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Pharmacist shortage in mind, NACDS backs graduation bill

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. A new move in Congress to improve educational opportunities in underperforming schools has drawn the support of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson voiced support for the Graduation Promise Act in a letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The new bill calls for a state-led, comprehensive system for improving high schools and making them more accountable for performance standards.

To do so, the legislation would mandate a partnership among federal, state and local agencies to identify low-performing high schools and provide them with the resources to graduate students with skills for the workforce of tomorrow.

“This legislation would benefit the community pharmacy industry led by NACDS,” Anderson told Kennedy and Enzi. “Pharmacists are among the most highly regarded professionals, and still, 15 percent of Americans live in states where it is difficult to fill open positions for pharmacists.

“By strengthening our education system and preparing high school students for the workforce, the Graduation Promise Act will help the community pharmacy industry be better equipped to continue serving our communities,” Anderson wrote.

NACDS is urging the committee leaders to include the legislation in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act now under consideration.

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