Alabama isn’t synonymous with educational excellence. According to Usnews.com, Alabama high schools rank 37th in the nation and the state was one of eight to receive a grade of D+ or less from the Quality Counts 2016 report. From school finance to student achievement, Alabama has traditionally lagged behind other states.
These rankings, along with student achievement rates, have had an adverse impact on the state’s job market. In an attempt to address the issue in a public forum, some of the state’s education leaders got together to talk jobs and if the state’s population is trained for them. At Gadsden State Community College, some of Alabama’s most important education officials held a panel discussion about these important issues.
The opinions varied, depending on who was talking, but all the leaders seemed to agree that more is needed to get Alabamians off to work. Moreover, the state has to do a better job of training its residents for jobs that require more than just a high school diploma.
According to information presented by AL.com, the state has more than 500,000 residents that do not possess job skills that are easily sold to employers. That’s not only problematic for a state trying to lure more businesses, but it is even worse for job seekers.
One area that threads jobs and education together is poverty, and Alabama Community College System Chancellor Mark Heinrich mentioned how poverty impacts an individual’s prospects of attaining an education and eventually landing a job.
In Alabama, one in four kids live in poverty. By way of a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Alabama also ranks 48th nationally in education. The connection between the two is clear.
Education isn’t always the great equalizer that its presented as either, as privilege and wealth are solid indicators as to how successful students may be as adults.
But at least those in charge of education in Alabama are talking about how to get more residents to work.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.