Edge Research and K12 Inc. shares their new research which states a the vast majority of Americans believe U.S. high school students should have more opportunities to learn real-world skills in the classroom, highlighting a national preference among parents and the general population for experiential, career-focused learning opportunities over traditional forms of education. 

The results of the national survey of more than 1,000 members of the U.S. general public are detailed in the report “State of the Skills Gap: Perceptions of the role high school plays in preparing students for success in career."

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 95 percent of Americans agree that all U.S. high school students should have more opportunities to learn real-world skills and study programs like manufacturing, IT, business management and health care.
  • 82 percent of respondents say young people and those entering the workforce today are not equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the jobs available.
  • Only 12 percent of Americans give their high school an “A” grade in preparing them for the job they are doing right now. Half of respondents gave their high school a “C,” “D” or “F” grade.
  • Parents want their children to come out of high school with a mix of soft and hard skills, including critical thinking skills, real-world skills needed for a job, communication skills and computer skills.
  • 76 percent of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring possible career options, compared to just 7 percent who say college is the right time.
  • 56 percent of parents said two years of work experience is more valuable than a four-year liberal arts degree, compared to 16% who said the degree would be more valuable. ·        
  • The survey also explored perceptions of Career Technical Education (CTE), which consists of elective courses designed to expose students to career pathways and equip them with the knowledge and skills required for in-demand jobs. It found overwhelming support for expanding access to CTE options for all high-school students, whether they plan to start a career or continue their education in college.