Limited Course Access Leads to Limited Post-Grad Opportunities
November 29, 2018

1.5 million students attend public high schools that do not offer Biology or more advanced science courses—this according to a recent analysis from the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The analysis, based on recently released 2015-16 data from the U.S. Department of Education, found that millions of students don’t have access to advanced courses that would prepare them for post-graduation opportunities. The report looks specifically at schools with a high population of low-income students, schools with a high population of minority students, and rural schools.

ExcelinEd sets forth a three-step plan for states looking to address both access to and equity of advanced coursework:

  • Evaluate what’s actually being offered in your state.
  • Communicate with families what is needed for success after graduation and how they can access these opportunities for their students.
  • Improve access to advanced coursework through policy.

You can read the full in-depth analysis here, or explore ExcelinEd’s latest brief with recommendations for how states can incentivize districts to provide all students with access to critical courses.

Many state advocates are also exploring issues of access to advanced coursework. Stand for Children Illinois recently released a report, “Stop Illinois Brain Drain: Building Pathways to Prosperity for High School Students,” providing a series of recommendations in four main areas: individualized coursework, workplace experiences, supporting students, and education funding.

The report showcases successful strategies already in place to offer advanced coursework, featuring Illinois schools implementing programs around competency-based learning, workplace experiences, and more. The report was developed by Stand Illinois Policy Fellows after a year of study and discussions.

Stand Illinois is also launching a video contest to bring this issue to life, calling for both stories from families seeking opportunities or those who have benefited from access.

Interested in connecting with either Stand Illinois or ExcelinEd on their work? Reach out.


Ashley Schmidt

Ashley is PIE Network's Senior Director of Member Engagement & Communications


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