Last month, the Education Trust-West (ETW) commissioned Unlocking Doors and Expanding Opportunity: Moving Beyond the Limiting Reality of College and Career Readiness in California High Schools, a detailed report examining the college and career readiness of graduating seniors in the California public school system. In this report, ETW highlights how African American and Latino students are being shuffled through high school and graduating without taking courses that makes them either U.C. eligible or immediately career ready. To address this issue, ETW suggests that high schools become open to the idea of instructing students with college and career tracks as a focus, otherwise known as “Linked Learning.”
Why is Linked Learning considered a malleable solution? According to the report, African Americans and Latinos account for “60 percent of the state’s public school population.” However, the matriculation of black and brown students from public high schools is far worst than any other racial group. With only 60 % of this combined group actually graduating high school and only 25 % of those having completed their A-G requirements, the overall number of black and brown students eligible to apply to U.C./CSU institutions is rather small. As a result, majority of these students are transitioning out of high school and into community colleges, entry level jobs, or a stagnant mindset of not knowing what to do next.
It is unjust to allow our black and brown students to graduate high school ill-prepared for a future. Schools need to identify early which students are on this path and intervene so college can become an option for these students. Moreover, considering that the state of California is a leader in environmental and energy technology, it should be a priority to ensure that the state’s largest population of students in the public school system are graduating college ready and are prepared for careers in the Green and STEM sectors, even if it as the entry level.
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