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Purdue University is home to renowned STEM programs that attract applicants from around the globe. Yet when state leaders and school officials looked at enrollment data in 2015, they noticed the stunningly low enrollment of students from Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), just an hour from the university campus. Of roughly 1,100 IPS graduates in 2015, 26 qualified for admission to Purdue. Just 12 enrolled. As a result, hundreds of high-tech, high-paying jobs—essential to the state’s and nation’s long-term economic health—were going unfilled.

The problem was not the absence of IPS student potential. Rather, the students had not had access to the learning opportunities they needed to meet the bar. How did we get to the point where so many smart, curious, capable students are unprepared to participate in the workforce? The short answer is that the U.S. educational system operates on a model designed to prepare workers for an industrial economy that no longer exists.

A New Architecture for High School Learning

Also In this Issue

A New Architecture for High School Learning

By Russlynn Ali and Timothy F.C. Knowles

State leaders should retire the Carnegie unit and open the door for high school designs that ensure learning is engaging, relevant, experiential, and competency based.

Telltale Signs of Rigor and Career Readiness in High School

By Gene Bottoms

State boards can take a lesson from schools that already dish up rigorous assignments in college- and career-ready courses alike and ensure more schools do it.

How Rhode Island Increased the Value of a High School Diploma

By Angélica Infante-Green

New graduation requirements aim to align with college admission standards and address inequities in college and career readiness.

Access to Data Is Key to Navigating High School and Beyond

By Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger

Surveyed students report being at sea on postsecondary options and the progress they are making toward their goals.

Merging High School and College: The Early College High School Model

By Julie A. Edmunds

Six elements in statewide law and policy pave the way for effective programs that help more students thrive in college courses while they are still in high school.

Featured Items

Image of Tired Little Boy. Image Credit: iStock i

Georgia and Massachusetts Advance Dyslexia Screening and Intervention

State boards can advocate for more young children to be screened for dyslexia and ensure that identified students receive effective interventions, as those in Massachusetts and Georgia have done.

High Schools That Matter

This issue of The Standard reimagines the high school experience, illuminating the data, policy reforms, and engagement with students, families, and educators that must align to make redesign possible.
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Teachers Need Multifaceted Support to Improve Literacy

To improve literacy, states should invest in comprehensive supports for teachers to equip them to deliver high-quality, evidence-based instruction.

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