Our Schools Need to Prepare Students for Their Journey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TceFIIGLqE This is a critical time for America’s schools and our students. As employers, parents, and community members, we can all agree that making sure students are prepared for success in college and the workplace is one of the most important things we can do to build a strong economy. Nothing matters more to our long-term economic health and stability than readying American workers in all industries to compete in the 21st century. That means ensuring our education system is preparing our young men and women to compete not just with people in neighboring communities and states, but with people around the world. The good news is that a critical piece of this work is well underway. Classrooms across the country have upgraded the skills students are learning today for success tomorrow. Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools have implemented high academic standards in English language arts and mathematics, which outline the skills and knowledge students need to master by the time they graduate high school to be prepared for college and the workplace. Across the board, we are setting expectations for students that are more in line with what colleges and employers are looking for—such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

We Can’t Stop Now

For the first time in our history, every child will be expected to master the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college and the workplace. Turning back from this important goal now would send the wrong message to students. We must be setting higher expectations, not giving up when things get hard. It is vitally important that we—as business leaders, employers, and parents—speak out loud and clear that we have a role to play in helping students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in an increasingly demanding world. The future holds amazing possibilities. Let’s make sure our kids are ready for the journey.
Mark D’Alessio is senior manager of communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce.