Revamped education standards aim to better prepare students for college and careers, new policy brief outlines what else is needed to support Common Core efforts

Two years ago, Florida joined several other states in adopting the newly developed Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts. As a part of these reforms, the Florida Department of Education pledged to improve student outcomes commonly associated with college and career readiness, including high school graduation, college-going rates, and early college success.

“Rigorous education standards are the foundation for preparing our students for college and careers,” said Troy Miller, senior researcher and policy analyst at Florida C.A.N.!  “But a broader approach is needed to ensure students possess the strategies and complex knowledge required to select the college and career pathway that’s best for them.  Beyond academic knowledge and skills, students need to know how to find the right college, connect to career opportunities and become savvy about financing postsecondary education. This will require a shared responsibility and cross-sectored approach to preparing students for high-skill, high-wage jobs and increasing degree attainment in Florida.”

A new report released today by the Florida College Access Network concludes that adopting the more rigorous K-12 education standards is only the first step needed to providing the support our students need to be successful after earning their high school diploma.  To achieve an increased level of college and career readiness, the rollout of Common Core must be matched by resources, supports and policies aligned with preparing students about the real-world fundamentals of selecting, planning and financing college and workforce training opportunities.

This will require collaboration between schools and communities to foster a college-going culture in ways that go beyond implementing new education standards and assessments. Among the report’s recommendations are:

  1. Adopt a statewide definition for college and career readiness that includes non-academic indicators for high school graduation, college enrollment and early college success.
  2. Expand use of school counselors and career specialists to enhance management of college and career readiness programs and resources available in and outside of schools.
  3. Adopt a state-wide college application initiative for high school seniors to improve college-going rates.
  4. Leverage new data tools to improve local FAFSA completion efforts for high school seniors. Currently, almost 60% of students attending Florida schools are eligible for a free or reduced-priced lunch, but less than 25% of high school seniors completed the application that determines their eligibility for free, need-based financial aid for college by March 1, 2013.
  5. Encourage use of local college access and readiness data to engage community leaders on actions needed to support Common Core implementation and related efforts in schools.

To view the entire report and policy recommendations, click here or visit  Florida C.A.N.! receives support from the Florida Department of Education, Helios Education Foundation, Lumina Foundation and the University of South Florida.

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