Countless studies and reports have confirmed the importance of improving the performance of the K-12 education system in the United States. They also document the state of student preparedness for college and the workplace and gains being made in boosting college and career readiness on a state-by-state basis.
In this section, you can find links to those studies and reports as well as to organizations that are playing their part to improve American education.
- NAEP - The Nation's Report Card - National Center for Education Statistics
This data center for the Nation's Report Card has data and analysis of the nation's most comprehensive and long-running standardized test. State profiles and comparisons can be accessed here, as can longitudinal data, sample questions, and briefs from NCES on the implications of these results.
- Business Higher Education Forum - Promoting Effective Dialogue Between Business and Education Around the Need for Deeper Learning
The jobs that will drive the U.S. economy in the 21st century increasingly require employees with both mastery of core content knowledge in a given field and well-developed workplace competencies, such as the ability to think critically and solve complex problems, work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and learn how to learn (e.g., self-directed learning). However, as employers scan the current workforce and anticipate future workforce needs, they frequently find that employees are not well-equipped with core content knowledge and 21st century workplace competencies.
- Education First and EPE Research Center - Moving Forward: A National Perspective on States' Progress In Common Core State Standards Implementation Planning
With the ultimate success of the Common Core State Standards Initiative hinging on how well educators can teach to the new standards and how well students can master them, most states are now intently focused on the fidelity of implementation in classrooms. Building instructional capacity and adequately supporting educators making the "instructional shifts" called for by the Common Core represent a dramatic change for most states, districts, and schools. To assess state progress toward implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Education First and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center surveyed state education agency officials for insights into the status of states' CCSS-related planning efforts.
- Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce - Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along the Way to the B.A.
Getting a Bachelor's degree is the best way for most workers to make middle-class wages. In this report, however, the authors show there are 29 million jobs (21% of all jobs) for workers without Bachelor's degrees. The report also details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate's degrees.
- Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce - The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm
Many of the stories you've heard about the Great Recession often involve the plight of college graduates, or stories about how men and women have fared differently in the recession and recovery. The media have even created a new vocabulary to describe these differences, such as "Man-cession" and "Man-covery." But the evidence suggests that differences in education better explain how Americans have fared in these difficult economic times. In The College Advantage, we argue that college degrees have served as protection for Americans seeking shelter during a tough economic storm.
- Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce - Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees
Certificates have swelled to become the second most common postsecondary award in the U.S.: Over 1 million are awarded each year. In the context of concerns about rising college costs and student loan debt, certificates, which are cheaper and take less time to complete than college degrees, have become of increasing interest to researchers, institutions, and other stakeholders in higher education. In this report, we analyze earnings by field of study, sex, race/ethnicity, and program length. One of the most important factors that affects earnings is whether certificate holders work in the same occupational field they studied in.
- Achieve the Core - Business Support for the Common Core in the New York Times
As business leaders, we believe that ALL American children have a right to an education that prepares them to be successful in a competitive global economy. We also understand that in order to compete in a knowledge-based, global economy, we must improve the academic performance of our students. The United States is once again at a critical place in its quest for educational excellence, and the need for a strong employer voice is greater than ever. America's business leaders can make a positive difference for schools, students and the country's future if we join together and share our expectations for education and our support for the people and institutions that move education reform forward.
- Career Readiness Partner Council - Building Blocks for Change: What it Means to be Career Ready
Building Blocks For Change: What it Means to be Career Ready is the culmination of the Council's collaborative effort to share a clear, unified and focused vision. "A career-ready person effectively navigates pathways that connect education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially-secure and successful career." The Council hopes this vision spurs conversation and action in communities across the nation. The inextricable link between education and the economy has never been more apparent, the urgency for change unparalleled.
