Everyone at the Alliance has one goal,
to make every child a graduate.
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July’s Brown vs. Board Challenge: High School Strategies for Postsecondary Success

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Are high schools preparing students adequately for the additional education they will need after graduating to compete for good-paying jobs?

In July, our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign will examine high school reform strategies that lead to success in postsecondary education for ALL students—the high performers and the students in need of additional support.

Fast Facts: Are High School Graduates Ready for College?

  • Only 38 percent of 2018 high school graduates were considered college ready in three of ACT’s four core subject areas (English, math, reading, and science).
  • Among African American students, only 11 percent reached that benchmark.

Once students reach college…

  • More than one-third of all first-year college students take some type of remedial course work.
  • At four-year public colleges, 66 percent of African American students and 52.6 percent of Latinx students require remedial course work.

Some students are prepared for college in high school.

  • 27 percent of high school students are academically ready at the end of eleventh grade to start college-level coursework.
  • One-third of these students come from low-income families, and 30 percent are students of color.


Interventions That Support High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness

This series of resources to help school leaders create next-generation high schools and bolster the college and career readiness of all students, with a focus on accelerating success for traditionally underserved students.

Building a Fast Track to College

This new report, by Education Reform Now and the Alliance for Excellent Education, finds that the 12 in K-12 education may be unnecessary for nearly a quarter of high school students. It introduces two accelerated pathways for college-ready juniors that would provide meaningful access to full-time, college-level coursework, while generating savings for students, families, and states. The report notes that almost 850,000 high school juniors currently qualify for one of these “Fast Track” pathways, 30 percent of whom come from low-income families.

How Federal Funding Helps High School Students Get a Jump on College

Programs such as dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school that allow students to complete college-level course work during high school are effective and increasingly popular models for improving student access, affordability, and completion of college. Such programs are particularly important for and effective at improving outcomes for students from low-income families and students of color.

Meet Paola and Paul

Paola is a first-generation Guatemalan who was raised in a single-family household in Los Angeles. Paul Hirsh is the principal of STEM Academy in Hollywood, California. In the video linked below, you’ll learn how the STEM Academy’s Linked Learning program provided Paola with a mentorship program with Kaiser Permanente that gave her real-world experience in medicine and prepared her to succeed at UCLA. You’ll also hear how the school’s transformation under Linked Learning meant Paul could pivot from seeking additional funding for more security guards to using that money for lab equipment.

IB: Boosting High School Graduation Rates and Postsecondary Success

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program, an advanced course of study that spans four high school years, can boost high school graduation rates for students from low-income families, along with a host of other positive outcomes. IB graduates say the program prepares them well for postsecondary studies and helps them develop time-management and critical-thinking skills. More than 900 U.S. high schools have chosen to offer the IB Diploma Program, several of which are Title I schools serving high percentages of students from low-income families.

In the webinar linked below, John Young, head of research at IB, and Janice Wells, head of school at South Shore International College Prep in Chicago, discuss the IB program’s impact on Title I schools and opportunities to expand IB under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

PREPARE Students for Postsecondary

More than one-third of all first-year college students take some type of remedial course work. For historically underserved students, this number can be much higher. At four-year public colleges, two-thirds of African American students and over one-half of Latinx students require remedial course work. While remedial education strives to help students attain the skills they need to succeed in college, it also can deter completion by adding to the cost and time necessary to earn a degree.

The Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), aims to reduce the need for students to take remedial courses in college by more closely aligning high school education with the expectations of postsecondary education.

Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.