High Schools and Career Readiness: Strengthening the Pipeline to the Middle Class

High Schools and Career Readiness:
Strengthening the Pipeline to the Middle Class

"...I'm announcing a new challenge to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy... We'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math."

— President Barack Obama, February 12, 2013

High School Disengagement: The 2012 Gallup Student Poll asked students how involved and enthusiastic they feel about school. Nearly eight in 10 elementary students reported high engagement. By high school, only half that many did.

For too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to college and career success. That's why the Obama administration has laid out plans to redesign high schools and career and technical education (CTE), to ensure that young people graduate with the skills and abilities that are aligned with the needs of a global economy.

The need

Preparing young adults for success requires a different educational experience than it did even a generation ago. Yet far too many of America's students are not meaningfully engaged or motivated in their academic experience while in high school.

Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers—especially in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Moreover, many of America's international competitors offer students a more rigorous and relevant education in their middle and high school years. Our schools must do more to engage, prepare, and inspire college- and career-ready students, and our CTE programs must be better aligned to employer and postsecondary needs.

The goal

President Obama has set two ambitious goals: that all adult Americans pursue at least one year of higher education or career training, and that America regain its role as the world leader in the college completion. The President's plan to reinvent high schools and strengthen federal CTE programs will support this goal.

The plan

The President's plan would invest in programs that would bring major changes to the American high school experience and significantly strengthen CTE. [expand/collapse]


The high school redesign proposal is inspired, in part, by existing model high schools, including the following: [expand/collapse]

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