ICYMI: Arntzen wants to derail successful, privately-funded graduation program

HELENA -- Just two weeks into her job as Superintendent of Montana's Public Schools, Republican Elsie Arntzen is already failing to do her job.

Arntzen has decided to phase out the successful, privately-funded Graduation Matters Montana program established by the Office of Public Instruction in 2010.

Since its implementation the grant-funded program started through the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is credited with increasing on-time graduation rates from 80 to 86 percent, dropout rates have lowered from 5 to 3.4 percent and the dropout rate of American Indian students has dropped by more than 30 percent. 

More than $1.3 million has been funneled from OPI into 58 Montana communities to create community-based solutions for local schools, again, based on support from Montana businesses and foundations.

"Graduation Matters Montana costs taxpayers nothing yet they get to reap the benefits of a well-educated, better-trained workforce," said Kristen Cates, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. "Elsie Arntzen's record as a legislator shows she had no interest in supporting public education. Now as Superintendent she's clearly demonstrating she has no interest in common sense solutions that benefit all Montana students and all Montana families."


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