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Stat of the Week — Jan. 31, 2007

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States' Efforts to Help Students Prepare for Work

Quality Counts 2007 sheds light on the alignment of K-12 education with early childhood education, postsecondary education, and workforce. The report provides more than 150 state-level indicators starting from the birth of a child through entry into the workforce. This Stat of the Week takes a closer look at states' efforts to align K-12 education with economic and workforce preparation.

In Quality Counts 2007, the EPE Research Center reported five indicators from our state policy survey related to the alignment of K-12 education with the world of work: K-12 education system has definition of work readiness; K-12 work readiness definition is different from college readiness; state offers standard high school diploma with career specialization; K-12 system offers pathway leading to industry-licensed certificate or license; and K-12 system offers a career or technical program or pathway to earn credits to transfer to postsecondary education system. For more information about these policy indicators, see Quality Counts 2007.

Out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, 21 states have a formal definition of work readiness in their K-12 education system, of which 19 states differentiate their definition of work readiness from college readiness. In two states, Indiana and New York, the definition of college readiness and work readiness is the same. Geographically, states on the east and west coasts are more likely to have a definition than states in the Plains region.

With regard to states' efforts to provide students with a pathway to align their learning experiences with the world of work, the EPE Research Center examined the last three indicators listed above and scored states on a scale from zero to three. Twenty-seven states have all of the three alignment policies in place, with most of these states being located along the east coast. In contrast, states in the Plains region have either one or no policies in place.

Putting these policy indicators together, 13 states—Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia—have both a definition of work readiness and three alignment policies in place. Four states—Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska—have neither the definition nor any of the alignment policies in place.

To find out more about the alignment of K-12 education with economic and workforce preparation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, access the Education Counts database.


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