A state education policy board says a 'business as usual' approach will not meet the needs of this growing and dynamic economy.
Washington is moving too slowly to meet the goals of a state policy board that has set ambitious 10-year benchmarks to get more students to graduate from high school and complete college.
That’s the warning from the Washington Student Achievement Council, which completed its first-ever Roadmap Report, a measure of progress since the council was formed two years ago.
The Council replaced the Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2013. It is a state board that guides higher education policy.
In 2013, the Council laid out two goals it hoped to meet by 2023: That everyone in Washington between the ages of 25 and 44 would have a high school diploma or equivalent; and that at least 70 percent of adults in that age group would have a post-secondary credential, such as a community college degree or higher.
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Two years after those goals were developed, there have been only modest increases, the report notes: High school graduation, or its equivalent, has gone from 89 percent to 90 percent, and post-secondary attainment has gone from 50 percent to 51 percent.
Progress is so slow that that the state should adopt “targeted strategies to accelerate educational attainment,” the report says.
The report stresses the need to do a better job with historically under-served and underrepresented populations. It also says there is an ongoing need to get more working-age adults to finish post-secondary work — college or its equivalent.
“A ‘business as usual’ approach will not meet the needs of this growing and dynamic economy,” the report says, urging, in particular, a focus on students of color, English language learners and other groups that traditionally have not completed high school or college in high numbers.
“Our nation and our state are becoming more diverse, and our success depends on serving populations we have not adequately reached within our education system,” the report says.
The report doesn’t recommend a specific set of new strategies, but says that as it collects more data in the coming years, “we will have an increasingly robust research foundation to inform strategies and actions for the future.”