High School Race to the Top: 10 Essential Elements for High School Reform and College and Career Ready Success

During his fifth State of the Union address, President Obama outlined his vision for his second term. Under the theme of economic recovery, the President proposed a range of initiatives, spanning from fiscal relief to energy independence. Central to this list was a renewed commitment to education reform with an emphasis on pre-K expansion, college affordability, career and technical education reform, and the establishment of a new effort to reform America’s high schools modeled after the Administration’s Race to the Top initiative.

Lillian Pace outlines 10 essential elements of a successful High School RttTKnowledgeWorks supports the creation of a Race to the Top for America’s high schools. Despite significant improvements in graduation rates in recent years, the number of graduating students who place into remedial coursework in postsecondary education is at a record high with 51.7 percent of community college students and 19.9 percent of students enrolled in four year institutions assigned to remediation.  The problem repeats itself in our workforce where more than 3.5 million jobs remain unfilled despite 18 million Americans looking for work. According to estimates from the Chamber of Commerce, the United States will have up to seven million unfilled jobs by the end of the decade, many of which will fall in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As a social enterprise with more than a decade of experience in high school reform, KnowledgeWorks knows what a successful high school looks like. High School Race to the Top: 10 Essential Elements for High School Reform and College and Career Ready Success combines knowledge from our recent educational futures publication, Forecast 3.0, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem,and the experience of our subsidiary organizations who serve on the front lines of high school reform to recommend 10 Essential Elements for a High School Race to the Top competition. Together, these elements represent a new vision for education that puts students at the center, empowering them to take charge of their high school, college, and career success.

In addition to the 10 Essential Elements, our report includes the following resources:

  • Policy recommendations for each element including complete legislative specifications for a High School Race to the Top program.
  • A competitive preference priority for districts that apply in consortia to scale impactful reform strategies.
  • A summary chart of the 10 essential elements that maps each element to insights from KnowledgeWorks’ forecast.

Lillian Pace

Written by: Lillian Pace

Lillian Pace is the Senior Director of National Policy with KnowledgeWorks.

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