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Education strain

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North Carolina high schools are being threatened by a lack of financial resources and growing global economic pressures, and must undergo structural and instructional changes to meet those challenges, a new report says.

“The 2005 North Carolina High School Yearbook,” produced by the New Schools Project, says three primary trends affect the state’s high-school students.

First, global economic changes have contributed to a decline in the state since 2000 of about 171,000 manufacturing jobs, relatively high-paying jobs being replaced with ones requiring post-secondary education or vocational training, the report says.

Second, high-school graduates are ill-prepared to find good jobs, with standardized testing evaluating what students know compared to what they can do.

Finally, more than a third of 9th-graders drop out before graduation, leaving them without the skills or degree required for jobs in the global economy.

To combat these trends, the report says, high schools must make dramatic changes, including requiring students to take harder courses, preparing them for post-secondary courses, and finding creative ways to keep students from dropping out.

The report also recommends restructuring high schools to be smaller, with connections to workplace knowledge and skills.

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