WHEREAS, 5.4 million of the 17 million American youth aged 16 to 24 are without a diploma or a job; and

WHEREAS, the graduation rates in urban high schools are too low (and drop out rates are too high) to enhance a cityís opportunity to provide a competitive workforce and be perceived as a city with a strong economic future; and

WHEREAS, high-skilled, well paying jobs are the key to a successful economy and society, and similarly a skilled and well-trained work force is necessary in attracting and retaining such jobs; and

WHEREAS, even among those who complete high school, many American youth are not prepared for work in a high-skill, technologically advanced economy; and

WHEREAS, the United States needs to educate and train its next generation of workers to participate successfully in a 21st Century economy and needs to retain high-skill, well paying jobs; and

WHEREAS, technology and economic competition are combining in ways that are changing the nature of work and redefining the American workplace, thus the need for higher literacy, numeracy, communication, and interpersonal skills in the workplace has grown over the past decade and will continue to increase in importance during this century; and

WHEREAS, career, technical, and postsecondary education that meet the demands of the current economy are critical to city-based economic development and preparation of a skilled workforce; and

WHEREAS, the integration of academic and technical skills development is equally important in helping students see the relevance of their coursework and prepare them for postsecondary education and careers; and

WHEREAS, the skills needed to be successful in postsecondary education are increasingly the same skills as those required by employers and new evidence indicates that the English and mathematics content skills required of high school students to graduate are also necessary for success in postsecondary education and a high-performance career; and

WHEREAS, as of May 2004, nearly half of all employers reported difficulty in hiring qualified workers in the past year and close to a third believe they will experience difficult in hiring in the years ahead; and

WHEREAS, to create viable curricula with high standards and the appropriate experiences to attain job related skills requires mayors, education leaders and employers to work together in developing opportunities for these experiences and aligning the experiences and curriculum to the needed skills; and

WHEREAS, the labor market rewards those who take four or more occupational focused courses in high school. Many students need to be provided with educational experiences to understand the connection between these courses and their future careers to encourage success in school; and

WHEREAS, students, particularly at-risk and low-income students, too often do not receive information and guidance early enough in school about which courses they should be taking, in which order and the requirements for postsecondary education to adequately prepare them for a path to postsecondary education and careers; and

WHEREAS, we must continue to improve our public school system to meet the growing demands of the global economy as well as prepare our students for graduation from educational institutions with the necessary skills to compete and succeed in the workplace and society; and

WHEREAS, every child needs 21st century skills for success in learning and life and every teacher needs 21st century tools to best prepare children; and

WHEREAS, mayors need to work with public school systems, community colleges, community-based youth and out-of-school time programs, and universities in the redesign of school curriculum and educational experiences for students, and improving teacher-training programs and professional development opportunities so that students and teachers are prepared to learn new skills and teach a relevant 21st century education curriculum; and

WHEREAS, educators, administrators and the business community need to identify the skills to ensure our nationís cities continue to compete successfully in the global economy; and

WHEREAS, job growth and economic prosperity will occur in those cities that have the best educated workforce, our students need to develop modern skills that will lead to success in a wide range of current and future jobs; and

WHEREAS, we need to create models of practice for educators, policymakers, and business leaders,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports and encourages the development and implementation of a framework for 21st century education and promises to take a leadership role in establishing policies, programs and practices in cities to better prepare students to succeed as citizens and workers in the 21st century; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the federal and state governments to partner with mayors and their local school systems to support programs that encourage the development of curriculum and programs that further enhance opportunities for all students to be success in their future careers through providing educational experiences and content that allows them to achieve high performance skills.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352