Feedback: Draft California Perkins V State Plan
The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) presents a unique opportunity for California’s education and industry leaders to collaboratively explore the partnerships and policies needed to integrate college and career preparation, and ultimately create more equitable opportunities across K–12, postsecondary, and the workforce. Linked Learning sets the standard for excellence and equity in education. Students work harder and dream bigger when their learning connects with them and connects them to the world. Linked Learning is a proven, systemic approach that creates these connections for all students.
In California and across the nation, progress in high school achievement is encouraging. High school graduation rates are hitting historic highs in multiple locales. More students are engaging in college-level coursework and work-based learning before they complete high school—experiences that are formative to understanding career options and crystallizing personal aspirations. This is happening because more educators, district leaders, and postsecondary partners are committed to delivering a high-quality pathway experience for every student and working closely with industry partners to integrate academic preparation with rigorous real-world training, as envisioned by Perkins.
However, postsecondary outcomes are not inevitable for all students. The journey to and through postsecondary education is difficult to navigate, especially for low-income students and students of color. Far too many do not persist to earn a degree, certificate, or other workforce credential, thereby falling short of their career and lifetime earning potential.
Educators, policymakers, and employers have the power to change this situation. Independent evaluation, practitioner experience, and student voices all tell us what works for young people. The measurable gains made in high schools can translate to postsecondary and workforce achievements. Strategies and lessons gained through a decade of implementation of Linked Learning—now in more than 100 school districts serving about 250,000 students—can help ensure California’s Perkins V plan is well positioned to better connect and enhance the quality of student learning experiences through K–12 and postsecondary, and to the workforce.
Linked Learning is a proven approach to education that combines four components: rigorous academics, career technical education, work-based learning, and comprehensive support services. It gives students the educational and social-emotional learning supports they need to prepare for both college and career, and it helps them grow through real work experiences so they can fully participate in shaping civic, cultural, and economic life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance ensures that the Linked Learning approach not only grows, but flourishes in every school it touches. With a focus on continuous improvement and equipping every district to pursue high quality college and career preparation, today, 5,000 students are educated in Linked Learning’s Certified Gold Pathways—the highest quality certification.
As a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations who share a commitment to providing students with the highest quality college and career preparation, the Linked Learning Alliance appreciates the opportunity to reflect on over a decade of Linked Learning in California and offer our feedback on the California Perkins V state plan, developed in conjunction with the Alliance for Excellent Education.