Each month, we will explore one of the five Building Blocks of a World-Class Education. This month, read more about World-Class Achievement.

World-class achievement means that all Arizona students are prepared for college and career, to complete postsecondary education and to compete for jobs with their peers around the world.

For the first time in recent history, children today are at risk of being less educated than their parents.  In fact, the United States has fallen from #1 to #16 in the world in college graduation rates.

At a time when 85% of Arizona’s high wage, high growth jobs will require post-secondary education, only half of our high school graduates even qualify for admission to Arizona’s universities.  In today’s global economy, post-secondary completion has replaced high school graduation as the gateway to middle class, and must be our goal for every student.

World-class achievement happens every step of the way, starting with early learning.  Today, 60% of children enter kindergarten underprepared.  They are at a disadvantage before they even begin, and often fall further behind as they progress through K-12, with higher stakes and more costly interventions.  As students progress through middle and high school, we need to build public support for early exposure to college and career planning along with highly rigorous and relevant learning opportunities.   And finally, world-class achievement includes multiple pathways for students to pursue education after high school.  Whether a rigorous career training program, a community college or four-year university, postsecondary education will prepare students for the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in life.

Our students will be called upon to tackle the most complex global and local issues we’ve ever faced as a country, problems and opportunities we can’t even imagine today. To be sure our state’s future is competitive, innovative, and secure, we must commit to helping our students achieve world-class results today.