Friday, June 22, 2007

Diplomas Count

A new report published in Education Week looks at the skills required to get jobs in every state and concludes that, at both the state and national level, people need to complete at least some college to earn a decent wage.

The report bases such findings on an analysis of data from two sources: a U.S. Department of Labor database that classifies jobs based on the education, training, and experience that they require, and U.S. Census Bureau statistics showing how many people work in various types of jobs and how much they earn.

"At both national and state levels, our research shows that a high-school diploma alone is not sufficient for students to access the jobs that will provide a real future and to thrive in our economy," said Christopher B. Swanson, who conducted the analysis as director of a research center affiliated with the newspaper.

In other findings, the report estimates that about 30 percent of ninth graders fail to graduate from high school with their peers four years later. For black males, the four-year graduation rate is 46 percent; for Hispanic males, it's 52 percent.

Based on an examination of state policies, the report says that just 11 states define what students should know and be able to do to be prepared for credit-bearing courses in college, and 14 states are working on a definition. Twenty-two states require high schools to administer exit examinations, while three others plan to do so. The number of states basing their exit exams on standards set at the 10th-grade level or higher has risen from six in 2002 to 18 in 2007. —Peter Schmidt

Read the entire article at

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