Rep. Chu Prepares Today's Students to Become Workforce of Tomorrow
Congresswoman introduces the Linked Learning: Pathways to College, Career, and Citizenship Success Act
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., introduced legislation to prepare America's students for collegiate and career success. Based on a successful California education initiative, the Linked Learning Pathways Affording College and Career Success Act combines rigorous college preparation with workplace learning opportunities for high school students throughout the country. Research shows this "real-world" learning offers students better academic engagement and job training than traditional approaches.
"It's become clear we need to rethink the pathway that leads from an education to a career," Chu said. "Today's high schools do not work for many of our young people. Too often, students feel bored, unchallenged, and unclear about the relevance of school.
"That's why Linked Learning is such an important initiative. The approach connects strong academics with real–world experience in a wide range of fields, like engineering, arts and media, and biomedical science. This gives students an advantage in high school, college, and their subsequent careers. Linked Learning leads to the high-skill, high-demand and high-paying jobs that the economy of tomorrow will be built around. I'm proud to sponsor this bill and help bring this innovative Californian approach to the rest of America's students."
Every year, more than one million students leave high school without a high school diploma. In a recent survey of dropouts, 81 percent said that if schools provided more opportunities for real-world learning it would have improved their chances of graduating from high school. The Alliance for Excellent Education is working with Congresswoman Chu to provide such learning and help eliminate the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they need to know in college and on the job. The Alliance strongly supports Congresswoman Chu's bill.
"Students in a Linked Learning program get the best of both worlds," said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor West Virginia. "First, they get the rigorous coursework that teaches them the skills they need to succeed in college, but they also get invaluable work experience in high-demand occupations that gives them a head start in their careers."
The Linked Learning Pathways Affording College and Career Success Act targets federal assistance to low-performing high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent. It also encourages school districts to partner with local stakeholders, including businesses, unions, parent organizations, and other community members to create themed schools that focus on careers designated as high pay, high growth, and high skill industries.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., is an original cosponsor of the legislation. It has the support of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, and the Association for Career and Technical Education.
Representative Judy Chu was elected in July 2009 to the U.S. House of Representatives as the Representative of California's 32nd District, which includes East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Government Oversight Committee and Education and Labor Committee, where she introduced The Linked Learning Pathways Affording College and Career Success Act.
Congresswoman Chu's career in politics spans 24 years. A lifelong educator, Congresswoman Chu taught community college classes in Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics.