'When Will I Ever Use This?' Parents, Students Say Schools Missing the Mark on Career Readiness

August 26, 2019

New polls find big support for earlier exposure to career options and new government programs to solve “serious” student debt crisis

HERNDON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 26, 2019-- When asked if schools are teaching kids “useful skills that will help them in the real world,” just 5% of students and 13% of parents said they “strongly agree” in side-by-side polls commissioned by Tallo and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN).

Asked if schools are “doing enough to prepare students for a career after graduation,” 60% of students and 53% of parents said no. And only a quarter of students said they were “very confident” they would be able to find a job that pays enough to support them after graduation.

“Alarm bells are ringing loud and clear – the legacy education system is failing to meet the needs of modern students headed to a changing workforce,” said Dr. Shaun McAlmont, President of Career Readiness Education at K12. “Whether a student chooses to go to college, work, or both, we must do more to prepare kids for future success and we must do it immediately, without delay.”

Huge majorities – 94% of students and 92% of parents – agreed that offering more opportunities to earn college credits in high school would help with the student debt crisis. Respondents similarly supported offering students more exposure to future career opportunities. Four in five surveyed parents agreed that schools that can’t afford comprehensive career and technical education should partner with online learning providers to close the gap.

“Today’s young people are the most connected and informed generation history has ever seen,” said Casey Welch, co-founder and CEO of Tallo, one of the nation’s largest online platforms for connecting talent with career guidance and opportunities. “This data shows that these young people understand that a 21st-century economy requires 21st-century skills, and that those skills must be taught in 21st-century schools.”

In addition to their thoughts on what is – or isn’t – happening inside the classroom, U.S. families are concerned about how to pay for what comes after graduation. The majority of students and parents believe student debt in the United States is a “very serious” problem, and parents expressed a willingness to dig into their own pockets to address it, with agreement that crossed party lines:

  • 59% of parents said they would be willing to pay more in taxes to fund new government programs to cancel individual student loan debts. 63% supported higher taxes to fund tuition-free college.
  • Even 44% of self-identified Republicans said they would be willing to pay more in taxes to cancel student loans. Similar percentages expressed support for a tuition-free college plan.

“Just as our last survey found parenthood trumps partisanship when it comes to issues of educational choice and innovation, this survey shows a surprising willingness for self-sacrifice to lift the massive burden of debt weighing down a generation of recent college attendees,” said Dr. McAlmont.

The parent poll was conducted by Morning Consult between July 31-August 3, 2019 among a national sample of 1,000 K-12 parents. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of K-12 parents based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The student survey was conducted by Tallo through its online platform of more than 500,000 active student users. The survey respondents comprised more than 700 students in high school or college.

About K12

K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) takes a personalized approach to education by removing barriers to learning, reaching students where they are, and providing innovative, high-quality online and blended education solutions, curriculum, and programs to charter schools, public school districts, private schools, and families. In total, this work serves more than 70 public and private schools, more than 2,000 school districts, and students in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The company, which has delivered millions of courses over the past decade, is taking a leadership role in career readiness education through K12-powered Destinations Career Academies and Programs which combine traditional high school academics with Career Technical Education (CTE). K12 is a proud sponsor of the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gap between the pace of technology in daily life and the pace of change in education. More information can be found at K12.com, destinationsacademy.com, jobshadowweek.com, and getfueled.com.

About Tallo

Tallo (formerly STEM Premier) is the first online app that assists students in designing a career pathway, educators in recruiting top talent to their schools, and employers in developing a stable, continuous talent pipeline. Through a mobile digital portfolio, students (age 13+) and professionals showcase their skills and abilities, receive personalized career guidance, match with over $20 billion in scholarships, and get directly connected with post-secondary institutions and companies looking for the next generation of talent. For more information, visit www.tallo.com.

Source: K12 Inc.

Nicole Tidei