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Speech: Why We Need a New Secondary School System: An Agenda for State Leaders

Hilary Pennington

“Implementing the kinds of changes that will make our education pipeline work as we need it to will be very hard, especially given the budget crises in the states today,” noted JFF CEO Hilary Pennington in an address to a Washington, DC, forum for educators, policymakers, scholars, and business leaders. Nevertheless, she continued, “this very environment will force us to create more ‘out of the box’ solutions than we might consider in better times. Certainly, it will require leaders with the vision and courage to take on entrenched interests.”

Pennington laid out six steps that state leaders can take to improve postsecondary attainment rates. As she noted, “Many states have some of these policies, but none have put them all together as part of coherent, high-priority strategy.”

The forum, “The American High School Crisis and State Policy Solutions,” was convened by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the National Center on Education and the Economy.