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Public Perceives a Lack of Workforce Preparedness in U.S. Schools


September 3, 2013


Public Perceives a Lack of Workforce Preparedness in U.S. Schools

In two recent U.S. public opinion polls, less than half of respondents reported that students are being well prepared for the workforce.  This lack of confidence in students' career readiness points to a need for more high-quality CTE, which excels at preparing youth and adults for college and career through its integrated approach to technical, academic and employability skills.

An Associated Press (AP)-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of about 1,000 parents of K-12 students found that parents are pretty happy about how well schools are preparing students for college and to be good citizens. However, fewer parents believe that their local public schools are doing a good job preparing students for the workforce:

  • 19 percent responded that local public schools are doing a poor or very poor job at workforce preparation
  • 31 percent said that local public schools are doing a fair job
  • 45 percent reported that local public schools are doing a good or excellent job

Over at the PDK-Gallup poll of about 1,000 American adults, many Americans responded that neither high school nor college graduates were ready for the workplace. For instance, only 42 percent agree or strongly agree that a college graduate is ready for the world of work. 

These polls, along with a recent survey from Education Next, also quizzed respondents on major education initiatives and found that:

  • overall, Americans have favorable opinions about their local schools, but poorer opinions about U.S. schools in general
  • Americans are generally not well informed about the Common Core State Standards, with some evidence of growing opposition in the Education Next poll
  • resistance is growing toward teacher evaluation, compensation and tenure that relies on student performance on standardized tests, demonstrated in the Education Next and PDK-Gallup polls, while the AP-NORC poll found that respondents favored a balanced approach to evaluation and compensation

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