Employers Say Students Lack Skills to Succeed

Published March 1, 1998

When high school teachers send their graduates off to jobs in the real world, some 66 percent are confident that most or all of their students have the skills necessary to succeed at work. But among the real-world employers who put these high school graduates to work, 68 percent say they are not ready to succeed, according to a new survey by Public Agenda.

“They can’t spell. And there are major flaws in their memos. The tenses are not consistent and all kinds of things are wrong. It all goes back to the schools,” an employer in New York City said in a focus group. The Public Agenda survey, called “Reality Check,” was published as a special feature of Education Week‘s annual report, Quality Counts.

While 79 percent of employers say that, based on their experience, local public schools do only a fair or poor job, 93 percent of teachers and 72 percent of parents give local schools good or excellent ratings.