- Achieve, Inc. - Common Core State Standards & Career and Technical Education: Bridging the Divide Between College and Career Readiness
With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by 46 states and the District of Columbia, there is a tremendous opportunity to rethink the role of literacy and mathematics not only within academic classes but also in CTE courses and pathways, encouraging more collaboration and integration between educators across disciplines. Common Core State Standards & Career and Technical Education: Bridging the Divide between College and Career Readiness outlines a set of strategies state and district leaders can leverage to ensure the implementation of Common Core State Standards engages, informs, and benefits from the career and technical education (CTE) community, a critical partner in the broader college- and career-ready agenda.
- ConvergeUS - Preparing America's 21st Century Workforce: The Tech Sector Weighs in on Educational Gaps and Common Core State Standards
The global economy has experienced enormous changes in recent years. In the midst of a severe global recession, companies in the United States see more and more revenue opportunities overseas. At the same time, the pace of innovation is accelerating, driven by the growth in connectivity and dissemination of communication technologies. Business must fight harder for market share and workers must develop skills to keep pace with a global marketplace. Adapting to these changes is among the biggest challenges presently facing the U.S. economy. No single initiative - from the public sector, the private sector, or both - will address this challenge. However, education will be crucial to facilitating these adjustments. Improving the standards to which we hold students will, in turn, be part of how the educational system helps train a 21st century workforce.
- Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Primary Sources: 2012 America's Teachers on the Teaching Profession
Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have released the latest Primary Sources study, asking more than 10,000 teachers across the country about the state of their schools, their classrooms and their profession.
- Institute for a Competitive Workforce - Education Reform Playbook: A Business Leader's Guide
Today's business leaders grapple with the overarching question: How do we compete and win in the rapidly advancing 21st century global economy? Among the many factors that influence the success of business and the strength of our overall economy, few matter more than human capital. In our workforce lies the imagination that drives ideas, the ingenuity that leads to innovation, and the energy to put it all to work in our economy. But employers now face an unthinkable challenge in a time of chronic high unemployment— an insufficient supply of skilled and educated workers to meet the demands of a competitive workforce.
- Institute for a Competitive Workforce - Help Wanted 2012: Addressing the Skills Gap
One key to thriving in a competitive global economy is a properly skilled workforce that can innovate, create new products and services, and bring them to market quickly and efficiently. America remains a leader in innovation, but its workforce is falling behind. Education and workforce development systems have not kept pace with the demands of the 21st century, and we all bear the costs of this failure.
- Institute for a Competitive Workforce - Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education
Projections of labor market demand show that two-thirds of all jobs will require some postsecondary education by 2018; however, given today's disappointing levels of higher education productivity, labor economists estimate that the United States will fall 7 million degrees short. While American employers increasingly struggle to find the talent they need to grow our economy, our youngest workers rank a disappointing 15th out of 34 industrialized countries in the percentage with a college diploma.
- Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, America's Promise Alliance, and Alliance for Excellent Education - Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic
This fourth annual update on America's high school dropout crisis shows that for the first time the nation is on track to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020—if the pace of improvement from 2006 to 2010 is sustained over the next 10 years. The greatest gains have occurred for the students of color and low-income students most affected by the dropout crisis. Many schools, districts and states are making significant gains in boosting high school graduation rates and putting more students on a path to college and a successful career.
- McKinsey Center for Government - Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works
Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. How can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the challenges? Which interventions work? How can these be scaled up? These are the crucial questions.
- U.S. Department of Education - The Equity and Excellence Commission - For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence
This report summarizes how America's K-12 education system, taken as a whole, fails our nation and too many of our children. Our system does not distribute opportunity equitably. Our leaders decry but tolerate disparities in student outcomes that are not only unfair, but socially and economically dangerous. Our nation's stated commitments to academic excellence are often eloquent but, without more, an insufficient response to challenges at home and globally. The data the commission reviewed make clear that officials, administrators and constituents at all levels of government must attack our education failings as a moral and economic imperative.
- The Education Trust - Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning
Improving public education depends on attracting, nurturing, and retaining talented teachers in schools with the greatest academic need. With concerted attention being given to upgrading teacher evaluation systems, the culture and work environments of struggling schools require equal focus if student learning is to improve. Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning describes the urgency of making high-poverty, low-performing schools satisfying, attractive places to work, and how some schools and districts are doing it.
