending college. Teen pregnancy rates, like teen alcohol and drug abuse, have sharply declined.
And yet, amid real progress we must also confront a hard truth. For too many young people, daily reality can seem like a conspiracy to destroy their dreams.
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