Do K-12 Superintendents Value Career Connected Learning?

Here’s a heads up about a new report from Gallup that sheds light on the mindsets of American K-12 superintendents.  The report is called “Leadership Perspectives on Public Education” and you can get a copy here –

A few of my insights from the Career Connected Learning perspective —

  1. I was disappointed that career readiness/career development doesn’t appear to be on the Superintendent’s radar as a key challenge for their districts.  Or perhaps it just wasn’t part of the survey by Gallup.  Academic performance, poverty-related challenges, and recruiting/retaining teachers were seen as the top 3 challenges, with nothing relating to career development or work-based learning.
  1. On a more positive note, “how engaged students are with school” was seen as the most important measure of school effectiveness, with 91% of superintendents saying it is very important. Other top priorities were “how hopeful students are about their future,” and “percentage of students who graduate from high school.”  Going to technical school, college or community college was seen as very important/somewhat important by over 95% of superintendents, but the engagement, hope, and high school graduation were seen as Very Important, perhaps because these are factors that are more immediate and under the influence of school districts.
  1. In terms of strategies to implement relating to college preparation, social and life skills were seen as very important by 66% of superintendents. Career Counseling or other CCL were not listed at all as valuable strategies for college preparation.
  1. Job shadowing/entrepreneurship were seen as the top strategy for workforce preparation (69%), and developing social skills was second. Even in the realm of workforce preparation, career counseling was seen as important by only 13% of superintendents.

My Take-Away

This report is helpful because it’s important to know the mindset of superintendents.  Unfortunately, from this research, I think it is safe to say that career planning and career development are not seen as valuable strategies by many superintendents, and certainly not relevant for “college-bound” students.

In short, superintendents, in general, seem to want the right outcomes (engagement, hope, graduation, college-work transitions), but they don’t see a connection or value to Career Connected Learning strategies.

We CCL advocates have our work cut out for us – to help connect the dots between CCL strategies (career development, pathway programs, work-based learning) and the greater student engagement, hope, and successful college and work transitions that superintendents want to achieve.

Hans Meeder is President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (  NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education.

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