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GE Foundation Invests $100 Million to Get More Students 'College Bound'

Published 09-26-05

Submitted by General Electric Company

Fairfield, Conn. - The GE Foundation today dramatically expanded its successful 'College Bound' program, announcing a five-year, $100 million investment to help increase the number of students in targeted U.S. school districts who go on to college. The announcement was made in Louisville, Kentucky, where GE Foundation President Bob Corcoran presented Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) with a $25 million grant - the largest non-governmental grant ever received by the district. The four-year grant to JCPS will support a comprehensive effort to improve student achievement scores in math and science, close achievement gaps, and increase the number of students entering college.

"The world becomes more competitive, every day," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. The need to strengthen education has never been more urgent, especially for disadvantaged and under-represented youth. The College Bound District Program is designed to help fill that need - using research to identify challenges, empower teachers, enrich curriculums and elevate solutions."

The GE Foundation created the College Bound program in 1989, to increase college-going rates at more than 20 high schools. The Program's district focus launched today seeks to achieve systemic change and student achievement in Louisville's Jefferson County Public Schools, and up to four other districts over the next five years. The strategy starts with a collaboration between the Board of Education, Teacher's Association, and superintendent; and components include constituency engagement, management capacity building, a common math and science curriculum, professional development and in-depth evaluation of the program. In addition, GE executives will champion the project in each community and GE Volunteers will bring their skills and professional capacity into the schools.

"This generous College Bound grant from the GE Foundation will enable the community to refine our focus on student achievement," said Dr. Stephen Daeschner, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent. "In this global economy, the U.S. falls behind other industrialized countries in math and science. This grant will support our district, schools and community to prepare our students for academic success."

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is made up of 150 schools, 97,000 students and 5,400 teachers. The district's college-going rate in 2004 was 69%. Only 38% of the students scored at proficient or above in math and 37% of the students scored at proficient or above in science. With this grant, JCPS is creating a "district implementation team" - comprised of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, District staff and broad-based community groups - charged with implementing standarized curriculums and using research to drive important decisions.

Corcoran said, "College Bound is a comprehensive effort aimed at strengthening our school systems, and improving math and science so that our students can compete effectively in a global economy. A district-wide collaboration coupled with GE's resources and leadership involvement multiplies the impact."

The GE Foundation awarded the American Institutes for Research (AIR) nearly $2 million to support rigorous evaluation of the College Bound District Program and to document and disseminate findings nationally. AIR will evaluate the impact of each of the district's programs and the impact of the program as a whole on college-readiness and college-going.

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The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to strengthen educational access, equity, and quality for disadvantaged youth globally; and supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2004, the GE Family contributed more than $150 million to community and educational programs, including $52 million from the GE Foundation. For information, visit www.gefoundation.com.

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General Electric Company

GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified technology and financial services company. GE operates in more than 150 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. GE works on things that matter. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE's approach to corporate citizenship and to business are driven by a common understanding of the role we can play….the best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest global challenges.

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