Is the Anticipated Decline in CT High School Graduates Cause for Concern?

June 30, 2011 | The Hartford Examiner |  Link to article

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) have just published a report that could concern high school students, and also their parents, their teachers, and potential employers in Connecticut over the next 10 years: projected graduation figures show that Connecticut high school graduations will decline by as much as 10 percent over the next 10 years.  Our state is one of seven states that are predicted to have this rate of decline or greater.  The other states are New York, North Dakota, Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The projections by these organizations illustrate Connecticut's rate of decline with graphs showing a dip from 42,741 in 2009-2010 academic year to 38,444 in 2019-2020.  The reason for this decline is the shrinking of the student population, according to Braden Hosch, of the state's Department of Higher Education.  Nine states can anticipate increases of 10% to 20% over this same period.

Do you think that this is  cause for concern in Connecticut?    Economic projections show an increase in the need for skilled workers in the state's industries.   In fact, this report indicates a need for three times more college educated workers (85,000) compared to the number of workers who are high school graduates and dropouts (31,000) by 2018,

Are demographics the only factor in this projected reduction of graduates?  For instance, what can high schools do to increase the number of graduates with the grades to qualify them to go to college?  The report indicates that there will also be a greater need for employers to have training programs for high school graduates.

These estimated decreases in high school graduates combined with the projected required increases in the workforce over the next several years could well be an additional incentive for education leaders and parents of high school students to continue to consider their current and future steps in behalf of ---Connecticut's children.   What do you think?


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