- Pearson - The Learning Curve: Lessons in Country Performance in Education
The goal of improving education today enjoys great prominence among policymakers and other stakeholders in societies worldwide. Although they may not be able to quantify it, governments in most countries
recognise a link between the knowledge and skills with which young people enter the workforce and long-term economic competitiveness. For this reason, interest is intense in research which explores the factors that seem to lead in some countries to outstanding educational performance, and ultimately to better qualified workforces.
- Center for an Urban Future - "Mobility Makers"
This report from the Center for an Urban Future argues that increasing graduation rates from New York City's community colleges would provide significant economic boosts to both city and state.
- OECD - "Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2011"
OECD's Education at a Glance is an extensive resource of academic, economic, and other indicators for measuring the state of education internationally. The indicators focus on different levels of education systems, including individual learners and teachers, instructional settings and learning environments, educational service providers, and the education system as a whole. A profile specific about the United States can be found here.
- Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete? - Harvard Kennedy School
This report from the Harvard Kennedy School examines proficiency levels on math and reading assessments from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the high school graduating class of 2011. The report finds that "The United States could enjoy a remarkable increment in its annual GDP growth per capita by enhancing the math proficiency of U.S. students."
- The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 - World Economic Forum
This report concentrates on examining international educational competitiveness. The report includes an index of competitiveness at the national level as well as a survey of business executives that looks at businesses' views of education and global competitiveness. The second half of the report includes country/economy profiles.
- Education and the Economy: Boosting the Nation's Economy by Improving High School Graduation Rates - Alliance for Excellent Education
This brief notes that an estimated 1.3 million students across all fifty states and the District of Columbia dropped out from the Class of 2010 at great costs to themselves and to their communities. The brief finds that cutting in half the number of each state's dropouts for this single high school class could result in tremendous economic benefits nationally and lists the contributions that these 650,000 "new graduates" would likely make to the economy.
- Diplomas Count 2011
The report-part of an ongoing project conducted by the Bethesda, Md.-based Editorial Projects in Education-tracks graduation policies for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and presents an updated analysis of graduation patterns for the nation, states, and the country's 50 largest school systems.
- The Fiscal Survey of States - National Governors Association
This survey examines the overall health of each state's economy. It finds relative financial improvements for states, but aggregate state revenues remain below pre-recession levels. The slow economic recovery makes state education funding a continued target of cuts.
- In Focus: Teacher Effectiveness, Failing Schools, Data Systems to Data Use, College and Career Readiness
This brief from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce examines the following issues surrounding the on-going national debate about high-quality teaching: the role and impact of collective bargaining, the development of state laws regarding teacher evaluation and the role of evaluation going forward, teacher compensation, and the impact of teacher tenure. The brief also considers turnaround models for failing schools, the transition from merely having data systems to actually incorporating data in classrooms, schools, and districts, and the implementation of the standards from the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
- The Ugly Truth: A State-by-State Snapshot of Education in America
The Ugly Truth is a collection of fact sheets for every state and the District of Columbia that compares K-12 public education systems across nine categories. These categories include: Standards, Data Systems, Teacher Policies, Charter School Laws, Return on Investment, Graduation Rates, Student Achievement, Achievement Gaps, Dropouts' Effect on the State's Economy. Facts are compiled from NAEP results, progress made on Common Core implementation, and graduation rates. The snapshots provide stakeholders from policymakers to parents with the information they need to understand what their state is doing well and what could be improved.
- Life in the 21st Century Workforce: A National Perspective
This summary of two independent studies conducted by the University of Phoenix and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce examines which skills and competencies employers consider critical for workforce readiness. These studies note that "soft skills" are in demand when employers are hiring and are critical for advancement in the workplace. During hiring, past work experience is valued at approximately 50% of the decision about whether to extend a job offer to a potential employee.