Every student deserves the opportunity to be in a learning environment where they can thrive. They all deserve access to a high quality education that prepares them for future success. However, our education system struggles to produce a skilled workforce, leaving students ill-prepared to compete in today’s 21st century economy.
As a mom, I expect that my children will be ready for the next step in life —college, career or military — if they earn a standard high school diploma. I expect no less.
Yet, too many young people are not reaching their full potential and too many are disproportionately impacted by the shortcomings of our education system. This comes with a steep price:
- Florida students seeking a bachelor’s degree spend up to $65,596 each additional year they don’t graduate on time ($20,269 in cost of attendance and $45,327 in lost wages).
- Only one in 10 African-Americans who graduate from high school is actually college-ready in all four fundamental subjects of English, math, reading, and science.
- Only 19 percent of 2014 ACT-tested high school graduates were college ready in all 4 benchmarks–English, Reading, Math, and Science.
- 65,000 Florida freshmen students entering 2-year colleges require remediation.
- There are 600,000 vacant American manufacturing jobs due to the lack of qualified applicants.
Education is the path out of poverty and is key to eliminating disparities that continue to plague our nation. We should be outraged about high school seniors graduating unprepared for the demands of the 21st workforce. This stifles economic growth, widens income disparities, and affects upward mobility. It is time for an education system conducive to breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush unveiled a thoughtful K-12 education plan that improves education and strengthens our nation’s workforce. The plan empowers families to choose the best learning environment that meets their child’s needs. Even students in the poorest and most difficult schools would have the opportunity to access quality education in a school of their choice.
When education decisions are reorganized around the child’s best interest, our students rise.
Out of all presidential contenders, Bush’s education plan was the most detailed offering creative solutions. This plan is a step in the right direction. It brings students closer toward economic prosperity to become the leaders this country needs in business and in all other pursuits.
Wendy Rivera is a public school parent, advocate and Florida attorney. You can follow her on Twitter @WendyRivera_Esq