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Bi-Partisan Group Prepares Virginia Students For Work

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The bi-partisan group Commission on Youth is examining how Virginia students compare academically with other countries, and aims to address potential educational shortfalls, in an effort to prepare students to compete globally.

U.S. employers say most students are not ready when they enter the workforce, especially in employability, math and science, and reading and comprehension.

Virginia ranks better than many states, but William and Mary Associate Professor Patricia Popp says the study finds the state still has much work to do. It analyzed best practices in nine other countries where reform policies used very detailed strategies.

"They put lots of thought and resources into getting things going in the first place, and giving the programs and the projects time to really work," Popp says.

Teacher quality has also been a major reform component. She says typically in the United States, about 40 percent of the teachers graduated in the lowest third of their class. But interestingly, Popp says in other nations, teachers spend less time teaching.

"They have less direct instructional time with their students, but they have more time for planning, more time for working with each other, and really making sure they understand their content, they understand their students," she says.

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