Why Alignment Matters

Today and for the future, education and training beyond high school is the most certain path to economic self-sufficiency. Earning a postsecondary credential of value—certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree—opens doors to jobs that can support a family. All students deserve this future. Today, too few young people— especially students of color, those from low-income families, and whose parents did not attend college—have that opportunity. That must change.

  • A changing economy demands postsecondary education and training
    jobs graphic
  • Too few students are prepared for postsecondary success
    student preparedness
  • Remediation is a major hurdle for attainment
  • Significant equity gaps in postsecondary access and success persist

Improving Transitions Between High School, College, and the Workforce

Postsecondary readiness and success must be a priority for every policymaker, educator and student, in order to ensure that the transition between high school and higher education is a launch pad, not a hurdle. We owe it to all students to remove unnecessary burdens, frustrations and inefficiencies as they pursue something our society very much needs them to do: complete high school, earn a high-quality postsecondary credential or degree, and enter the workforce with the skills to contribute. Level Up is a collaboration of K-12 and higher education leaders and policymakers who are working to make this vision a reality. Learn more About the Coalition.

  • “Postsecondary readiness and success must be a priority for every policymaker, educator and student, in order to ensure that the transition between high school and higher education is a launch pad, not a hurdle.”

    Matt Gandal
    President, Education Strategy Group
  • “Post-secondary success as well as access to well-paying careers are fundamental measures of equity and chiefs are dedicated to delivering on this commitment for all students.”

    Carissa Moffat Miller
    Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • “Level Up clearly aligns with SHEEO’s commitment to support states and their efforts to ensure positive postsecondary student outcomes, which is predicated on successful transitions from high school.”

    Rob Anderson
    President, State Higher Education Executive Officers
  • “By working in partnership through the Level Up coalition, we can ensure that students have accesses to all they need to advance themselves and their communities.”

    Brian A. Sponsler
    Vice President, Education Commission of the States
  • “Students need information to choose a path that helps them achieve their own goals. Illuminating these pathways will require breaking down the silos of data that exist between K-12, post-secondary and the workforce.”

    Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger
    President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign
  • “Collaboration across all sectors of public education is essential in preparing engaged citizens in our changing world. Level Up offers us the chance to work in a broad coalition to support student success in college and beyond.”

    Rebecca Martin
    Executive Director, National Association of System Heads
  • “Now more than ever, high-demand, living-wage careers require that learners have a postsecondary credential that signals and validates their experience and competency to employers.”

    Kimberly Green
    Executive Director, Advance CTE
  • “Students face many challenges transitioning from high school to postsecondary education, partly because there is not always alignment among K-12, nonprofits, and the many types of postsecondary opportunities. The Level Up Coalition will address those gaps and help states to provide more secure paths for student transition.”

    Kim Cook
    Executive Director, National College Access Network
  • “A quality education must serve students well beyond their K-12 years, empowering them for success in careers and in life. ExcelinEd is pleased to join Level Up’s dedicated partners in building stronger pathways into postsecondary learning, giving many more students an accelerated track into productive futures.”

    Patricia Levesque
    CEO, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • “The American Youth Policy Forum is excited about joining the Level Up Coalition as our foundational philosophy is based on the idea that all youth, regardless of race, income, geographical location, or family background, should have opportunities for high quality learning in order to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for a successful career, lifelong learning, and engaged citizenship. We have worked for 25 years to inform national and state policymakers about programs and policies that support young people, especially traditionally underserved youth, and we look forward to continuing this critical work alongside our Level Up Coalition colleagues, many of whom we have worked with over the years. Only by working together can we hope to close equity gaps and promote system alignment. ”

    Loretta Goodwin
    Deputy Director, American Youth Policy Forum
  • “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy are projected to require some level of postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Strategic alignment between K-12, higher education, and workforce development programs is critical in ensuring students are academically prepared and career ready. The Committee for Economic Development (CED) and Level Up share a common goal of increasing student access and success as they transition from high school into college and the workplace.”

    Bernard Bailey
    President of the Committee for Economic Development