These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

Preparing high school students to do more than just graduate

Originally posted on Democrats for Education Reform, June 6, 2012. Copyright ©
Read here. Written by Van Schoales.

It’s that magical time of the year when school comes to a close and high school graduates step out onto the wonderful and scary stage of adulthood to start careers, enter college, and begin new, independent phases of their lives. High school graduation is a heady mix of joy, celebration and hope, though not without a dose of anxiety. This is especially true for today’s graduates, as they prepare to enter a world with a challenging job market and rising college costs.

As graduation ceremonies fade, the good news today is that Denver – much like Chicago, New York and many other cities engaged in education reform – has seen increases in both high school graduation and college participation rates. While this is a cause for celebration, much like graduation itself, there is accompanying anxiety. This is because alongside the increasing number of students graduating from high school and heading to college are signs that these accomplishments – if not matched by academic achievement – may be hollow.

A recent report from Complete College America gives a detailed picture of Colorado’s challenge. By 2020, 70% of jobs will require a career certificate or college degree. However, just 6% of students graduate in four years, and less than a third graduate in eight years. “For too many students” the report emphasizes, “the path through college ends with no degree – and often lots of debt.”

The high school graduation rate in Denver has grown from 46% four years ago to over 56% today, while at least 35% of Denver’s graduates are attending higher education institutions in Colorado (and more students go to schools in other states). Unfortunately, college remediation rates have followed a similar trend by increasing from 46% in 2006 to 59% now for Denver graduates attending public colleges and universities in Colorado.

Of the ten high schools in Colorado with the highest remediation rates, four are from Denver. They run a staggeringly high 90% remediation rate for West High School, and 73% for North High School. It’s increasingly clear that the act of graduating high school does not equate to having the college and career skills needed to succeed. …

To read the full blog post on the Democrats for Education Reform website click here