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READY FOR TOMORROW: National Governors Association Calls for a Focus on High Schools to Help All Students Achieve Secondary and Postsecondary Success

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"more attention must be paid to the complexities of high schools and the needs of older adolescents."

A new report by the National Governors Association (NGA) says the nation’s high schools, second-chance institutions, and public colleges and universities are leaving too many young people unprepared to fully contribute to society. As a result, these individuals incur an unacceptable cost to states’ civic, social, and economic well-being. The report, released in conjunction with Jobs for the Future at their Doubling the Numbers conference, asks states to improve their education pipeline-from kindergarten though college-by implementing a state policy framework that is based on research and the most promising examples already underway in states throughout the country.

The report cites research by Anthony Carnevale of the Educational Testing Service as a powerful incentive for states to “plug the leaks in their education pipeline.” According to Carnevale, if current economic and demographic trends continue, the nation will need as many as 14 million more workers with some college education than the country’s education systems will have produced. He also estimates that an expansion of college access among African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic whites could result in earnings improvements that would “certainly narrow income differences and could add as much as $230 billion in national wealth and $80 billion in new tax revenues every year.”

While stressing the importance of No Child Left Behind and its emphasis on academic achievement for all youth, the NGA report emphasizes that “more attention must be paid to the complexities of high schools and the needs of older adolescents.” It argues that state policies must promote “dramatic gains in high school completion and in postsecondary success for all population subgroups.”

The report encourages governors and other policymakers to consider implementing a state policy framework that includes each of the following:

  • a statewide benchmark for postsecondary attainment;
  • an integrated K-16 data system;
  • better alignment between K-12 and higher education expectations and incentives;
  • promotion of more learning options; and
  • a focus on low-performing schools.

These recommendations are a result of what the report calls a decade of experimentation, and build upon the incremental success of governors and other state policymakers. The report includes examples of promising and effective state programs from over 30 different states.

Read the complete report at: http://www.nga.org/cda/files/0310READY.pdf

The Doubling the Numbers conference, hosted by Jobs for the Future, engaged leaders from schools, districts, postsecondary institutions, businesses, states, and national organizations concerned with K-16 education improvement to promote policies that can dramatically improve postsecondary outcomes for underrepresented students-doubling the numbers of students who graduate from high school and attain a postsecondary credential.

More information on the conference, including speakers and other related reports and papers, is available at: http://www.jff.org/jff/DTN.html.

 

NGA Forms Standing Committee on Education: New Panel Hopes to Better Communicate Position on Federal Education Issues

During the closing plenary at the National Governors Association annual meeting, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R)announced the creation of a new NGA standing committee on education. The panel will help focus the NGA’s position on federal education issues and possibly allow the organization to speak with a more unified voice. During their winter meetings in Washington, DC, some Republican governors were hesitant about pushing the White House for more federal funding for education, homeland security, and Medicaid costs.

The new education committee grew out of the human resources committee and will be chaired by Virginia Governor Mark Warner (D), with Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) acting as the vice chairman. In an interview, Governor Warner said that NGA positions have not always been “sharply focused,” and that the NGA does not always have the active participation of all governors. He hopes that the new committee will help change this trend, especially on K-12 education and related topics, according to Education Week.

Warner and Bush were selected for leadership roles with the committee because of the active role on education that they have taken within their states. Warner not only supports a plan to significantly boost education spending in Virginia, he has also developed a “lifetime learning agenda,” which includes plans to help eligible high school seniors complete their high school diploma and concurrently earn a semester’s worth of credits (15 credit hours) that can be used toward a college degree. He has also proposed creating a Virtual Advanced Placement School that will provide high school students with access to a broader range of AP courses via existing distance-learning networks. For his part, Governor Bush has developed a comprehensive school accountability program that issues letter grades to schools based on standardized test scores. He also oversaw the institution of a voucher program in Florida that allows students to transfer out of failing schools.

“This new committee will focus on our children and their future,” Kempthorne said. “As we deal with state budgets and finite resources, we must be assured that we are investing in practices that will provide the best opportunities for our children.”

Membership of the NGA’s Standing Committee on Education:

Chairman: Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) Vice Chairman Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)
Gov. Michael F. Easley (D-NC) Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT)
Gov. Bob Holden (D-MO) Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) Gov. Linda Lingle (R-HI)
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN)
Gov. Tom Vuksack (D-IA) Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA)
Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA) Gov. John G. Rowland (R-CT)
Gov. Felix Camacho (R-Guam)

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.