For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2020
Contact: Jonathon Dworkin, 202-660-1340 x5, firstname.lastname@example.org
NewDEAL Forum Issues Policy Proposals to Address Education/Jobs Mismatch in COVID Era
Policymakers and leading experts develop state and local policies to prepare all students for college and career
Report addresses key steps to respond to COVID crisis
Washington, DC – Emphasizing that today’s students are “woefully under-prepared for today’s economy,” the NewDEAL Forum has released concrete policy solutions to provide high-quality college and career pathways for all students. In Policy Proposals for Aligning the Future of Education with Workforce Opportunities, the Forum’s Education Policy Group calls for specific steps to address some of the key obstacles to the economic prospects of today’s students, including by:
- providing greater and more equitable opportunities for students to earn college credit and workplace experience in high school;
- ensuring every high school graduate receives admission to a post-secondary institution; and
- reducing the number of students taking remedial courses in college.
The report provides a guide for state and local governments to bring together K-12 education systems, colleges and universities, and employers to address the “huge mismatch between the outcomes of our K-12 system and the opportunities in our workforce.”
Recognizing that COVID-19 has upended educational opportunities across the country, the report also includes a section on responding to the pandemic, focusing on ways for state and local leaders to expand access to broadband and better serve the most vulnerable students. It calls for a “digital student bill of rights,” improving data on broadband availability, and ensuring students in need continue to receive wraparound services (i.e. meals and health care) even when schools are closed.
“The state and local elected officials involved in this effort witnessed how the virus affected schools and communities – particularly our nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Georgia Senator Elena Parent and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, the co-chairs of the Education Policy Group.
“Nationwide school closures spotlighted and exacerbated inequities that have existed for years. In addition, job losses that resulted from COVID-19 hit low-skilled workers particularly hard, further highlighting the need to develop strong pathways to college and careers. State and local leaders understand the links between strong schools and a strong economy. They know that addressing a wider range of educational issues will lead to the policies that promote broadly shared economic prosperity.”
Parent and Cabaldon have led the group’s efforts over the past year to bring together elected officials across the country as well as policy experts and thought leaders from the private and non-profit sectors. Support for the group has been provided by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national nonprofit policy and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC whose mission is to ensure that every young person graduates from high school prepared for success in careers and in life.
The Policy Group now moves into a phase of supporting implementation of these recommendations across the country, including by working with the Forum’s sister organization, the NewDEAL — a network of 180 of the most innovative state and local officials across the country chosen for their forward-thinking, results-driven approach to governing.
“I am proud to partner with the NewDEAL Forum to support the development of the recommendations being released today,” said Deb Delisle, President and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education. “We must educate our way out of today’s economic downturn. These recommendations offer concrete steps state and local officials can take to close the opportunity gaps that COVID-19 has brought to light, and prepare students for the postsecondary education they will need to succeed in today’s economy. I look forward to giving students hope for their future by working with NewDEAL leaders to implement these policies.”
Accompanied by model initiatives from states and cities across the country, the recommendations focus on four key areas, with each section emphasizing the importance of equity for traditionally underserved groups, including students of color:
- Establishing state and local policy infrastructure for building high quality college and career pathways;
- Easing the transition between high school and higher education;
- Engaging employers in work-based education and training; and
- Responding to COVID-19 challenges
About the NewDEAL Forum
The NewDEAL Forum is a non-profit organization which identifies and promotes innovative, future-oriented state and local pro-growth progressive policies that can improve the lives of all Americans. By facilitating the identification and spread of policy ideas, the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster economic growth, reduce barriers to opportunity and promote good government in communities and states. The Forum advances its mission by researching, identifying, and sharing state and local pro-growth progressive policy ideas and bringing together public, private, and non-profit sector policy experts to exchange ideas and discuss the country’s biggest challenges.