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State Policy Center: College and Career Pathways

Today’s high school students are preparing for a future that would previously have been considered science fiction. The options todays students have for where they work, how they spend their time, and how they live their daily lives will only continue to change over the coming decades. They already navigate their lives in a manner that is more technologically sophisticated and more globally connected than previous generations would have ever dreamed. In a world where information is readily accessible at their fingertips, students are increasingly questioning the systems they have inherited–including our education system – and their role within them. Students are concerned that the skills they are learning in both K-12 and postsecondary education are not connected to their future career prospects, and they have legitimate fears about the cost of postsecondary education in the face of ongoing economic challenges. While they have more insight into unique and diverse career fields, such as climate science and sustainability, then ever before, they still lack personalized guidance in how to select and build towards their passions and goals.

College and career pathways are not new concepts, but they have gained increasing attention in recent years as schools, districts, and education systems have sought to build less siloed and more cohesive systems that follow students as lifelong learners. These pathways’ systems offer different educational models that are as unique as each individual state, and must be expanded to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to benefit. Additionally, the work on college and career pathways comes in various forms. Major efforts can be made to implement large, impactful systems, such as new funding streams to realign high school and higher education.  Moderate policy changes that can have an outsized impact for learners are also necessary, such as data transparency and better credit transfer.  

All4Ed offers a set of model policies to assist lawmakers and advocates in engaging in this critical work.

Click here to read more.

Model Policy 1: Establishing flexible funding streams for integrated college and career pathways

Students need access to integrated pathways that offer work-based learning and postsecondary, credit-bearing courses in high school. States can open up flexible funding streams to support the creation and growth of these important programs.

Click HERE to learn more.

Model Policy 2: Building and sustaining data collection and transparency as strong fiscal stewards of taxpayer spending

Data is critical to develop, sustain, and refine education programs that truly work for all students. While many states have methods of collecting education data, it is often siloed (for example, separate agencies with separate data systems for early learning, K-12, and higher education and career), not publicly available, difficult to access and understand, and/or incomplete.

Click HERE to learn more.

Model Policy 3: Ensuring credit transfer to meet the promise of early college opportunities

While many states offer opportunities for high school students to earn postsecondary credit before graduation, too many of these policies do not ensure meaningful credit transfer towards a student’s future degree or educational pathway.

Click HERE to learn more.

Featured Resources

How Oakland School District Persuaded Voters to Raise Taxes to Support College and Career Readiness – Twice

Senator Parent interview

All4Ed interviewed the Senator about her work in education policy, including her support for data transparency for Georgia’s dual enrollment program, and her continued bipartisan work to move legislation in the Georgia Senate.

What are College and Career Pathways? 

There has never been a better time to enter the workplace with the right skills, and never a worse time to have the wrong skills. That’s why high schools are working to make sure students are prepared with both the academics and the job skills they need to be successful after graduation.

Additional Resources

All4Ed: Building A Fast Track to College
All4Ed: College and Career Pathways
College and Career Readiness Close-Up