PLATTSBURGH — Fewer than 35 percent of high-school graduates in New York state are ready to take credit-bearing community-college courses.
That statistic, Commissioner of Education Dr. John King Jr. told North Country school officials in Plattsburgh recently, comes despite of a statewide graduation rate of 74 percent.
During his presentation at a meeting of the Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington School Boards Association at West Side Ballroom, King told attendees that a greater effort needs to be made in public schools to ensure students’ success after high school.
“There’s no question that there are schools and districts in this room that are producing incredible graduates who go on to achieve great things ... but at the same time, we have to acknowledge that, as a state and as a country, to be successful in the 21st-century economy, we’ve got to improve on our results,” King said.
“We’ve got to figure out ways to have more students graduate, not just ready to enter college but actually graduate from college, (and) to have more students, not just ready to enter the workforce but to be successful in the workforce.”
But employers, King told his audience, say there are “not enough workers who are ready for the jobs of the 21st century, and that ranges from the companies that need welders to the companies that need coders.”
The goal in implementing the state-mandated Common Core Learning Standards, which involves changes to the way math, English language arts and literacy are taught in schools, and the new annual Professional Performance Reviews of teachers and principals, King said, is to produce better student outcomes and, in turn, create economic growth.
“The reality is, economic growth follows educational attainment. Economic growth follows a prepared workforce ... and so college and career readiness, college and career preparation (and) ensuring that we have a workforce that is ready for 21st-century jobs — that is our path to solving our fiscal problems.”