This week was a very interesting week. Governor Beshear dropped in to visit with the Transforming Education in Kentucky (TEK) task force. His message was very clear and visionary. He recharged the task force with developing recommendations that will refocus our efforts in Kentucky to help prepare more children for the challenges they will face.
This charge is clear. ALL students must be prepared for college and career through a more challenging and rigorous education. After his message, the task force heard from our career and technical education (CTE) staff about the excellent work going on in this program. The message was clear that the current CTE program is not your father’s shop class anymore. The program integrates academics and technical skills to prepare students for jobs of the 21st century.
Gene Bottoms of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) delivered an excellent presentation on how to ensure more students graduate from high school with college- and career-ready skills. His presentation also included several excellent policy recommendations that the task force will certainly be reviewing for possible inclusion in the final report.
Also, this week, First Lady Jane Beshear was honored by the SREB for her leadership with the Graduate Kentucky Project. And, I had the honor to present at the Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit. All of these events are very much related.
I have begun to focus on the “Three Es.” Education, employment and the economy are tightly linked, and all of the events this week showed that linkage very clearly. A report I received in an e-mail from the Alliance for Excellent Education pulled it all together. Excerpts from the report are below, and I encourage readers to review the information for the nation and for our largest urban system – Louisville/Jefferson County.
Excerpts from the article:
In the nation's forty-five largest metropolitan areas, students of color made up a sizable portion of the estimated 600,000 students who dropped out from the Class of 2008: 113,600 African American, 200,000 Latino, 3,750 American Indian, and 30,800 Asian American1 students are estimated to have dropped out from this class.
Cutting the number of these dropouts in half would likely produce vast economic benefits by boosting the spending power of these communities of color and spurring job and economic growth in these regions. Below, see the likely contributions that these “new graduates” would make to their regional economies.
· All told, the students of color within this one class of new graduates could produce enormous benefits for their local economies:
· Together, their additional spending would likely generate 17,450 new jobs and boost the gross regional products of these areas by as much as $3.1 billion by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers.
· As a result of their increased wages and higher levels of spending, state and local tax revenues within these regions would likely grow by as much as $249.7 million during an average year.
· The regions would likely see increased human capital, with 48 percent of these new graduates likely continuing on to pursue some type of postsecondary education after earning a high school diploma.
To view the full report, visit http://all4ed.org/publication_material/EconMSAsoc.