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Preparing Students for College and Career: Linked Learning in California

Mar 05, 2010

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To prepare students for success in life, the twenty-first-century American high school needs to shift its focus from preparing for college or career to achieving college and career readiness for every student. One of the most comprehensive efforts is the Linked Learning initiative in California (formerly known as “multiple pathways”), a reform model aimed at improving high schools by connecting strong academics, demanding technical education and real-world experience in a wide range of fields, such as engineering, arts and media, biomedicine and health. It provides multiyear programs of study that are rigorous, relevant, and directly connected to regional and state economic needs. By setting up students for success in the full array of options after high school, Linked Learning seeks to bridge the college-career divide that has long characterized the American education system. This brief details the Linked Learning movement in California, developed in response to poor and inequitable student outcomes, as it continues to garner interest and develop a growing base of evidence. The discussion lays out the rationale for the approach and the implications of this California-based effort for stakeholders seeking to address the national dropout crisis.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.