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Postsecondary work seen as key to success.
By Catherine Gewertz | Ed Week
June 11, 2009
At a time when only seven in 10 American students graduate from high school in four years, an ambitious new president is demanding that the nation raise its educational sights even higher.
“[E]very American will need to get more than a high school diploma,” Barack Obama said in a speech to Congress shortly after taking office. “And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.”
President Obama called for all Americans to commit to at least one year of education after high school, and for the United States to retake its place in the global education arena by boasting the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.
The heightened rhetoric around college-going reflects a growing consensus among policymakers that some form of postsecondary education is crucial to students’ success after high school. That view implicitly changes high schools’ mission from simply graduating students to ensuring they are prepared for the next tier of study, whether it is in two- or four-year colleges, or in technical or career coursework.