Spring 2020 in Washington state was defined by the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented economic disruption, and a much-needed public conversation about racial equity. The Washington Roundtable and its education foundation, Partnership for Learning, are committed to playing a collaborative and productive role as we move forward, together.
Today, we release a report that shares lessons from the Great Recession; shines a light on those individuals who are most vulnerable in the economic wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (namely, people of color, young workers, and those with only a high school education); and begins to examine policy options and opportunities to build a better Washington. This report focuses specifically on using education as a catapult for those furthest from opportunity and as a driver of economic recovery.
This research underscores the need for continued commitment to our goal: By the high school class of 2030, 70% of Washington students will complete a post-high school credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate – by age 26.
In pursuing this goal, we seek to change two realities: far too few of our students are completing a credential (the estimated completion rate for the high school class of 2017 is just 41% by age 26) and credential completion for Black, Hispanic and Latinx, and Native American students is even lower.
This report highlights clear steps our schools and our state can take to ensure education quality and rigor during the pandemic, make up for pandemic-related setbacks, address inequities, and knock down barriers to credential attainment.
The challenges ahead are substantial, and the stakes are high. We all have a role to play in helping students get the credentials they need.