Tough Choices or Tough Times
-- a new report by the Commission of the Skills of the American Workforce -- holds huge implications for the transition from high school to postsecondary education.
The bipartisan Commission of twenty-six members includes two former Secretaries of the U.S. Dept. of Labor, a former Governor, New York City Mayor Bloomberg, and other notables. Its main concern is the strong growth of highly skilled workers at low wages in other nations.
The report argues that strong growth in cheap labor elsewhere, poses a radically new challenge to American college skill levels and college preparation
. The report calls for a high stakes national exam at age sixteen in order to impel students to make proper choices regarding postsecondary programs or colleges.
Also, the report recommends better academic preparation
-- less memorization and more analytical skills in high school that will provide a better match with what is taught in college. The proposed national exam -- at age sixteen-- supports the idea that starting college sooner can be better for many students.
The report argues for curriculum changes that would prescribe reading that matters more for college success
. The senior year in high school would not exist for more students who do not benefit from it now. And senior high school would increasingly focus on college preparation
For more on the senior year issue, see my 2001 monograph, Overcoming the High School Senior Slump: New Education Policies at http://bridgeproject.stanford.edu.
Labels: College Preparation