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.
KnowledgeWorks 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.