Research

Parents: Greater Grasp of Job Options Can Reduce Student Debt

A new study found that more than nine in 10 parents (92 percent) agreed that giving high school students more exposure to future career opportunities and experiences before they entered college would help alleviate student debt. A similar number (91 percent) said another way to alleviate student debt would be by giving students more opportunities to earn college credits before graduating. Both results came from a survey released by K12 and conducted by Morning Consult among a national sampling of 911 parents.

Respondents were evenly split on whether schools were doing enough to prepare students for a career after graduation; 47 percent agreed, or 47 percent disagreed; the remainder didn't know or had no opinion to express. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) said they believed their children should get a four-year degree before joining the workforce. Most people (56 percent) didn't know whether their children's schools provide career and technical education options. And a slight majority (54 percent) agreed that their schools were providing students with the resources and learning experiences targeted to their success and individual needs.

Parents were more excited about the use of blended learning for instructional delivery than online learning. While 76 percent said they "strongly" or "somewhat" agreed that schools using a blend of traditional classroom learning and online learning provided a quality educational experience, just 47 percent showed the same level of enthusiasm for online-only learning.

The survey also found that the vast majority (91 percent) of parents consider social and emotional learning an important part of their children's education and classroom curriculum, to help them build "personal, professional and interpersonal skills."

"A staggering number of job openings are going unfilled right now, in career fields that are critical to the economy and can support a family, " said Shaun McAlmont, president of career readiness education at K12, in a statement. "And yet we still have a K-12 education system that pushes kids into debt-filled futures without nearly enough guidance and exposure to those opportunities."

Parents "want options, they want innovation and they want their kids to be able to move into college or a career without a lifetime of crushing student debt," he added.

The survey results are openly available through the K12 website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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