Stakeholders differ on college and career readiness

A large majority of students and executives believe few career opportunities will exist for those without some postsecondary education.

A new report reveals that while teachers, parents, students, and executives believe that college and career readiness is essential to students’ post-high school success, the groups rate this differently in terms of importance.

As a group, 73 percent of parents say the goal “must be accomplished as one of the highest priorities in education,” in contrast to 54 percent of teachers and 48 percent of executives.

When it comes to students, most agree with parents on the importance of this goal. Eighty-four percent of middle and high school students believe it is absolutely essential or very important that all students graduate from high school ready for college and a career, while only 16 percent say that it is somewhat important or not at all important.

For more on college and career readiness, see:

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Eighty-five percent of teachers said they believe that “graduating each and every student from high school ready for college and a career” is a priority in education today, but they did not necessarily place that as their highest priority.

Teacher support for college and career readiness for all students is strongest among those in schools that are furthest from this goal, the report reveals. Teachers in schools that often struggle with high dropout rates and have fewer students advancing to college (such as those in schools with high proportions of low-income students or in urban areas) believe more strongly that graduating all students to be college and career ready is of paramount importance.

Teachers in both urban (57 percent) and rural (57 percent) schools are more likely than teachers in suburban schools (48 percent) to consider graduating all students to be college and career ready to be one of the highest priorities in education. New teachers with five years of experience of fewer—who are typically younger and more likely to be recent college graduates themselves—are more likely than those with more experience to say that graduating all students to be college and career ready must be done (64 percent, vs. 52 percent of those with  six to 20 years of experience and 49 percent of those with more than 20 years of experience).

The survey also examines the attitudes of parents, teachers, and executives toward some common education reform proposals, including several that are potential elements of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). President Obama has said he wants to work with Congress to reauthorize ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind, in 2011.

These include reforms such as measuring teacher effectiveness, increasing the ability of schools to remove teachers not serving students well, redesigning the school day and calendar, expanding public school choice, and strengthening assistance for diverse learners.

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