Study: High Schools Overlook Community College-Bound Students

A recent report by the Southern Regional Education Board says many high schools are focusing their academic and guidance programs on the minority of students planning to attend four-year colleges, while failing to serve the majority of students preparing to go to community colleges, technical schools or the workplace.

The report, Lost in Transition: Building a Better Path from School to College and Careers, says this lack of attention is leading a sizeable number of students to drop out of high school, giving them a higher probability of being forced to settle for low-wage jobs or unemployment. The report also addresses the undermining economic effect these students will have on the country if they aren’t properly prepared for life after high school.

“New collaborations among our K-12 schools and colleges can help students get ready for more satisfying lives and careers,” said Gene Bottoms, senior vice president of SREB. “The economic security of our states and nation depends on it.”

The report recommends specific measures that states can take to encourage all students to pursue a curriculum that will prepare them for college and the work force. One such measure is introducing job shadowing and internships into the high school curriculum to excite students about the opportunities available to them after graduation. The report also recommends that schools design a curriculum that merges rigorous academic coursework with a series of career/technical courses in high-demand, high-wage fields that meet college and career readiness criteria.

“Collaborations between high schools and colleges and technical schools are the key,” said Bottoms. “When school districts and community colleges work in partnership, they can develop policies and strategies that support more students and motivate them to complete their studies.”

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