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November 3, 2011

Now is the Time for States to Help High Schools Get the Postsecondary Data They Want

College Summit:

Particularly in rough economic times, states must make hard choices about resources. But there is one targeted investment that mayors, business leaders, educators, and parents are crying out for, and that states have already initiated. It is reports for high schools on their students' postsecondary performance, answering the critical questions: Do students enroll in a postsecondary institution? Do they pass their non-remedial courses? In which academic areas are they thriving, or struggling? These data will enable high schools everywhere in a state to find out how their graduates are doing anywhere in the state. Without this information, high schools are handicapped in their ability to prepare students for college and career.

Indeed, too many students, especially low-income students, are not prepared. In the last decade, Americans have enrolled in college in record numbers. But once there, they are stumbling at alarming rates and at enormous cost to themselves, their families, and their city and state tax bases. By one estimate, the lost personal income for one year of one class of these students is $3.8 billion; the federal government loses $566 million and the states lose $164 million in taxes from this cohort of college students who should have graduated and the numbers multiply each year. 1

Superintendents and principals are desperate to know what went wrong. Business leaders anx- iously hope for employees who are ready for 21st century work. Governors, too, know that above all they need an educated workforce to compete in the national and global marketplace.

States are making progress toward producing the high school postsecondary performance data these stakeholders need. But in the meantime, the stakeholders are restless.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at November 3, 2011 2:19 AM
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