The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers

Yesterday marked the release of findings from Part
I of MetLife’s twenty-seventh annual education survey, which focuses on
what it
means to be “college- and career-ready.” In this poll of middle and high
school
teachers, students, public-education parents, and executives of Fortune
100
companies, the organization investigates how stakeholder groups feel
about the
college- and career-ready goal and what students need to do to reach it.
Many
of the findings are interesting if unsurprising: Only 17 percent of
teachers
give high priority to more school choice, compared to 43 percent of
parents and
46 percent of executives. When asked about the need to graduate all
students
college- and career-ready, 73 percent of parents said it needed to be
done,
compared to only 43 percent of executives. Then puzzle over this: All
groups of
surveyed adults find that “higher-order, cross-disciplinary skills”—such
as
problem solving, self motivation, and relationship building—are more
important
for college preparation than higher-level math and science content.
(Executives
place greatest emphasis on the capacity for team work.) Yet, nearly 90
percent
of middle and high school teachers support implementation of the Common
Core standards in math, ELA, and (when available) science—standards that
largely
rejected the “twenty-first century skills” agenda. An interesting read,
this
year’s MetLife survey further articulates the fogginess of “career- and
college-ready.” Part II of the survey, “Teaching
Diverse Learners,” is set to release March 23.

Harris Interactive, “The
MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and
Careers: Part 1: Clearing the Path
(New York, NY: Metropolitan
Life Insurance Company, March 2011).

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