Our increasingly knowledge-driven world demands people who have the education and skills to thrive in a competitive marketplace, and to understand the increasingly complex world in which they live. That means that in order to compete and succeed, all young people will need an effective education that prepares them for work and life.
Increasingly, education through and beyond high school represent the only clear path to the achieve American Dream. Already, the vast majority of jobs in the United States are available only to high school graduates. By 2020, nearly 90 percent of all jobs will require at least a high school diploma, and two-thirds of jobs will require some form of postsecondary education.
America’s Promise is focused on dramatically increasing high school graduation rates – our GradNation campaign. A high school diploma is by no means a guarantee of success, but failure to complete high school is a devastatingly accurate predictor of lifelong struggle and unrealized human potential.
To keep young Americans on track to attaining the education they will need throughout their lives, they need quality early childhood education, the ability to read at grade level at critical junctures such as the third grade, and an education that instills critical thinking and problem-solving skills, such as the college and career readiness standards. This preparation will make more of them college-ready, which is increasingly important each year. Two-thirds of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the time today’s middle school students enter the job market.
Clearly, a high school diploma is a crucial threshold that young Americans must cross if they want any real shot at prosperous, thriving adulthood. If birth is life’s starting line, then high school graduation is life’s second starting line for success.