The nation’s high schools were, in many ways, designed for a student population that no longer exists and to support an economy that is a thing of the past. To pull schools into the 21st century, the White House is pouring millions of dollars into a new effort to revamp what and how students learn.
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday a public-private collaboration that will ultimately funnel some $375 million into supporting so-called “next generation” schools, those that let students gain real-world experience, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields.
John King, who is set to become acting Education secretary later this year, said during a White House summit on the topic Tuesday that students need preparation for both college and career training, not one or the other, as is currently too often the case.
The initiative will focus specifically on reinventing and improving the high school experience of low-income children of color, who are underrepresented in many of the science and technology fields that are likely to expand in the coming years. Right now, these students are disproportionately likely to leave school and to attend schools that don’t offer higher-level classes like calculus and physics.