Young people from low-income families are the most likely to remain in remote learning, to fail their online classes and — if they earned a diploma in 2020 — to have traded their college dreams for a low-wage, dead-end job.
College enrollment fell most steeply for graduates of low-income, high-poverty high schools, reports Dalia Faheid in Education Week.
“If you’re a low-income kid, a kid of color, a first-generation college-going kid, the actual process necessary for you to get from high school to college is incredibly fragile, even in the best of circumstances,” said Derrell Bradford, the executive vice president of 50CAN, a national nonprofit that advocates for equitable schools.
Enrollment is down the most at community colleges, which are typically the first postsecondary step for disadvantaged students, according to the High School Benchmarks report from the National Student Clearinghouse.
Success rates were low before the pandemic. Many students never earned a two-year degree or a vocational certificate; even fewer went on to earn a bachelor’s degree. But the prospects for those who will be trying to make a living without 1 1/3 years of high school and with no college are grim.
Schools need to create more school-to-work pathways for young adults, concludes a new report by the Progressive Policy Institute, Preventing Failure to Launch.
The report calls for work-based learning that connects students to employers, teaching “soft skills” and building “social capital,” supportive services to “help students get across the finish line” and programs that enable students to earn college credits while in high school.
Among the examples of high schools that link students to careers and employers are the Centers for Applied Science & Technology (CAST), a network of charter schools in Texas, which places students “in internships, job shadowing, and/ or mentorship opportunities with major local companies, such as Toyota.”
Linked Learning, which combines college-prep coursework with career-based training, started in California and has expanded to other states. Through internships, job shadowing and apprenticeships, “students connect their education with real-world applications and opportunities.”
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