President Barack Obama outlined a broad vision for education reform in his fifth State of the Union address, including a commitment to create a new high school reform competition modeled after his signature education initiative – Race to the Top. This competition would encourage schools to partner with colleges and employers to ensure America’s high school graduates have the skills to succeed in an increasingly complex workplace.
With college remediation rates at record highs and the high-tech skills gap widening, KnowledgeWorks believes the nation’s high schools could benefit significantly from this type of competition.
A High School Race to the Top competition must challenge the current education system by empowering education stakeholders to break through traditional barriers to learning. In order to achieve this type of systemic change, KnowledgeWorks believes a new high school competition must include all of our 10 Essential Elements for high school reform. These elements are informed by KnowledgeWorks’ groundbreaking research on the future of learning as reflected in our third forecast, Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem (Forecast 3.0) and the experience of our subsidiary organizations who serve on the front lines of high school reform.
This paper provides an overview of the 10 Essential Elements for high school reform as well as real-world examples from schools and educators working to implement these innovative concepts. KnowledgeWorks’ has also included recommended legislative language at the conclusion of this paper to guide policymakers as they begin to shape the High School Race to the Top proposal.