by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis
Students, educators and political leaders gathered at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence, backing a new bill in Congress.
If it passes, more help for kids failing reading and math could result.
School Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi said, "The Providence Afterschool Alliance, for example, has been partnering with our teachers to really hands on and engaging learning opportunities that reinforce the classroom work."
Last year Congress gave $530 million dollars for education improvements nationwide.
But most of that money goes to elementary and high schools.
This bill would give middle schools more funding, hoping to prevent problems.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said, "Sexual activity, gang activity, criminal activity, drugs activity. Those sorts of things are now beginning to appear pretty constantly in middle schools."
ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "One thing the program will target is truancy. After all, if kids start skipping classes in middle school, chances are they won't make it in high school."
The high school drop out rate in Rhode Island now stands at 5 percent.
The big question is, can Congress afford hundreds of millions to fund this bill.
Sen. Jack Reed (d-RI) said, "Well this has to be looked at this as an investment. I mean if we can't give good educational quality in the middle school years, or that turning point, we're going to have much more costs in the future.."
Right now in Providence only 66 percent of high school students ever graduate.