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Roundup: Low College Completion Rates, 21st Century Skills

The Education Trust put out a new study yesterday, "Charting A Necessary Path," that shows troubling college completion rates for low-income and minority students. The data come from a collaborative project of 24 public college and university systems that are committed to improving outcomes for disadvantaged students. It's impossible to look at these data without asking what the K-12 system can do to make sure that the neediest students get the strong preparation and support they need to flourish in higher ed. The Washington Post's story about the study is here.

Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews has a nice post today about a couple of new books that take on the 21st century skills debate. Very interesting, clearly-made arguments on a topic that can be frustratingly abstract (not to mention hotly debated). The high school space would be a prime target for change in this arena, so it's worth watching. What are advocates of 21st century skills actually advocating? And how would their vision be translated into curriculum and instruction? Read my colleague Stephen Sawchuk's story on this for another interesting perspective.

And, speaking of things that could be coming to a high school near you, take a look at my colleague Debra Viadero's very good story on a much-argued-about study on charter-management organizations. Districts have increasingly thrown up their hands trying to fix stubbornly bad high schools, and brought in CMOs or private companies to give it a whirl. The feds are hot on improving high schools, and have expressly invited charter-management groups to play a role in that work. Again: worth watching.

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