2030 Goals for Education


Challenge to Excel 2030
Goals for Education

The Goals for Education are conceived and adopted by SREB states for SREB states. They provide a framework for states to chart their path toward excellence as a region and for SREB to report back to all of them on their progress regionally and by state.

Each goal is paired with examples of indicators SREB will measure and report to states on progress over the decade.

Goal 1: Social and Economic Vitality

The prosperity and potential of the region’s residents of all ages will increase through education.

Sample indicators

  • The percentage of adults earning incomes below the poverty level decreases
  • The percentage of adults in the labor force increases
  • The percentage of appropriate employment placements (as defined by Perkins V) in the second quarter after program completion increases
  • Middle-skills job gaps by state, region and sector narrow
  • Employment gaps in high-demand industries decrease
  • Employability increases
  • The percentage of adults with industry-recognized credentials of worth increases 
  • Educational attainment for adults ages 24-34 increases
  • The percentage of adults ages 25-34 who hold a postsecondary degree or certificate increases
  • Employment levels of adults with higher credentials increases
  • Educational attainment among specific populations — those below poverty, with a disability or
  • with less than a high school credential, for example — increases
  • The number of adults with graduate degrees in STEM increases
Teacher Workforce
  • Teacher workforce diversity increases
  • Teacher shortages decrease
  • Dependence on emergency certified teachers decreases
  • The percentage of preservice candidates who graduate and enter the teaching workforce increases
  • Support for new teachers as they enter the classroom, such as at least three years of mentoring, increases
  • Teacher attrition rates decrease
  • The percentage of new elementary school teachers prepared for the public-school classroom (special education inclusion, multiple first languages and explicit reading preparation, for example) increases
  • Student debt loads decrease
  • The percentage of children and adults who have health insurance increases
  • Poverty decreases
  • Food insecurity decreases

Goal 2: Postsecondary

The percentage of state residents who earn a meaningful certificate or degree to ensure they are prepared for employment over the next decade will increase.

Sample indicators

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates of recent high school graduates increase over time
  • Enrollment in public colleges and universities represents the diversity of the state’s recent high school graduating class
  • First-year persistence rates and progression beyond the second-year increase 
  • High school and postsecondary programs of study, including dual enrollment, are better aligned
  • Credit hours that students earn toward degrees do not exceed the base requirements of degree
  • programs by more than 10%
  • Percentages of college students who graduate on time increase for students of all racial and ethnic groups in both four-year and two-year programs
  • The time it takes for full-time students to earn degrees decreases
  • The percentage of adults ages 25-64 who have postsecondary degrees or career certificates increases
  • Advanced degrees and degrees awarded in high-need fields increase to meet state targets based on state needs
  • Students pass professional licensure examinations at rates that meet or exceed national averages

Goal 3: High School

Greater percentages of high school students will graduate on time, prepared to pursue a postsecondary certificate or degree.

Sample indicators

  • The percentage of students who graduate ready to pursue a certificate or degree increases
  • Four-year high school graduation rates, calculated using the adjusted cohort graduation rate,
  • rise each year to meet annual state targets and reach at least 90% by 2030
  • Percentages of students in SREB states who meet state standards on end-of-course and other
  • graduation tests meet or exceed percentages in the nation
  • Rates of on-time progression through high school — from grades nine to 10, 10 to 11 and 11 to 12 — increase over time to meet or exceed national averages
  • Percentages of students taking and passing courses as part of accelerated learning options (such
  • as dual enrollment and Advanced Placement) increase and meet or exceed national averages
  • State average scores on national college admissions exams (when more than 50% of a state’s
  • seniors take them in high school) meet or exceed national averages
  • Percentages of students who concentrate in and complete career and technical programs of
  • study increase
  • The percentage of students who participate in work-based learning experiences increases

Goal 4: Middle Grades

Building on success in the early grades, more middle grades students will be prepared for success in rigorous high school paths.

Sample indicators

  • Percentages of all groups of students who score below basic on state assessments in reading, mathematics and science decrease annually
  • Percentages of all groups of students who meet the proficiency level on state assessments increase each year
  • Percentages of groups of students scoring Below Basic on NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in reading, math and science decreases annually
  • Achievement gaps between low-income and all other students narrow
  • Percentages of groups of students scoring at or above the Proficient level on NAEP in reading, math and science exceed national averages
  • All students successfully develop an academic and career plan

Goal 5: Birth Through Elementary

All children will be equipped with the foundational skills needed for success in school.

Sample indicators

Birth to 3 Years Old
  • The percentage of children who receive developmental screenings by the age of 35 months increases annually
  • The percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs increases annually
Pre-K to Third Grade 
  • Enrollment of 4-year-olds in state-funded pre-K programs increases annually
  • States meet standards of quality for pre-K programs and teacher quality
  • Percentages of third graders performing at or above proficient on state assessments in reading and math increase annually for all student groups
  • Percentages of third graders performing below basic on state assessments in reading and math decrease annually for all student groups
Fourth Grade
  • Percentages of fourth graders performing at or above Proficient in reading and math on NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, increase annually for all student groups
  • Percentages of fourth graders performing below Basic on NAEP reading and math decrease annually for all student groups
  • Achievement for all students increases, and gaps between low-income and other students narrow


About the Goals for Education

The Southern Regional Education Board states formally committed to leading the nation on key education measures when they adopted the Challenge to Lead Goals for Education in 2002. Along the way, SREB commissions, led by governors and legislative leaders, developed recommendations for policies to help states achieve progress on the Goals. Over the last two decades, these goals and policies have helped SREB states work together to overcome challenges and rise to meet those of the next decade.