L.A. Area Chamber Joins Jack O'Connell to Announce Report Calling for More College- and Career-Ready Students


May 12, 2010 1:00 pm

SACRAMENTO — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce joined State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today to release a report and recommendations about expanding a high school transformation approach which links rigorous academic course work, career technical training, work-based learning opportunities and greater student supports.

The approach originally known as Multiple Pathways is now called Linked Learning, which describes the critical linkages between preparing students for both postsecondary education and careers.

“Multiple Pathways is a promising approach to transforming our high schools so that our students graduate career- and college-ready and ready to be successful in the global economy of the 21st Century,” O’Connell said. “This report provides a roadmap for policy makers as they consider ways to systemically transform our high schools and significantly improve results for kids.”

The report, titled Multiple Pathways to Student Success, Envisioning the New California High School, was written in response to AB 2648 authored in 2008 by speaker-emeritus Karen Bass.

The legislation required the California Department of Education to explore the feasibility of establishing and expanding the multiple pathways approach statewide to increase success for California’s high school students. Funding for the report came from the James Irvine Foundation and the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006.

“We support the bold and creative recommendations within this report, which answer the challenge of looking at a total transformation of California high schools through the Linked Learning approach,” said L.A. Area Chamber Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce Development David Rattray. “The business community has been and will continue to be engaged in driving reform at school sites helping to guide curriculum, projects and provide students with real world examples of how they can use what they are learning in the workplace.”

Speaker Emeritus Bass said, “Multiple Pathways helps keep kids in school – keeps them in the game until they cross their own personal goal line – whether it’s college, a profession, or a good job you can raise a family on. Multiple Pathways doesn’t just prepare students, it empowers them.”

Students enrolled in a pathways program are more likely to pass the California High School Exit Examination as sophomores, to graduate from high school and to complete college entrance requirements. Students in these industry-themed programs also get hands-on learning experience in real-world learning environments.

“The Multiple Pathways approach is designed to remove what is now a false and faulty separation between academic rigor and career preparation. Our students need both if they are to succeed,” O’Connell said.

Anne Stanton, Director of the James Irvine Foundation's Youth program said, “We applaud this report’s bold vision for transforming high schools in California to promote increased student engagement and achievement. We look forward to working with the Department of Education and educators across the state to make high-quality Linked Learning programs available to all interested students.”

The report includes a number of key recommendations for policy makers and education advocates to consider including:
•    Revising the Education Code to state that the purpose of high school is to educate and prepare all students to be postsecondary and career ready upon high school graduation
•    Moving the high school system from a seat-time/course completion system to a system where students progress based upon mastery of identified standards
•    Establishing a Linked Learning transformation high school pilot program
•    Augmenting the accountability system to foster college and career readiness, increasing of graduation rates, and decreasing the number of dropouts
•    Changing the financing of high schools to an enrollment-based system and tie a portion of the funding to student graduation and retaining students in school
•    Expanding curriculum and instruction options support rigor and relevance within the high school system
•    Creating a Linked Learning Advisory Board that establishes Linked Learning
•    Improving the conditions to establish and expand Linked Learning programs.

The AB 2648 Executive Summary and full report, Multiple Pathways to Student Success: Envisioning the New California High School is available at www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/hs/mpfgen.asp.

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County.  Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.  For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.


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