Did you know that in Kansas:
- Almost 724,000 children (under the age of 18) live in the state;
- About 31 percent of children live in a household with only one parent;
- 59 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math;
- 64 percent of fourth graders are reading below grade level
Did you also know that in Kansas:
- 17 percent of high school students fail to graduate on time.
- 60 percent of all new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require some type of formal education beyond high school.
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs will grow by 17% in between 2008 and 2018, and 91% of STEM jobs will require post-secondary education by 2018.
Developing Necessary Skill Sets
To overcome the challenges of the skills gaps U.S. employers are experiencing, we must train and re-train our current workforce. We must also develop skills in young people to ensure that they enter the workforce better prepared. To be equipped with the knowledge and abilities businesses now require, students must:
- Master Core Academic Content
- Think Critically and Solve Complex Problems
- Work Collaboratively
- Communicate Effectively
- Learn How to Learn
Bring Career Relevance to High School Classrooms
An innovative education approach, often called “smaller learning communities,” integrate career relevance institutions with a rigorous academic curriculum, equipping students with important skills highly valued by employers. This education approach is:
- Comprised of a group of students who take classes together for at least two years and are taught by the same group of teachers.
- Provides a college preparatory curriculum based on a career theme that helps students see relationships and connections between academic subjects and their application in the real world.
- Develops partnerships with employers, the community, and colleges.
One model known as “Career Academies” is being implemented in high schools across the country. Click here for more information about how the “Career Academies”model can be a solution.
Our 2014 Policy Priorities
Education policy at the federal and state levels needs to address the range of knowledge and skills needed for all students to be fully ready for college and careers. Policy opportunities include:
- Skill Development
- Measurable Results
- Professional Development and Teaching Practice
America’s Edge members will be urging their state legislators and Congressional delegation to do the following:
State Policy Priorities:
- Protect funding for early learning programs in Kansas.
Federal Policy Priorities:
1. Protect Access to High Quality Early Care and Education and Increase Quality of Programs by:
- Fighting against cuts, and where possible seek increases, for Head Start, Early Head Start and both the discretionary and mandatory funding streams of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG);
- Seek quality improvements to early learning programs through reauthorization of Head Start/Early Head Start, and CCDBG);
- Maintain funding for Race to the Top, with focus on funding for Early Learning Challenge program and innovative high school programs;
- Seek funding opportunities for innovative high school programs through ESEA and Perkins Reauthorizations (Tier II);
- Protect the current the structure of the CTC
2. Strengthen our nation’s education system through federal education reform to:
- Provide incentives for States to shift away from the traditional K-12 approach towards an educational system that incorporates early learning into the educational structure so kids are ready to learn and succeed when they enter kindergarten;
- Support innovative high school education models, which can help vulnerable youth develop critical skills and be prepared for careers and/or post-secondary education;
- Improve graduation rates measurement and accountability, including supporting both data systems that can serve as an “early warning system” for kids headed towards dropping out, as well as the use of evidence-based programs to keep kids in school and on the path towards graduation;
- Provide the support of K-12 programs which enhance academic outcomes;
- Creates a system of recruitment, professional development and retention for teachers so that more students – especially those most at-risk for adverse academic outcomes– have access to high-quality teachers; and
- Ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, funds are directed toward evidence-based approaches in the highest-need communities.
BUSINESS LEADERS RELEASE NEW REPORT IN KANSAS
On April 10, 2012, business leaders released a new report entitled, “Strengthening Kansas Businesses Through Investments in Early Care and Education.” The report highlights the short-term economic benefits of investing in early learning programs, and shows that for every $1 invested in early care and education in Kansas,$1.68 is generated in total spending within the state.
AMERICA’S EDGE IN THE MEDIA
- April 10, 2012. Bormann, Donna. “Early childhood education pays off for kids and economy, study says.” Kansas City Star.
- April 9, 2012. Hawley, Brenna. “Early child care, education investments pay off for Kansas businesses, report says.” Kansas Business Journal.
- March 2, 2012. Smith, Janice Suzanne. “Early education pays off for business, state.” Wichita Eagle.
*For more information, please contact America’s Edge National Director, Susan Gates.
Phone: (202) 408-9284