Are high schools preparing students for work?

The next three sections evaluate how well residents believe high schools are preparing students for work, college and life in general, given the restructuring of the U.S. and global economies currently underway. This is the first year these questions have been asked, so each section also evaluates alternative ways of asking them.

This first section evaluates whether students are being prepared for work. A bare majority of residents say they are, between 52 and 54 percent depending on how the questions is asked. There are few strong relationships to demographics, though blacks are less likely to say students are graduating career-ready than they are graduating with skills to join the workforce right out of high school. This may indicate that while most blacks feel they can get a job with a high school education, fewer feel it will be one with the prospect for advancement. Conversely, more of those with a technical or vocational education felt high school prepared students for a career than that they had the skills to immediately join the workforce. This is understandable, given the extra skills acquired post-high school in technical and vocational programs.